28 Oct The Investor Fast Pitch: Tips/Tricks and Recap of Capital Call
Last week Cooley, LLP held its semi-annual Capital Call in Washington, D.C. where 13 companies presented their startups to a room full of investors and members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Local reporter Allyson Jacob wrote up a nice article in Elevation DC summarizing the presenting companies and the success of the Capital Call in previous years.
The presenting companies all did such a nice job; I’ve attended several of these over the past couple of years, and the companies seem to get better each time! I was involved as a coach the last two sessions, so I thought it might be helpful to encapsulate what to consider when delivering an investor “fast pitch” and how best to prepare. Then, on to the companes who presented, with a quick snapshot of what they do!
1. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid
The old adage for sales applies to delivering a pitch that needs to be high-impact within 3 minutes. All too often entrepreneurs want to shout from the rooftop everything their product does and they lose their audience by not keeping it simple and easy to understand.
2. Understand the purpose of the pitch
Just like in networking, the goal of “the pitch” is not to sell the whole idea in 3 minutes, but to pique enough interest to get investors intrigued. You’ve met those people at networking events who try to “sell you” on the spot, rather than intriguing you just enough to ask for more information. Here, the same applies. Whet the appetitite. Tease out the “big idea” and get the audience on the edge of their seats wanting more.
3. Always have a monetization plan
I’ve seen many pitches that didn’t actually talk about how a company will make money, or it was not well thought through. The reason investors attend these events to hear your story is just that…they are investors and are looking for the exponential growth, the rapid scale, and the successful exit. You need to have numbers you can get behind and believe in.
4. Storytell, don’t just tell your story
One of the best presentations I saw was when a CEO got up to deliver his pitch and he told a story. No slides, no bar charts, but a story. Why he was building this company, the problem he was trying to solve, and the way he and his investors would make money. Simple, logical, compelling. And more than anything, memorable.
No matter who you are and regardless of how savvy your public speaking skills are, you should always memorize your pitch! It is very easy to tell who knows their story cold and who is winging it. If you’re not willing to take the time to memorize a 3 minute pitch, why should your investors take more than 3 minutes to get to know you?
6. Don’t discount the ecosystem
I’ve had many entrepreneurs get frustrated when approached by service providers, such as law firms, accounting firms, real estate firms, and yes, those pesky PR firms. I’ve been on both sides, the receiver as well as the firm introducing myself to companies. Well, one thing to consider is that these service providers can actually be your best advocate, and an extended voice for you, whether you engage them or not. Don’t diss them too quickly! If you are a “hot” company, the service providers will start a buzz about you, even as they clamor to get to know you. And this can translate into just that..awareness in front of you know who..the investors who will follow who’s hot.
Now, on to the companies that presented this fall:
Crowdentials: CEO and co-founder Rich Rodman; uses best-in class-technology to allow all parties involved in the exchange of securities to maintain their compliance.
Alchemy Learning: Win Smith, co-founder and head of operations; a simple way for teachers to adopt digital instruction.
VEEDIMS, LLC: Inventor and chairman Claudio Ballard; creates intelligent Internet of Things solutions with predictive maintenance, remote control and monitoring, system integration, cloud data services.
Bloompop: Shavanna Miller, co-founder and CEO; Bloompop is disrupting the $9 billion cut flower industry through an online marketplace connecting consumers to local florists. Bloompop currently serves 20 states around the country and is on track to be nationwide by the end of the year.
Ostendio: CEO Grant Elliott; developed a SaaS-based compliance management platform; initially targeting SMBs in the health IT space, MyVCM will grow to support other regulated industries such as finance, government, transportation and utilities.
1EQ: Juan Pablo Segura, CFO and founder; bringing the Internet of Things into healthcare to slow the growth of healthcare costs and reinvent the opportunity of remote monitoring for pregnancies. Primary mission: to deliver better pregnancies.
tkout: CEO Adam Roussos; tkout is a meta-search engine for restaurant takeout and delivery—essentially, KAYAK.com for online food ordering.
Amber: Co-founder Kyle Bird; Amber offers mobile phone charging for venues, married with a customer loyalty platform to help serve venues in a way that is convenient, intuitive, and well designed.
ClickMedix: CEO and Founder Ting Shih; a patent pending eHealth software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that enables medical specialists and health organizations to rapidly deploy customized eHealth solutions to serve 10x more patients.
Borrowing Magnolia: Partner Stephanie Olvey; Borrowing Magnolia offers a managed rental service between couture wedding dress owners and future brides in addition to a pre-owned dress sales program.
iDentia: CEO Nick Duan; a technology focused firm specializing in identity and access management (IdAM) and cloud security for extended enterprises.
Admit.me: CEO Kofi Kankam; helps applicants identify, connect with, and gain admission to best-fit global universities (undergrad and grad) while providing schools with an efficient and cost-effective way to identify, connect, and convert global applicants.
Latinum Networks: Co-founder and CEO David Wellisch; helps brands develop strategy for reaching Hispanic and other multicultural consumers, the major growth drivers in the mature U.S. economy.
Looking forward to the next Capital Call in Reston in the spring, good luck to all presenting companies!