Pitch Clinic: Sell Stock, not Product

I know you have a great product. I wouldn’t be talking to you otherwise. But I am not a customer. I am a potential investor. As the CEO, you have been juggling all sorts of crisis situations over the past year, and you have been at the forefront of selling, probably meeting with customers and prospects almost daily.  But now take your product sales hat off and put your company sales hat on. Now you need to sell me the company:

  • For your customers, your solution is the product.
  • For VCs, your company is the product.

That’s the same for us VCs: Our customers are you, and our “VCs” are called “LPs”.

  • For Entrepreneurs and founders, our VC fund and its people are the product.
  • For LPs, our firm is the product.

As a founder, pitching VCs, you have to sell the value of your stock to me, not the value of your product. Yes, I have to find conviction that you have found product-market fit, that your product is valuable. But more than that, I have to find conviction that your startup will remain meaningful and valuable over several years, probably over more than another decade. Because your product might “pivot” (is that still a thing? Or are you now “agile”?)

Thoughts? Opinions? Comments? Corrections?