In the last few weeks I have coached Russian Startups, Social Entrepreneur Startups and several companies who Enterprise Ireland would describe as High Potential Startups (HPSU).
I have also helped prepare a company to pitch and win at the Thrive Accelerator Sustainability Award, at the 2nd annual Forbes AgTech Summit held in Salinas, California.
Another company hired me to work with their CTO before travelling to Melbourne to pitch at a major International Banking Conference.
If you have an important pitch coming up shortly, be it to win sales or investment, read on …
You’re interested in Pitching, so let’s get started:
In my talks to start-ups my first slide usually has these three numbers on a plain slide, 6-3-1
To explain the slide I tell them the story of one particular incident, but in reality, this could be any judging panel I sit on, or any pitch event I attend.
I attended a pitch event where there were companies pitching to a panel of Venture Capitalists, the panel was a Who’s Who of Venture Capitalists in Ireland. Six companies pitched and the next day I met judge Brian Caulfield from Draper Esprit at 10 a.m. for a coffee and asked him the following question:
Of the six companies who pitched the night before, how many of them did he remember?
He paused, and started to think and then he said three. Remember, it is now less than 12 hours since he heard these pitches and three have been completely forgotten!
I said to him of the 3 that he remembered why did he remember them?
Again, he paused for a moment and then he continued. “The first one is easy, it was the worst pitch I’ve ever heard and I have no understanding what the idea or the product was and what is more I completely lost interest about a minute after the pitch started”.
One down – two to go. I said to him which of the other pitches do you remember?
He answered “the second one of them was a pitch within the medical space. I previously had an interest in a company who was in this area, so for that reason I was engaged.
I didn’t think it was a particularly good idea but I do remember the pitch”.
Then I said what do you remember about the third pitch?
He replied “AAH the final ONE”!
At this stage, I should tell you who the final one was. The presenter’s name was Simon Lunt and the business he was starting at the time was a company called B-Gate in the logistics area.
I would describe his pitch as follows:
He arrived into the room on a cloud of enthusiasm and energy. I have rarely seen someone more excited and more enthused about the ideas he had. He continued to engage us and hold our attention throughout and when finished he left the room in a cloud of dust and excitement and one of the Venture Capitalists turned to another Judge and said “if we could bottle that enthusiasm we would all be millionaires”.
Now in reality it wasn’t the most polished or professional pitch I’ve ever seen in my life and probably could have been better organised, but what it did have (which is what I’m always coaching people to demonstrate) was an abundance of energy, excitement and infectious enthusiasm for his business idea.
More than anything else that’s what I want people to show when they are pitching for sales, funding or investment.
Postscript to this point:
It might be worth noting that Simon Lunt was one of the founders of RiverDeep, so already he had a track record. But this wasn’t revealed until quite late in the pitch Q&A session. I would have mentioned it much earlier, but in reality his energy his enthusiasm and commitment won over the judging panel.
If you have an important Pitch / Presentation coming up, and would like to have as successful an outcome as my most recent client Gary Wickham did when pitching at the Thrive Accelerator, please get in touch.
“I can safely say Andrew is one of the best connections that I have made in my professional career. He is very knowledgeable and makes you feel at ease in his company. MagGrow entered into the Internationally renowned Thrive accelerator in California. We were the only Irish company who reached the last 30 with over 200 entries from 36 countries worldwide. The challenge was to get to the final 12 which required us to pitch our proposition in just 6 minutes. This is where Andrew came into his own. He helped me achieve the above by encapsulating our technology and its many benefits into a fantastic slide deck but most importantly do it as a story. Feedback from a truly acclaimed panel of judges was that the pitch was one of the best. I firmly believe that I would not have gone through without Andrew’s input. He then came up with a very clever analogy for the final. I felt prepared and confident for the final pitch after my time with Andrew and the great news is that we won. We have already opened discussions with leading customers in the USA, all arising from our success so far. We are already thinking about my forthcoming talk at an investor forum in London later this year. Andrew is a trusted and important advisor to MagGrow and me.
Speaking to Andrew may be the best decision you have ever made.”
Gary Wickham, CEO, MagGrow