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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