The Remote VC Pitch Checklist

What does it take to lead a startup through the uncertainty of a global health emergency? 

In recent weeks, Dorm Room Fund has been working closely with our community as we all begin to navigate the volatility caused by COVID-19

We urge everyone to put the health and safety of themselves, their teammates, and their families and their communities first, and to follow the prevention guidelines of the CDCWHO, and ISOS. No meeting or business opportunity is worth endangering your health or that of others. 

At the same time, every team has the ability to adapt, stay positive, and remain resilient in the face of external adversity. That’s why we’ll be sharing tips and best practices gathered from the DRF community and from our experience running teams across four cities that are designed to help founders keep their companies moving forward in the weeks to come. 

The Remote VC Pitch Checklist

From the way we greet each other to the way we stand in line, COVID-19 has changed how human beings around the world interact. Business interactions are no exception as everything from morning team standups to arena-sized conferences has moved on to video conferencing platforms or have been postponed. 

For startup founders in the middle of a critical fundraise, canceling or pushing back investor conversations often isn’t an option. Dorm Room Fund, along with leading VCs, is open for business and excited to meet and back founders remotely. 

Under normal circumstances, pitching VCs is a stressful and high-stakes moment for founders. Pitching in a remote environment can feel uncomfortable, awkward and impersonal. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Check out our Remote VC Pitch Checklist to make sure that a webcam and a screen don’t get in the way of your fundraising goals. 

Setup (when the meeting is scheduled)

Pick a platform

Whether it’s ZoomHangouts etc. we’d recommend using the VC’s preferred platform to avoid confusion.

Make your deck remote-friendly

Remove unnecessary animation and make sure your charts/graphics are easy to read.

Pick your A-team

Remote pitches featuring more than two team members get confusing fast.

Troubleshoot your hardware

Ensure you’re using a high-quality laptop camera, external webcam or video conference system like Meeting Owl.

Location, location, location

Find a spot with stable wi-fi that’s well-lit, professional and distraction-free. We’d recommend a neutral background that doesn’t distract from the star of the show, you! 

Be ready to demo remotely

Do you need a screen share or phone emulator to demo your product? Be sure to work out any bugs well before pitch day.

Practice…a lot

Practice pitching with a teammate using the exact setup you’ll have on pitch day. Try recording yourself to see your remote pitch from the viewer’s perspective.

Confirm your audience

If you’re pitching remotely, there’s a high chance you’ll be pitching to VC team members who are all in different places.

Double-check meeting host and dial-in link

Most firms will have host capabilities set up, but there’s nothing worse than last-minute link confusion.

Pre-Pitch (immediately before your meeting)

Send the materials ahead of time

This allows your audience to follow along in the event of a glitch or lag.

Test your connection

Work with a member of the firm’s team to ensure your video conference connection is running and stable before the meeting starts.

Charge up or plug in

It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many batteries seem to go dead right in the middle of important meetings…

Have tech support handy

Keep a member of your team on standby in the background in case your hardware or software goes down.

Pitch (during your meeting)

Allow (everyone) to reintroduce (them)selves

There’s nothing worse than an unidentified voice breaking in to ask a question. Make sure you match voices to faces and names before you start.)

All video, all the time

Make sure everyone, and we mean everyone on the call stays on video. Don’t be the one disembodied voice in the room.

Turn up the energy

There’s no reason your pitch needs to sound like a conference call. Letting your energy come through helps keep the audience engaged. 

Keep it concise

Without body language and presence to convey meaning, it pays to keep your words clear and make sure your points land.

Don’t fear the long pause

Remote pitching can have its awkward moments. Don’t worry about filling every silence with words. Just breathe and execute your plan.  

Leave extra time for questions

It’s harder to tell when someone has a question over video. Better to pause too often than leave important questions unasked.

Post-Pitch (immediately after your meeting) 

Follow through on your follow up

Let’s face it, going remote can make it harder to build a sense of connection and gauge responses. Use post-pitch follow-up to clarify or answer additional questions as needed.

Don’t forget post-game analysis

If you’re fundraising, chances are you’ll do more than one remote pitch. Write down what went well and what didn’t and incorporate changes into future pitches. 

Want to make sure your internal team is remote-ready? Check out our 5 Steps to Make Remote Meetings Work.

Written byAlex Becker, DRF Marketing Partner (HQ).

Get more Dorm Room Fund news and updates on Twitter and learn more on our website. Want more DRF content? Subscribe to our newsletter and podcast. Ready to take your startup to the next level? Apply here to be considered for an investment from Dorm Room Fund. Until next time! 🚀

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