How to pitch an investor – in private equity
October 10, 2022
How to pitch to investors:
What is the best private equity pitch you’ve seen?
That’s the question I posed to various panels at SuperInvestor, the annual conference for private equity investors.
I asked eight LPs to share with us a great private equity investor pitch they remember – teams that did something remarkable that grabbed their attention. On one panel were Catherine Lewis La Torre, Anna Dayn, Spencer Miller and Marc der Kinderen. On the other panel was Will Poole of Capria, Guarau Ahuja of ChrysCapital and Alexandre Alfonsi of Axonia Partners. Between them, these experts review 400+ private equity investor pitches every year and they’ve seen them all – the good, the great, the bad and the ugly.
By the way, of the 400 pitches they see, they eventually invest in only 10.
Whether you are pitching to private equity investors, or you are a private equity firm pitching to LPs, this advice will help you be more successful.
How to pitch an investor – top suggestions
- Stand out from the crowd in your private equity pitch
- Be a very clear communicator
- Research each LP (investor) you meet
- Show how your team delivers extra returns
- Listen more then you talk when you pitch investors
- Create an investor pitch that is different
- Tailor your pitch to each investor
- Demonstrate your passion
- Show, don’t just tell
How to pitch to private equity investors
Top tips on how you can pitch to private equity for success
Private Equity Fundraising Tip #1 – Stand out from the crowd
LPs see hundreds of funds for each one they invest in. Your first challenge is to rise above everyone else who is competing for attention, so you become the 1% that they remember and talk about. In short, it’s all about seeing things from the LP’s point of view. By keeping your LP at the centre of everything you say and do, you’ll stand out in his or her mind as being more engaging, memorable and investor-ready.
How To Pitch an Investor Tip #2 – Communicate Clearly
Are your marketing materials too complicated? They may make sense to you, but if they are hard for an LP to understand then you’re unlikely to secure investment.
Successful funds have clear, concise and consistent communications. Consider your messages about your fund, your marketing materials (including your Private Equity Fund’s Pitch Book) and your follow-up communications: they should all be as easy to read and understand as a newspaper. Potential investors will quickly see what makes your fund different.
Private equity fundraising Tip | 3. Research each LP
One of the repeating themes from the LPs at SuperReturn was that trust is built during communication outside of fundraising periods.
You need to be researching your LPs, tracking their investment mandates and learning about their investment goals over time.
Keep talking to them. Then, when you’re fundraising, you can tailor your pitch to the LPs you’re targeting.
Private equity fundraising Tip | 4. Show how your team delivers returns
Every fund forecasts promising returns. Top funds demonstrate what their team does differently to drive above-average performance.
What is your team’s background? Why does that give your fund a unique advantage?
It’s not enough to have a blue-chip experienced team: you need to link your team’s experience to those great returns you’re forecasting.
Private equity fundraising tip | 5. Listen more than you talk
Lastly, are your fundraising pitches one-way broadcasts or two-way conversations?
Top funds listen to LPs, aiming to understand, not just respond. They ask follow-up questions to check their understanding and have high levels of emotional intelligence. They detect verbal and non-verbal cues to pick up what is and what isn’t being said.
Lastly, they handle tough investor questions without becoming defensive.
How to pitch an investor | 6. Create a pitch that’s different
Anna Dayn recalled a pitch last year at SuperInvestor’s famous Quick Fire Showcase, where funds have just 90 seconds to pitch to a room of LPs. She told us about a pitch she heard in the form of a rap routine. Within 90 seconds, his rap managed to fit in all the fund highlights in a creative and memorable fashion.
What can you do to make your pitch memorable?
How to pitch an investor tip | 7. Tailor your pitch to each investor
Spencer Miller reminded us how important it is to customise your pitch for each organization you speak to. “Know who you’re meeting,” he said. “Have an idea of what they are interested in.” You won’t always be guided by the LP. So focusing your pitch on exactly what the investor wants “makes it much more useful, and helps build the relationship.”
How to pitch an investor tip | 8. Demonstrate passion
“It’s fair to say that we see a lot of things that look more or less the same,” said Catherine Lewis La Torre.
“One that did stand out for me was a German GP. When they went through their portfolio they got products out and started talking about them. They were so animated and passionate that they really conveyed how much they knew about the businesses and how they would be generating value. They just loved that business. And that came across.”
How can you demonstrate more passion?
Improve My Private Equity Pitch
How to pitch an investor | 9. Show, don’t just tell
“It gets us excited when we can get closer to the companies,” said Marc der Kinderen. “We once had a team came in who brought one of their CEOs. He happened to be in NY, and they let him speak to us. He explained how they got started, what they were doing, how the PE firm helped, how often they spoke. That made it come alive.”
How can you show how great you are?
Professional support to increase your chance of success
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help you improve your investor presentations. You benefit from our knowledge of private equity investing and get executive coaching, pitch polishing and intensive role-play. We support pitches and presentations of both funds and portfolio companies, maximising your chances of securing investment.
To improve your pitch to investors, call Louise Angus, Client Services Director on +44 20 7018 0922 or email email@example.com.
We’ll transform your investor pitch so it’s confident, memorable and effective.
What are the investor pitching mistakes most commonly made?
I also asked the fundraising panel which investor pitching mistakes they regularly see.
Learn from these mistakes to learn how to pitch an investor and increase your chance of securing investment.
Four investor pitching mistakes to avoid
Private equity pitching mistake 1: Defensive or aggressive responses
The job of investors is to ask questions and be critical. Investors need to be sure they have accurate information so they can come to a good decision. Yet, rather than responding politely, Marc der Kinderen often finds that the fund manager takes things personally.
He said, “We are looking for people we can team up with for a decade. The moment we find people who are aggressive and defensive about their history – if we can’t ask questions – then due diligence stops.”
How to pitch an investor mistake 2: Deferring answers to later on in the presentation
Although you may have prepared a standard pitch, remember that every investor is different. Refusing to tailor your pitch or answer a question straight away shows an attitude of indifference towards your audience. Catherine Lewis La Torre said, “I find it frustrating when I ask a question and the fund manager says, ‘I’m coming to that, it’s on page 20 of the presentation’. Often the question never gets addressed.”
Private equity pitching mistake 3: Lack of team dynamic
If the members of a pitching team contradict, interrupt or ignore each other, you put the stability and strength of the team in doubt. Spencer Miller said, “It’s my number one test: how do they interact with each other? Is it a partnership, or is it individuals?”
Investor pitching mistake 4: Lack of respect for the investors’ time
Showing up late or rescheduling at the last minute gives an impression of disorganisation as well as a lack of respect for the LP. Anna Dayn said, “Some managers have an incorrect assumption that we have limitless time for them.”
Learn how to create a great equity story for your pitch.
Professional support to give you the best chance of success
Benjamin Ball Associates can help you avoid these and many other common mistakes. Let us help you learn best how to pitch an investor and prepare you for investor presentations.
We support the pitches and presentations of both funds and portfolio companies, maximising your chances of securing investment.
Some clients include
Start improving today
If you want to improve how you pitch an investor call Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll help you your pitch confident, memorable and effective.
Video: How Private Equity Funds can pitch, present and persuade more effectively
Paul Farrow is a Partner at Benjamin Ball Associates. In this video from SuperReturn US East, Paul discusses the common mistakes made by Private Equity funds when communicating with potential investors. He reveals the unexpected personality trait that investors look for in fund managers, and why LPs don’t want to ‘be taken through your pitch presentation’. He shares essential advice that will improve your fund’s messaging, help you stand out and impress prospective investors.
About Benjamin Ball Associates
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to pitch, present & persuade.
Over the last 15+ years the award-winning BBA team has supported thousands of executives globally to present powerfully to investors. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator. We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately, and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.
Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email email@example.com to find out more and discuss your upcoming talk or presentation.
Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.
What leaders say about Benjamin Ball Associates
"Essential if you are going to be a spokesperson for your business"
Senior Analyst, Sloane Robinson
"Being an effective communicator is essential to get your stock ideas across. This course is exactly what's needed to help you do just that!"
CEO, Blast! Films
“Our investment in the coaching has paid for itself many times over.”
Corporate Finance House
“You address 95% of the issues in a quarter of the time of your competitor.”
“Good insight and a great toolbox to improve on my presentations and delivery of messages to not only boards, analysts and shareholders but to all audiences”
“We had a good story to tell, but you helped us deliver it more coherently and more positively.”
CEO, IPSO Ventures
“Ben did a great job on our presentation. He transformed an ordinary set of slides into a great presentation with a clear message. Would definitely use him again and recommend him highly.”
“Moved our presentation into a different league and undoubtedly improved the outcome and offer we received.”
Head of IR, Equinox
“A fantastic job reviewing and transforming our marketing material and helping us get our message across with clarity to potential investors.”