Sunday, September 10, 2006
Perfect pitch: how Entrepeneurs Succeed in Raising Capital
Identifying a need of Innovative Companies who were being under-supported and underprepared, and not getting the right advice in raising capital was the catch cry of ANZAtech chief executive Viki Forrest.
Alan Milwidsky of BSI developed the BSI Investment Ready Process, which culminated in those Companies pitching at the BSI Investor Forum. Milwidsky says the BSI Investor Forum gives the entrepeneur an opportunity to pitch to all the key investors in Australia within a number of presentations.
“It is important to realise what may lie ahead …. You have a number of goes at presenting your opportunity – in Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland possibly overseas at events such as the Anzatec Gateway to the USA Conference Program, and the soon to be launched BSI Asia Investor Forum.” Says Milwidsky
The Perfect Pitch
The first couple of minutes of any presentation are vital.
You have to make an impression and to do that you have to focus the presentation on the crystal clear idea that will excite the audience and win the business.
You need to have in one sentence what your business does…
Cisco “networking for networks” ,
BSI “help your business grow”,
Google - "Internet is about finding places and things and connecting people”,
Seqoui Capital – “ We are the entrepeneurs that help entrepeneurs”
People have to get in one sentence what you are about – “they need to get it”. If it is too confusing in the beginning – they lose interest.
The target audience needs to feel excited and inspired. "You have to get people's attention and be compelling," says Kaye
It usually takes many pitches to get a nibble. There is discipline involved in making the perfect pitch and deciding what should go in and what should be left out.
It is important to get across the quality of the entrepeneur and team. It is the people in the Company that will make the business succesful.
Powerpoint presentations need to be succinct and to the point. There should be only 8 slides for a 12-minute presentation and each slide should have no more than six lines of text and six words to the line.
A demonstration of the product can also be helpful to show how it works and how it can make a difference. The presentation should be interesting and even entertaining, but being too entertaining can affect your credibility.
Enthusiasm should be tempered along with commercial ability.
Having the whole team present can help show that the company has the ability to execute and deliver.
If there is interest, you will need to do 1 on 1 presentations, and be prepared to adjust and improve your presentation as you go. You will need to have detailed documentation and substance backing your presentation.
Examples of succesful Company pitches that come to mind include – B Code, Emailcash, IMCEDA, Netreturn and Looksmart.
Ivan Kaye a Director of BSI and early-stage technology Fund Australian Distributed Incubator says that too often, people will spend ages talking about technology. People are not interested in the technology – they want the solution. What does the technology do to solve a customer’s pain or need? Why will your customers buy from you? Have you got what it takes to build a great company, or have you got what a great company will be looking for ( a potential exit?) "We are specialists in investing, not in individual technologies. Technology is important but it is only one of the relevant criterias," he says.
“I have heard hundreds of pitches, many of those that have left me dissappointed by the lack of preparation and planning. A good pitch is the first hurdle to jump through to be in the running for a potential investment ," he says. "It amazes me how often a potentially great opportunity gets knocked back as a result of a poor pitch. It can be extremely frustrating. A bad presentation will not give the potential investor confidence.”
Kaye says the result of poor preparation often shows up during question time when the entrepeneur reacts negatively to questions. If the target audience is asking the wrong questions, it's because the pitch wasn't clear.
The following points that need to be addressed include:
what your offering is;
does the company have the ability to deliver on the proposed business opportunity.
what are the benefits of realising the opportunity?
how much money you want and what you are going to do with it,
how much is the investor going to make
what are the risks.
The perfect pitch, Kaye says, must address all of these succinctly but be supported by detail.