Pitching

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:

The Introduction

  • 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 …

Problem Solver

  • What problem are you solving?
  • For whom is it making lives easier?
  • Make it human.

Target Customer

  • 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.

Business Model

  • 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.

Differentiator

  • 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?

The Ask

  • What advice, partnership, money do you need to get to A, B and C?

General Advice

  • 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.
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One thought on “Pitching

  1. Great stuff here, Evan. I didn’t realize you’re teaching right now. I’ve been honing my pitch skills for my current project: http://www.Kiind.me. Doing a pre-valuation family friend round right now and taking to more sophisticated investors early in 2012. At this stage, investors are investing in the team more than the idea, so “people invest in people” is especially true in the early stages.

    Like

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