Text analysis to figure out how to Pitch a Startup to Investors

Alireza Mortazavi
8 min readApr 19, 2022

Crafting a Pitch to present a startup to investors is a not an easy task even if you have a killer idea and high tech stuffs. You have to be clear and concise to effectively grab your audience’s attention. There are things to say and things to avoid. If you are familiar with the TV series Shark Tank, you know what I am saying.

Watching this TV program or other related podcasts can teach you a great deal, because you can see real entrepreneurs pitch to real investors.

The pitch is a podcast from Gimlet media that features entrepreneurs in need of venture funding as they pitch to a live panel of investors. Right now you can listen to a 100 episodes of this podcast on Spotify and subscribe for more.

We went one step further and used NLP and AI tools to find out what are the most repeated words and phrases on this podcast. If there is a word or phrase repeating in most of the episodes, this means that you probably need to mention it in your pitch or you will hear it from the investors! After doing some coding, analysis and manual grouping, we were surprised by the result!

If you want to find out what are the most repeated words and phrases in startup pitches, what they mean and how important they are, continue watching this video. Don’t forget to subscribe for more tech debates.

Out of the 100 episodes of the pitch podcast, 35 of them has the transcription! We had to download the rest of them and use AI tools to transcribe them to text. You can use the DeepSpeech package for that! Then we had to prepare the text files by removing the unwanted words and phrases. We noticed that there are some repeating words like the name of the speakers, the name of the show and its producer and words like “angel investor”, “venture capital”, “venture capitalist”, etc.

Stop words, punctuation and numbers are all have to be removed in order to only analyze the important words. We used some python scripts and packages for that. If you are interested in the process, tell us in the comments to create another detailed video on it.

With that said, let’s get to the results. Let’s see the most used words and phrases and see what they mean.

The result

— The most repeated word is “know”.

— Seems like you have to know a lot of things or the investors want to know about a lot of things and they will ask you questions!

* know

* know what

* know how

* know when

* know where

* know who

* question

* answer question

— These are some of the other combinations..

* company

* business

* product

* brand

* market

* service

* industry

* community

* software

* portfolio

* company portfolio

* competition

— Are some of the things you should know about and well describe.

— Don’t forget to introduce yourself and your team.

* founder

* team

* entrepreneur

* black founder

* female founder

* nice [to] meet

* cofounder

* problem

* idea

* personal story

* solving problem

* building sustainable

— What is the problem that you are solving? Do you have a story for that? Is there any personal connection or background?

* customer

* user

* retail

* store

* online

* shop

* consumer

— The investors don’t want to only know who the founder is, presenting who your customers and users are, is also very important.

— Do you sell at stores, to other retailers or online?

* new

* great

* big

* new product

* first time

* big business

* professional

* solve problem

* really big

* great idea

* one [of the] best

* better product

* different product

— Investors hear these words a lot and they might be skeptical. Try not to double down too much on these.

— “People” is another word that is repeated a lot.

* people

* data

* many people

* [a] lot [of] people

* people know

* average woman

* average American

— If you are going to talk about people or your users, don’t just assume and claim things.

— Do you have some stats and numbers to back you up? Present your market research data.

* business model

* use case

* vendor[s]

* make money

* market size

* value prop

* product market

* pricing model

* competitive advantage

* value proposition

— If you’ve invested time completing your BMC, you already know how to describe your business model and how to answer the investors’ questions.

* employee

* revenue

* price point

* revenue stream

* unit economics

* per employee

* employee per

* run rate

* dynamic pricing

* [x] million revenue

* gross margin

* per unit

* paying employee

* sale process

— How much do you spend? how many staffs do you have?

— How you make money and how you price your product or service is also important.

— Investors look into the long term sustainability of your business by looking at your cash flow and revenue.

* month over month

* per month

* active user

* mobile app

* monthly subscription

* download app

* monthly active

* monthly active user

* early adopter

* million downloads

* new user

* renew membership

* purchase

* fulfillment rate

* using product

* active daily user

* beta customer

* item per order

— talk about the users and stats yourself. Investors love to see solid numbers.

* million

* money

* need

* million dollar

* billion dollar

* fund

* raising money

* billion

* get money

* invested million

* thousand dollar

* raising million

* convertible note

* half million

* get million

* million buck

* raising million dollar

* IOU | I Owe You

— There will be a lot of talk about numbers and money, how much do you need?

* fee

* paid acquisition

* sale

* customer acquisition

* acquisition cost

* sale team

* dollar per

* customer acquisition cost

* customer retention

* acquiring customer

* acquiring user

* acquisition strategy

— How much is your CAC? How much do you spend to keep the customer? do you have a sales team?

— How are you going to acquire new users?

— These are some of the common questions the investors ask.

* social

* social medium

* influencer

* direct consumer

* search engine

* network effect

* social network

— How are you going to acquire new users and customers? Are you using social media effectively?

* trying [to] figure

* make[s] sense

* never heard [of]

* wrap [my] head around

* excited [to] hear

* super clear

— Are you explaining things well enough?

— Try to be super clear or let the investors wrap their head around a topic and ask you further questions.

— Be patient, you don’t need to explain everything in one go. Don’t be static like a teleprompter, try to be responsive.

* risk

* pain point

* really hard

* find [a] way

* big vision

* ultimate vision

* biggest challenge

— Don’t be afraid to talk about your risks, pain points, challenges and your long term goals.

— A flat road to success is too good to be true.

* make sure

* really excited

* really cool

* great company

* relentlessly optimistic

* great advice

* really interesting

— They may give you some advice or praise you or your idea. Use the feedback you receive from the investors.

* size

* valuation

* million valuation

— They say size matters! and the stats show there will be a lot of talk about size, whether its market size or the size of your company or even your product.

* seed

* raise money

* friend family

* nonprofit

* revenue based financing

* due diligence

* kick starter

* [how] much money

* next round

* early stage

* bridge round

* term sheet

* seed stage

* phase one

* lead round

* friend family round

* family round

* family money

* pre-seed company

* find lead [investor]

* committed round

— At which stage are you?

— How much have you raised so far?

— What is your current valuation?

— Have you done your due diligence?

* money back

* pay back

* need money [to]

* money helped

* get money back

* need scale

* return rate

— How this round of investment is going to help you scale? Do you need to pay back some amount to your team or yourself?

— How the investor is going to get his or her money back?

* crypto

* crypto currency

* block chain

* platform

* machine learning

* code

* virtual reality

* big data

* SaaS business

* collect data

* tech stack

* supply chain

* facial recognition

* artificial intelligence

— Are you using high tech stuffs? These are the common buzz words. Sometimes you need to talk about the inner workings of your business and get into details.

— Try not to get too deep, although some investors love that, especially those who were tech entrepreneurs themselves.

* actually

* um

* uh

* ah

* blah blah

— Don’t wait too long thinking. The pitch stage is not the best place to come up with answers.

— Try to look confident and prepared.

* fda

* fda approval

* clinical trial

— Do you need a license or a permit for your product?

— When you hear investors talk about these things, they are concerned about your time to market and the obstacles ahead.

* lot [of] money

* biggest problem

* wrong wrong

* subject matter[s]

* big problem

* big bet

* clear answer

* basically impossible

* biggest thing need

* answer everything

* attitude toward

* instead trying

* frankly speaking

* build better

— Don’t get offensive or defensive, sometimes you just need to agree or disagree. Most of the times the investors try to evaluate your personality.

* deal

* opportunity

* close the deal

— Try to close the deal if possible and don’t waste an opportunity, but don’t underestimate yourself and your idea.

* come back

* big enough

* really focus

— Don’t get disappointed if they say you need to come back, a lot of times you can make things work with a strong come back!

— Sometimes you just need to focus on some of your metrics and ask for VC money again.

That’s it for now. We may do a similar thing for the Shark Tank TV series in the future if you are interested.

Don’t forget to subscribe for more tech debates like this one.