Nivi · March 26th, 2010
High concept pitches are great for getting your foot in the door (“It’s Friendster… for dogs!”).
But once you’re in the building, pitch a bigger vision. I’ve been talking to a lot of startups that apply to AngelList and most of them don’t have a vision that would separate investors from their money. Here are some great visions:
Facebook isn’t a social network. Facebook “gives people the power to share, making the world more open and connected.”
Sequoia isn’t a VC firm. They’re “the investor and business partner in companies that make up over 10% of NASDAQ’s value.”
Twitter isn’t [insert whatever Twitter is here]. They’re “the best way to share and discover what is happening right now.”
Google isn’t a search engine. They “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Vision isn’t a replacement for traction and milestones. But a compelling vision helps differentiate you from the competition (i.e. every other startup pitching that investor). And vision is especially helpful for a startup like DailyBooth where the value proposition isn’t immediately clear (It’s not an online photo booth. It’s your life in pictures.)
Don’t make your vision too abstract. Be concrete like Plancast and Sequoia. Facebook and Twitter can get away with abstraction because everybody already knows what they do.
Vision is aspirational. Google couldn’t claim to organize the world’s information when they wrote their first line of code. But they could aspire to it.
Make sure your vision is crisp, short, and articulate. No ums, ahs, justs, you-knows, or likes. This is hard for everyone, but there’s a solution: talk slower. You say um when your brain needs time to think. So give your brain time to think by slowing down and replacing the ums with silence.
Don’t belabor the vision. Keep it brief — extremely brief. Consider mentioning it once at the beginning of the pitch and once again at the end.
Vision is free. Unlike your product, team, and traction, you can literally make it up.