Ditch the pitch? Not an option.


Let’s face it. There is ample published evidence of the gender bias in how #investors, both women and men, evaluate fundraising pitches. Not surprisingly, only a small percent of venture capital goes to companies with a female CEO (2.3% in the US in 2018).

A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that eliminating the pitch from the venture capital process altogether could be a solution to fix this bias. The authors find strong financial as well as gender equity reasons for that.

But ask investors whether they always require founders to pitch, and their reaction will be a unanimous “Of course!”

It’s personal
Like all the most critical decisions in life, the decision to fund a company is never based merely on information and data.

Regardless of gender, the pitch is a unique opportunity for investors to get up close and personal with founders, find a connection, feel the spark.

“VCs spend a lot of time talking about markets and technology, but the decision should be around people. We are looking for a magic combination of courage and genius.”
Marc Andreessen, Sequoia Capital

CEO as the Chief Storyteller
Additionally, seeing the CEO in action during a pitch is an excellent way for investors to assess their leadership and communication skills. As de facto chief marketer and chief spokesperson, the CEO has to be totally comfortable pitching the company story to prospects, the press, and investors for future fundraising rounds.

“The great storytellers have an unfair competitive advantage. They are going to recruit better, they will be darlings in the press, they are going to raise money more easily. Perhaps more to the point, they are more likely to deliver a positive investment return.”
Bill Gurley, Benchmark VCs

Here are three of some of the most inspiring women CEOs that are disrupting the Healthcare business right now. And it’s probably not a coincidence that they are great at pitching their company story.

Kate Ryder, founder of Maven Clinic.
Maven is a virtual clinic for women and families offering on-demand Healthcare from anywhere and modern family benefits. Ms. Ryder secured $42 million in venture funding.

Jill Angelo, CEO and cofounder of Genneve.
Genneve is a Seattle startup that runs a telemedicine service for women experiencing menopause. Genneve recently landed a $4 million seed round led by BlueRun Ventures.

Claire Novorol, co-founder of Ada Health.
Ada Health helps people actively manage their health and supports health professionals by combining collective medical knowledge with intelligent technology. Ada has now raised $70 million in venture capital.

This is just a small personal selection. Here in Forbes, you can find 50 more great examples of women-led startups.

On a personal note, there is nothing more energizing than a compelling pitch by an inspiring company founder.

Ditch the pitch? I don’t think so.