What questions should a company expect from investors after a pitch competition?


The Northwest Entrepreneur Network's First Look Forum finale is a pitch competition followed by networking. During the competition, companies give a 5-minute presentation covering the basics: problem, solution, team, traction. Afterwrds, it's shmoozing time. What questions should the companies participating expect from investors?

Networking Pitch Investors

asked Apr 24 '11 at 02:33
Jon Pincus
52 points
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2 Answers


You should expect a wide range of questions -- from technology, to people to market. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Why will you succeed?
  • Who is your main competition and how will you beat them?
  • Tell me about your team. This is a probing question to determine how long you have worked with each other.
  • What excites you about this opportunity?
  • What's the deal structure for investment?
  • What other investors have you talked to?
  • Has any one else put money in?
  • What sort of experience do you have in this market?

Usually, there is always a question behind the question. This means that the real question they are trying to answer is not what they asked you.

The team question is a good example. It's not about the experience of the team per se, it's how well you work together and can they handle the stress of a startup.

answered Apr 24 '11 at 23:15
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points


Listen carefully and make sure you're hearing exactly what they are asking - don't give a level one answer to a level two question.

Jarie had a good list of questions.

In addition to those, it's important to be able to address: "what client / prospect pain points are you solving?" "are you solving these in a way that's easy for your clients / prospects to implement?" "is your approach radically better than the current solution?

I'm always interested in risk factors ("tell me why this won't work") and lessons you've learned from prior failures ("I've never failed" is not the right answer here).

I'm always interested in your valuation models, who you think are peers, what type of advisory board you have in place, and what your plans are if your idea gets extraordinary traction - i.e., you "go viral".

Last - how have you structured the offering - is it "you centric" or "investor centric"? For example, if someone shows up with a large checkbook, can they buy shares from you and buy none from me or do I have the right to sell a proportionally comparable amount of my shares?

answered Apr 26 '11 at 02:18
Warren E. Hart
2,181 points

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