What to focus on when pitching, product or underlying platform?


I'm working on launching a startup based on a new computing platform developed by my co-founders. The platform itself is very powerful and flexible, and we envision it being used as a foundation for various different products and services, but we have decided to start with one product which is relatively simple to develop while having potential appeal to a wide range of end-users.

So, I'm wondering what would make more sense to focus on when pitching to potential investors? On one hand the platform is where the power lies, but it might not be too obvious at once, especially to a non-technical audience; on the other hand, it might be too easy to get lost in the specific aspects of this specific product and miss the big picture.

So, should we focus on pitching one, the other, or both simultaneously? Or perhaps we should prepare two sets of presentations, depending on who we're pitching to?

To make things clearer, let's just say that the product itself is nothing particularly innovative except for its platform; something like Google Docs when compared to MS Office.

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asked Aug 1 '11 at 18:56
Berislav Lopac
111 points
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2 Answers


My take is that you should build examples of how your platform will shift how things are done.

You need to sell it as innovative or it's not that special.

I would start out with the big idea in a simple, clear way that uses examples that anyone can understand. Like Facebook meets Twitter or the Wal-Mart of data security. Something that is easily digestible.

Then I would give the specific examples of how to apply the platform. Focus on the big markets that are clearly defined. These examples will give the investor an idea as to the platforms flexibility.

Once you have outlined the platform and specific applications, you now need to focus on the numbers. How will the idea make money and how you will win?

answered Aug 1 '11 at 22:17
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points


With any type of concept, the first thing you need to ask yourself is "How does this add value to the consumer/customer compared to what else is out there." As a developer who sometimes takes equity in client projects, I can't tell you how many times that one question has knocked a pitch off immediately, not to be rude/obnoxious, but rather because by being blunt with a fairly basic question, the person realizes they need to look at their concept from views other than their own.

That really is the main thing I focus on with any venture. Value and how you're differentiating yourself from the competition. After that you need to consider viability and logistics, but those don't matter if your concept isn't something anyone would go out of their way to use/purchase/etc.

answered Aug 2 '11 at 02:58
397 points

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