First Pitch

Winning Money, Mentors, and More for Your Startup

5 stars rating
"Kleiman's book is an excellent addition to the entrepreneur's bookshelf ... Her deconstruction of what makes a compelling story and her examples brought the whole thing to life in an evocative, compelling fashion."
Jeff Bussgang - General Partner at Flybridge Capital
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Key Takeaways

What You'll Learn

In this book, you will learn how to confidently tell your story using a simple framework to engage your audience and create the materials to support your pitch.
  • Discover what works and what doesn’t to bring your startup to life for your audience.
  • Use the 4H Framework to create a flow for your presentation that engages listeners and creates an emotional connection.
  • Master all-important relationship building tactics that can get you the resources you need to get to the next step.
  • Armed with insight about the different audiences you’ll encounter, you’ll be prepared to deliver a pitch that is concise, compelling and clear.

Meet the Author

Debi Kleiman is an award-winning marketer, teacher, startup advisor, mentor, and angel investor, with over fifteen years of experience working with and coaching startups of all kinds. She is managing partner of The Upside Angels, investing in early stage startups and providing strategic advisory services and coaching for founders. Prior to this, she spent 5 years as the Executive Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College, the #1 school in the nation for entrepreneurship. A marketer at heart, she previously spent a decade leading initiatives in brand development and innovation at Coca-Cola, Welch’s, and Procter & Gamble.

Book 1:1 Pitch Coaching
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Kind words from kind people

Check out what some of the best entrepreneurs and investors think about First Pitch.
Tim Chae
General Partner, 500 Startups
As a startup investor and previously a founder, I know that being able to pitch your startup concisely is extremely important. Debi’s smart advice and practical approach can help you get there.
Diane Hessan
CEO, Salient Ventures; Chair, C Space
All entrepreneurs know that excruciating feeling of telling someone about their business and getting a skeptical look in return. Fortunately, Debi Kleiman lays out the secrets to a great pitch in a concrete and inspirational way. I recommend this to all entrepreneurs - and to anyone who needs to be a better storyteller.
Stephen Spinelli, Jr.
PhD, President, Babson College; Co-founder, Jiffy Lube International
Excellence in the pitch process is not optional for entrepreneurs - it is essential. Debi Kleiman’s book will launch you to success.
Robert Stringer
CEO, Crimson Seed Capital; Author, How the Best Startups Make it Happen.
First Pitch is a must- read resource for entrepreneurs. It combines excellent practical advice and concrete guidelines with words of wisdom about the emotional and interpersonal aspects of raising early stage capital.
Kirk Arnold
Executive in Residence, General Catalyst; MIT lecturer; Former CEO
First Pitch provides a comprehensive, easy- to- follow blueprint for everything you need to know about pitching your startup. I haven’t seen anything like First Pitch. I recommend it to all entrepreneurs who want to be better communicators and to deeply engage the people who can power your startup success.
Jordan Fliegel
2X venture-backed startup CEO; early stage investor in 75+ companies; author of Coaching Up! (Wiley, 2016)
Debi's wonderful book is essential reading for first-time founders attempting to navigate the challenging waters of early stage fundraising and growth. It seems these days that everyone has a startup idea, but funding, relevant mentorship, and actionable advice are just as hard as ever to secure. In First Pitch, you will gain expert insight that can save you months of trial and error - and help quickly get your startup off the ground.
Len Schlesinger
Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School; President-Emeritus, Babson College
I have met thousands of students and early stage entrepreneurs preparing for their initial search for capital. All of them desperately needed First Pitch. Now that Debi Kleiman’s insights are available to all the world, startup fundraising has been improved dramatically. Read it from cover to cover - more importantly, use it!  There is no longer an excuse for a less than stellar pitch!

Table of Contents

    1 : Stories Sell
    2: A Framework for Flow
    3: Create the Perfect Pitch Deck
    4: Short Pitches with Powerful Punches
    5: Design Matters
    6: Interpersonal Dynamics in Pitching
    7: Confronting Bias in the Pitch Process
    8: Practical Presentation Tips
    9:   Understanding Audiences
    10: Pitching for Money: Early-Stage Funding Sources
    11:  Pitching for More: Advisors, Influencers, Partners, Press
    Final Thoughts

    ISBN 978-1-5445-0788-0
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Want to learn more?

Check out this Author Hour podcast with Debi Kleiman where she talks about the book and what entrepreneurs should consider when it comes to pitching in the wake of COVID-19.

Listen to the Podcast

Master Your First Pitch

Learn how to pitch your business, engage your audience, and build all-important relationships.
You can also book 1:1 pitch coaching with Debi here.