Lessons from Collision … (Collision is the Tech Conference in Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, Las Vegas. It took place at the World Market Center Pavilions May 5-6 2015)

If you can consider pitching a startup like a dance between a man (the investor) and a woman (you, the startup leader), then these tongue-in-cheek references to the pitching process may help you impress investors with your moves.

1) What stage are you (the startup) in?

Some investors like to come in when you’re young, at the Seed Round.

Some investors like to come in when you’re a bit more mature, at the B and C Rounds.

Some investors just dance with any startup at any stage, if they find you attractive.

2) Are you his type?

Some investors prefer to be experts and leaders of certain types of industries or niches within industries. So do not take it to heart if they reject you at first sight. You are just not their type.

3) Catch his eye on LinkedIn and he may ask you for a dance.

Investors can be reached on LinkedIn, and startups should use this platform to get their attention. Since some investors are considered highly eligible and have a lot of admirers, you can actually approach their other portfolio investments and businesses first, and then if you win them over, they can introduce you to the main man himself.

One “hot” investor said he only chooses 1 to 2 dances out of the 3,000 invites he had each month.

4) Dance with his best buddies as well – get to know his lawyers, his accountants, his partners, … – so they can see your moves and recommend you to him.

5) When you finally get to dance, make sure you are ready with a story.

Every investor wants to hear this. Your elevator pitch has to be tight so he can see all your assets at one go and will keep coming back for more.

6) When the investor gives feedback on how he likes to dance, even it is uncomfortable or difficult to hear, listen.

The startup that listens and makes the changes and pivots when needed, will keep the investor’s attention. They can see your commitment to working with their specific dance steps. One of the investors mentioned that only 10% of the startups he gave feedback to actually implemented the changes themselves. In fact, you should be able to take feedback (however hard to hear), show the changes you’ve made, and also be ready to answer the investor’s questions on those sore points.

7) You should teach the investor what the new moves are in your field.

Investors generally do not know the space as much as you do. Educate them as to why the space has value, what exciting things are happening there, and what you are doing to capture them.

8) You should show your authentic desire and that you plan to be in the dance for the long run.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

9) It’s all about the people.

Sometimes investors turn down a dance because they don’t like one of your girlfriends (business partners or leadership team) who rubs them the wrong way. Ditch her quick.

10) The dance actually starts off before the dancing.

You should be constantly updating the investors of your success and learnings.

11) Be confident.

Confidence is such an attractive quality.

12) You can let them lead.

Investors, particularly venture capitalists, like to add value. Some startups try too hard to optimize before asking for investments. You can find investors even when you are not 100% perfect at the dance steps. Just be upfront about where your dancing is at and then take their lead. They can then lead and show you the moves you need rather than you dancing on your own.

Follow ups?

If an investor likes you, he will follow up on the same day.

Learn to Hustle. If you sense the pitch went south, connect with a side partner and try to sell them on you again. Build rapport.

Talk to multiple venture capitalists and angel investors.

Take all feedback seriously.

I wish you the dance of wealth and abundance. Shake that booty!


Recently Published

Queen Elizabeth II was not just a monarch, she represented a global brand. And for the past seven decades, this brand has to some extent defined and promoted the British nation around the world. Brands are important corporate (or in this case national) assetsthat can burnish a company’s profile and meaningfully differentiate it from other businesses. […]
Ads are coming to Netflix, perhaps even sooner than anticipated.  The Wall Street Journal has reported that Netflix has moved up the launch of their ad-supported subscription tier to November. The Sydney Morning Herald, meanwhile, is reporting that Australia is amongst the first countries likely to experience ads on Netflix later this year. Netflix first announced they would introduce […]

Top Picks

More and more colleges are becoming “metaversities,” taking their physical campuses into a virtual online world, often called the “metaverse.” One initiative has 10 U.S. universities and colleges working with Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and virtual reality company VictoryXR to create 3D online replicas – sometimes called “digital twins” – of their campuses that are […]
Proof-of-stake is a mechanism for achieving consensus on a blockchain. Blockchain is a technology that records transactions that can’t be deleted or altered. It’s a decentralized database, or ledger, that is under no one person or organization’s control. Since no one controls the database, consensus mechanisms, such as proof-of-stake, are needed to coordinate the operation […]
Woven through Thor: Love and Thunder, Taika Waititi’s latest contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a sentimental and age-old commentary on mortality and love.  In this intergalactic rom-com, the hammer-wielding Gods of Thunder face the shady “god butcher” Gorr in a race to the Gates of Eternity. Gorr has inherited his god-killing gift through […]


The Industrial model of education that fueled the modern era and its dizzying reach did its job incredibly well. Its prime accomplishment was the expansion of our ability to abstract the world. Until then, pragmatism reigned, limiting most people’s thoughts and interactions primarily because we lacked the tools to extrapolate information, to wield it for things that lay beyond obvious […]
I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Latest Titles

Empirics Podcast

  • The Future Of Aviation Is Electric?


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics