August 27, 2008

Speed Pitching

I am really excited to go my my first speed pitching event today.  I have talked to a lot of people who have been to one before, and I helped with the practice round on Monday.  Truthfully, however, I don’t think I will understand the magnitude of the event until after I experience it–

  • Seeing the excitement of the entrepreneurs
  • Hearing the difficult questions of the investors
  • Potential deals being discussed

If you are in my boat and haven’t experienced a speed pitching event, or if you are a future participant wanting to get a better idea of what you might encounter, check out this link.  This comes from a show called Dragon’s Den.  Full episodes are available online, but only in the UK.  Elsewhere, you can find clips like the one above on YouTube.

Okay, so our speed pitching events aren’t quite like that, of course.  You espeically shouldn’t expect investors to get in a bidding war over you at the event–or even bids made on site.  This clip focused a lot on the negotiation process, which will occur after the event if an investor is interested in your business.  (There also won’t be stacks of bills laying around–Brock, can we try that next time?!:)…but there were certain things you should take note of–

  • Entrepreneurs are optimistic with their ideas and investors are cautious with their money.
  • A company without revenue and without letters of intent has very little traction in the minds of an investor and will significantly lower perceived value.
  • Confidence in your product/service and passion for your business are valuable (just remember these things can’t stand alone, but are a supplement to a good idea.  This gentlemen seemed to have all three).
  • Investors will ask difficult questions so be prepared and don’t take questions personally.  This is their money you are asking for.
  • Expect a gap in how you value your company and how they value your company.  (That’s okay though, they probably wouldn’t like you as much if you weren’t so optimistic).

Happy pitching!


For entrepreneurship topics and tips not related to fundraising see Lance’s blog Entrepersonal.