Steve Wozniak Says to Focus on These 3 Things When You Pitch Your Startup to Investors

Landing an investment first requires a healthy dose of skepticism, says Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.

Wozniak suggests entrepreneurs seeking a $1 billion valuation–a “unicorn” valuation–should ask themselves some big questions before they first stand in front of investors. For example, you should know whether your product can realistically be manufactured or if it actually improves what it’s aiming to replace, Wozniak told the Washington Post during a live stream event on Tuesday.

Wozniak shared this advice as a judge on Unicorn Hunters, a streaming reality series on Amazon Prime featuring founders pitching their private companies to viewers. Audiences watching the show can invest in the companies they like with investments starting at $1,000.

Here, three key tips Wozniak said that every entrepreneur should use when pitching to investors if they want to become the next billion-dollar company. 

1. Lead with your passion. 

When Wozniak pitched Apple alongside Steve Jobs in 1976 to investors, he learned that faith in one’s business was the most persuasive element to land a deal. The optimism and commitment, he said, were more inspiring to investors than their background.

“Most importantly, be able to communicate that you have a lot of passion,” Wozniak said. “That you really come from caring about something.” 

2. Focus on storytelling.

Telling a good story applies to your product just as much as it does to your passion. Wozniak said he and Jobs told stories about how customers would find value in their products when pitching Apple. It helped explain to investors how consumers would want what they’re selling in an engaging and informative way.

“When you want something yourself, you know what’s good and what’s not,” he said.

3. Know your company inside and out. 

Understanding the operations of your startup without hesitation can impress investors, according to Wozniak. Once you’re in front of investors, try to answer every question with relevant information and don’t waste time to reply.

“Be well prepared and come across like you’re very confident,” he advised. Only then will investors trust you enough to put their money behind your company.

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