Jasmine Antonick recently dropped by the Venture Launch class that I teach at Mount Royal University. Jasmine is in the swirl of her own startup Beakerhead, after having spent the last few years with Dealmaker Media. She was involved with a multitude of activities inclulding Under the Radar, GROW conferences and pitch coaching over 200 new ventures. She shared her pitching wisdoms with the class and I have added to them in the following:
- Tell a story of your “a-ha” moment.
- Research and understand who you are pitching to; know your audience e.g. Tech Savvy vs. Non-Tech, Canadians vs. Americans.
- Share you idea … don’t worry about being scoped.
- Describe what do you in a few repeatable sentences e.g. we created X that does y which solves Z for who …
- What problem are you solving?
- For whom is it making lives easier?
- Make it human.
- Who are your customers and how are you going after them?
- The paradox of information; too much information and the listeners start interpolate and make their own conclusions. Give them enough details to interest them in a follow up.
- Be credible e.g. we talked to over 100 customers and industry players before we took the leap.
- Create memorable sound bites.
- The hockey stick is cliche; explain key value events, your trajectory of growth.
- Explain why your customers will change their behavior; why they are willing to pay for your product or service.
- Why (and how) will you win over the others.
- What is your sustainable competitive edge e.g. we do X, Y and Z better than anyone else.
- What agreements do you have in place with partners, vendors, customers etc.
- Walk through your product.
Traction and Growth
- The proof is in the pudding; what growth have you experienced thus far?
- What is the projected growth?
The Winning Team
- Why is your team is THE team to make it happen?
- What advice, partnership, money do you need to get to A, B and C?
- Know your material inside and out; present without reading from notes or the slides.
- Your dress and deportment should make you and your audience comfortable.
- Everyone on your team should know and have rehearsed the presentation for reasons of redundancy e.g. illness, travel delays etc.
- Non-presenting team members should exhibit positive body language e.g. be engaged and alert.
- Live product demos are risky; used a canned set of screen shots and offer to give hands-on demo session later.
- Have your segue statements prepared and rehearsed e.g. That’s an excellent question, Jerry our product architect can answer that …
- Advisors should be demonstratively active and even better, have invested.
- Keep your presentation simple; fewer slides, less words and more pictures that reinforce is a good thing.
- All your effort is distilled into 6 minutes and 10 slides … your brand, credibility and integrity.
- People give advice before they give money.
- People invest in people.