The Quick Pitch with Donna Griffit

By Kyle LaBossiere
Photo of Donna Griffit.

Let’s say you’re going on a first date. And on it, you spoke about your entire dating history: i.e. where you want to get married, how many children you want, how many partners you’ve had…chances are, you are not getting that second date! Well, it’s the same thing when it comes to pitching to investors.

This useful piece of pitching (and dating) advice, came straight from one of the best corporate storytellers in the game, Donna Griffit, who joined our cohort to speak with the founders about their investor “quick pitch.”

To date, Donna has helped over 1,000 startups, corporates, and investors raise over $1.25 billion and accelerate their sales with a personal touch and unmatched messaging savvy, in any industry, at any phase.

When you only have five minutes to get your message across, you’re not going to be able to tell the entire story (you’re not getting that second date if you overload them with information that isn’t vital to your pitch). You want to woo them. You want to intrigue them. You want to have them wanting to come back for more!

For Donna, a pitch is like a four-act play.

Act One — The Problem — One minute

According to Donna, investors are listening for three things in your pitch: credibility, likeability, and momentum. And there’s no better way to start your pitch than with a story!

Start by making your potential investors either feel the pain or see the light! What happened that made you recognize there was a need for your product or service in the first place? How is your product going to disrupt your respective industry and make people’s lives easier?

And don’t be shy when it comes to sharing your accomplishments — bring them front and center! Do you have any serious traction? What accolades have you won? Did you sign a contract with an industry titan or secure a large amount of funding? Don’t wait to tell them the good news, hit them with the good stuff right away!

Act Two — The Solution — Two and a half minutes

You’ve already stated the problem, and now you swoop in to save the day with your solution! While coming up with your “Simple Solution Statement” might not actually be so simple, it’s vital to get it down right, and it all boils down to this: we do X for Y by Z, followed by the thing that makes you unique. What’s your secret sauce?

“Your pitch should be so simple that even your Grandma could understand it,” says Donna.

Now is the time to show them your demo! Guide them through the user journey of your product. You want this to be as visual and palatable as possible. While you could show them a pre-recorded voice-over demo, it’s much more meaningful to use your own voice. It also increases likeability, credibility, and momentum — so carry that momentum, baby!

Your product should be the star of the show. “Steve Jobs could have spoken forever about the iPad, but when he got up on stage and showed the world what it could do — ” Donna snapped her fingers. “We got it.”

Donna loves to showcase demos by telling a “Deconstructed User Story.” What did their life look like before you? And then what did it look like afterward? Walk them through the onboarding, the results, and your glowing testimonials.

The Business — 1 Minute

Now you’ll want to segway into a bit about the business itself. This is a great time to talk about your business model, what your milestones & KPIs are, and how much traction you already have.

The more you can show that people love your product and that you have a proven business model to back it up, the more persuasive you’ll be. It’s essential to add your metrics for growth here. Even if investors don’t understand your field well, it’s hard to argue with facts and numbers.

There are three useful ways to speak about your business that Donna outlines.

Differentiation — What truly stands out about your company? What sets you apart? Why are we different from our competitors?

Monetization — How are you making money? What are your main streams of revenue? What other streams of revenue do you have?

Opportunization — Investors suffer from FOMO, so build a sense of urgency and let them know why right now is the best time for them to invest in your company. Have any of your competitors recently been acquired? Are there any trends that your company capitalizes on? Has there been a recent adoption of legislation or regulation that works in your organization’s favor? Make the investors feel that the train is about to leave the station, and they’re not gonna want to miss it!

If you haven’t included a slide with your team on it yet, then this is the place to do that as well.

Your Vision — 30 Seconds

Don’t just end your pitch with: “Thank you, any questions?”

End it with some inspiration! You started your pitch with a story, and so you should end this story with where you’re going or where you are now. Close with your vision for the future. Let them know that this is the first step in your larger journey and that this is only the beginning.

There are no second chances for a first impression, so you better make it count! To learn more about Donna Griffit’s best practices and tips, visit her website at

WEVE Acceleration (formerly NUMA New York) is NYC’s most hands-on, custom-tailored accelerator for international startups expanding to the US market. Our mission at WEVE is to enable global market access and business growth by providing world-class knowledge, connections, and resources for innovators exploring new markets.

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