7 main reasons startups miss out on pitching opportunities

29 May, 2023

Last year EstBAN’s dealroom in Dealum got hundreds of applications from startups raising funding. Each month our screening committee goes over a preselected variety of 10-15 companies and out of those selects 5-7 to pitch at our monthly pitch event. You can do the math then on how many will not be showcased in front of our members. 

Angels are the in between investing stage, after or during an acceleration program and before a VC round. Sometimes the latter can be combined with the angels but generally the average round that makes sense for the angels in EstBAN is around 200 000€. 
During the years we’ve seen thousands of companies from all over the world.

Here’s a short list of the reasons why most will not be invited to pitch their business in front of the EstBAN angels:

  1. Unrealistic expectations.
    Whether it’s getting to pitch in front of investors TOMORROW or raise €4M when your prototype is so far from being ready, try to put down the expectations for today and for 6 months to come. If you don’t have an MVP ready, it is not realistic to expect investors to put millions into your idea either, is it. 
  2. Paranoia.You’re not willing to share information. Do you know how many times we get emails from “founders” with an amazing, ground shattering business idea but want investors to first sign NDA-s before disclosing it? Many, let me tell you. Investors are not out there to “get“ you or steal your ideas. Their business is to invest into good ideas, and have enough business on their plate, not enough time to see every one of them. They can honestly be very good source to assess whether your idea is worth anything or not.
  3. The founders are not coachable.As a startup founder, you get to approach the investors, who have a vast set of experience pooled together and they’d definitely have useful advice or another angle to offer. If you’re not open minded to hear them out in the beginning of your journey, it is unlikely that you’ll let advisors help your business in the long run. Can’t do it alone.
  4. Single founder team.This is a simple risk mitigation policy. Having only one person responsible for everything makes it a risky business. There’s no back up to take over the business if needed. There are a few exceptions but this tends to generally be an exclusionary factor. 
  5. Wrong or difficult jurisdiction. We get applications from around the world, although a lot come from the regions that are unaccessible for the local angel investors. As they say that angel money is “smart” money, which means that they can contribute not only financially but with their network, connections and any other kind of know how. If you’re set geographically or culturally too far, it is less likely for the angels to have trust in you or can help with their connections. 
  6. You’re barking up a wrong tree without knowing the type of tree or the climate the tree is growing in or the fruit it grows.If you’re raising 2 million euros, it is unlikely that the angels should be the first ones to back you. Individual angel tickets tend to average around 10-50 000€ and angel syndicates are usually up to €400 000, not significantly more. 
  7. Too many pivots and no product. There are persistent founders and there are those who are relentless beyond meaning. (Semi-) Finish something,  show that you have a positive track record before switching gears and adjusting to your market. 

These are some of the mainly founder/team related reasons, so we’ll follow up with the business side of things in the future as well. 
A disclaimer – this is neither a complete or absolute list. Amazing founders come in all shapes and setups, so don’t let this be a discouragement building your company, these are just the main factors we’ve come across when choosing the companies to present for our angels. Please see here what EstBAN angels generally invest into and how to reach us. Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions on this.