Entrepreneurs: Say What Your Startup "Does", Not What it "Is"

Entrepreneurs, when you pitch a VC, you don't have much time to make a good first impression. 

VC's spend a good part of their waking hours sitting through pitches, and n0 one (VCs are mere human beings) can do this over and over again without getting a little jaded.  Entrepreneurs need to realize this and consciously keep it in mind when developing and delivering their pitch.

The "make an impression" window is narrow, and the hurdle is high.

Moreover, like it or not, you are competing against the ever-growing pile of other pitches flooding onto the VC's desk (this is the real, but  "secret", arena in which startups compete with each other). 

To have a shot, you need to stand out from the crowd.  So, be punchy, and quickly capture the interest of the audience (even if it's only one person).

The best way to do this, obviously, is to have a great team & a great idea — and present the startup idea crisply and cleanly. 

Less well discussed, however, is an important, corollary lesson.

Part of "creating the aha! early" is saying — right off the bat — what your startup "DOES", rather than what it "IS".  Venture capitalists get pitched all the time with taglines that read something like this:  "XTronics is an industry-leading, customer-centric, social media, ad targeting and delivery, fix breakfast and do the dishes platform for…blah, blah blah.

Even if the venture capitalist understands what that means (which, given the way most of these long introductory sentences are constructed, is very difficult), it's a very weak, passive way to introduce one's startup.

Venture capitalists want to invest in companies that solve big problems.  Therefore, tell the VC — at the beginning of the presentation — what problem your company 'solves'.  Think about starting with: "XTronics helps customers do X [i.e., solve some problem that is important to the customer]….".  It's a much more powerful intro, and will set you apart from the other startups the venture capitalist sees. 

In addition, creating and refining an "active" tagline is a very good test to see whether you really understand the core value in your startup idea.

It's a test all entrepreneurs should take, and make sure they can pass.

Be active, not passive.  Passive puts audiences to sleep; not good in a pitch where you're asking for money.