Pitching SV Angel: The Executive Summary

This post will give a small glimpse into how we evaluate opportunities. It’s more about process than substance (i.e., what we look for).

When we receive an email from a referral source introducing us to a founder, we typically ask the founder if they have an executive summary. This may sound tedious and old-school. But it is a quick and easy way for us to decide if a call or meeting is a good use of both parties’ time as a next step. It’s also a decent way to evaluate the founder(s). The ability to communicate your idea concisely and articulately is essential. It not only shows a potential to persuade (i.e., sell) but also shows clarity of thought and priorities.

Below are some tips on how to create a good executive summary. There is no generic template or “one size fits all.” The goal is to simply persuade your reader that taking a next step is worth everyone’s time.

The best framework for pitching your company is here. I know that there are other posts that are just as good if not better but that post basically covers everything for me, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. You could basically stop reading if you just used that. But here are are some thoughts that I would add.

I can’t emphasize enough that each executive summary will be different. There’s no need to rigidly follow any template including the ones I mentioned above. But you just want to organize your thoughts so you clearly tell your story to make anyone - an investor, future employee, customer - interested in your company.


Now read this

Startups, Growth and the Rule of 72

This essay by Paul Graham is one of the best on startups. In short, he makes the point that startups (and investors) covet growth. Without it, nothing else really matters. I’m not the only one who thinks this was essential reading. With... Continue →

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