Fundraising During COVID-19: How to Pitch Your Startup via Zoom


Author Edith Yeung: Partner, Race Capital, 500 Startups

Fundraising via Zoom is both an art and science. Inspired by Seth Godin’s Zoom call tips, here is my take on how to pitch your startup via Zoom.

Before the call 

  • Do not Zoom and drive, walk or pitch outdoors on mobile. 
  • Fix your hair and put on a clean shirt from the waist up at least (WSJ). 
  • Always set an agenda and share your pitch deck ahead of time. 
  • Prepare all the follow up materials (presentation, demo script, etc) ahead of time. 
  • Invest in a good wifi. Poor bandwidth leaves a poor impression. 
  • Find a quiet indoor Zoom meeting place where you won’t be interrupted (if possible). Turn off desktop notifications (especially messaging services). 
  • Only invite team members to join if they can contribute.  Less is more. 
  • In the Zoom Video Settings dialog, click ​​Touch up my appearance​​. Yes you will look nicer. 

During the call

  • Turn on your camera. Pitching on audio-only mode while your investors are on camera. It’s weird.
  • Avoid sitting with the window behind you. Investors do not want to talk to Darth Vader. 
  • Avoid funny virtual backgrounds.  Ideally show your real work setting (if not too messy). 
  • Set your camera at eye level. The screen should be mostly on your face. 
  • At the beginning of the call: 
    • Let your audience know your children, dogs or significant others may make some unavoidable noise. 
    • Set the agenda for the next 30 or 60 minutes. 
    • Typical pitch agenda: 
      • Introduce yourself and your team members. 
      • Ask investors to introduce themselves and their fund. 
      • Screen share, walk through your deck and show product demo (if available). 
      • Be ready to answer how COVID-19 impacts your business – good or bad. 
      • When you are done walking through the deck, stop screen sharing. 
    • At the end of the call: 
      • Thank investors for their time. 
      • Clarify their investment decision making process. 
      • Clarify next steps 
    • Talk slowly. 
    • Coordinate who will answer which questions. Never great when your team members are talking over each other. 

After the call

  • Write a short follow up email to recap your key points and action items within 24 hours.

Original article published on Edith’s blog

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