Lack of clarity in your answers is one of the biggest mistakes I see (even when you’re pre-product and pre-revenue).
Here are 10 questions that top founders nail down before their pitch.
You can start with a broad social issue, but you have to ultimately focus on a specific (and acute) customer pain point.
Often, this is surprisingly difficult to answer. Be focused + concise. What are you doing first, and what do you eventually aspire to do?
Who are you building for? If you’re consumer-facing, clarify the personas. If you’re enterprise-facing, the specific function/role.
A bonus Q – is this person also your buyer?
For most companies, your idea is not unique. GTM can be one way to differentiate at the outset.
A basic question, but important to get right. It has to be large enough to support venture-scale outcomes.
A classic version of the vision question. Be inspiring and ambitious. Now is not the time to think about incremental progress.
This demonstrates intentionality. Think about other approaches. Think about existing solutions. Why is this the best way to start?
Alternatively, how do you acquire your first 1K/10K/100K users? I want to hear that you’ve thought about the evolution of the company and how you scale.
Simple and straightforward. Specific regulation? Market is derisked? Tech is derisked? Plenty of great ideas don’t pan out due to timing.
Consider your founder-market fit. What drives you to keep pushing even when times get tough?
The best investors will dig into your answers, and you’ll need to defend their follow-ups.
Be concise, clear, and intentional. And most important – practice!!
Follow me @jchen623 for more thoughts on early-stage investing and advice on the founder journey.
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