Every week our friends at Entrepreneurs&Co, are approached by dozens of different start-up founders and entrepreneurs from all walks of life. Some have amazing ideas, skills and intellect. Being a social enterprise that strives to provide a collaborative and inclusive community to enable entrepreneurs to achieve success in Australia and link them to capital, investors, customers and associated alliance partners; they love to meet new talent and emerging Founders! And as their Digital Partner, The Digital Envoy is proud to support such efforts.
One glaring aspect about most of these fascinating people we meet is that the art of pitching to investors is still a vague path to them. Intimidating, yes; we’ve all seen Shark Tank and how things can go south in a pitch attempt. But shouldn’t that (the fact that it’s one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business) lead them to gear up even more?
The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Australia is still a few years behind the juggernaut that is Silicon Valley, but we have gained a great deal of ground in the last decade. One facet that can get us on to that elusive “next level” is ensuring that our entrepreneurs receive all the right resources and exposure they need learn from, early on. It is encouraging how the academic arena is catching on; e.g. Deakin University recently kicked off their “Spark” program designed to give students of Deakin University an opportunity to see, experience, and relate to the early stages of the entrepreneurial path. These programs include honing your pitching skills and that’s what we’re trying to do with the start-up founders who never got that opportunity.
So what makes a great pitch? Having discussed the subject at length with founders of multiple successful Melbourne businesses; Warwick Peel (Search 360 and XY on Boards), Phil Ore (Marketing Entourage and Ore Consulting) and Geoff Gourley (One10 and Impact Investment Fund); we can sum it up as follows.
Nail that Elevator Pitch
Phil likes to explain it as “If you bump into the CEO of a large enterprise/venture capitalist in an elevator, in the brief time you have to make an impression; can you explain what your business does + how you bring value through your product before he gets off?”
What is the problem you are solving?
Warwick states that “it is all in the why – what problem are you solving? It is key to articulate the size of the opportunity in global terms and being clear and honest in your valuation”.
What ‘broken’ or ‘problematic’ aspect of the market are you trying to solve? Include 2-4 slides in your deck for this aspect and explain the scope of the market opportunity in solving this problem/s as well.
Making the transition from your customer, to yourself, explain your solution at a high level. How is your solution (i.e. product) different? Ensure that this essential part of your pitch has no holes or weak links if questioned. Be prepared to be drilled.
How will you market your product?
Depending on what stage of development you are in, explain how your product will be introduced to the market, channels and your strategy to grow your market share.
Let’s be honest, if your business model is not at the latter stages of development, this won’t really matter. But a set of considerate projections on both the revenue and cost sides increases your credibility with would-be investors.
Who’s on board?
Investors want to know who your team is. A major part of their investment will be on them, their capacity, their proven hard work ethic and commitment. Explain what your team’s strengths are and why they are committed towards making your business a success.
Being mindful of the above coupled with a positive tone and a creative slide deck can make the difference! Cleantech, Agritech, Healthtech, Edtech, Fintech; there’s a multitude of industries out there at the moment that desperately NEED good ideas!
Opportunities exist for multi-billion dollar businesses to be built we have the talent to create them right here in Australia!