I apologize for the corny title, but it just keeps ringing through my head. I have seen a thousand startup pitches. Anyone trying to raise money for their venture had better put some serious work into perfecting their pitch. Of course the company has to also be awesome, but if that doesn't come across clearly in your pitch, how is anyone going to know? Just being secretly awesome is not enough to get funded.
In the brave new world of equity crowdfunding, the power of the pitch has grown even mightier. In a crowdfunding campaign potential investors are everyday people (who are also awesome), but don’t have access to the same network of industry insiders and vast experience in early stage investing as Silicon Valley VCs do. They also can’t order expensive due diligence for each investment they are considering. The pitch becomes even more crucial.
So get it right.
Their pitch is a slam dunk.
Take a look:
Now let’s breakdown why: The Sportsy pitch effectively conveys all the information a potential investor needs to decide if your company is a good fit for their investment portfolio.
The team is crucial. An idea alone doesn’t make a billion dollar business. The team is who leads and builds a successful company. Sportsy starts their pitch with team, by introducing key members and their very relevant background with successful organizations in their market. They clearly convey that the leadership team has a “firm grasp on all sides of business development and marketing”. Let investors know who is leading the company and why they will be able to execute.
Innovative products that nobody wants to buy are not good investments. Show that your product has great market potential and how you are going to grab market share. Be inspiring, but realistic. Sportsy does a very nice job using proven, familiar examples of other online instruction platforms that have turned impressive profits. They use real world numbers such as the annual revenue of other online instruction platforms like; Treehouse ($15M), Craftsy ($40M) and Lynda ($140M). Then they show an instructional soccer video that got over 1 M views on YouTube.
The segue from the clumsy soccer drill video with over a million views on YouTube to a demo of a Sportsy video makes a powerful point. There is already huge, proven demand for sports instruction video and Sportsy can do it so much better than existing solutions. A demo is worth a thousand PPT slides, so show your product and make it look good. Even if you are still in early stages of R&D, put a serious effort into developing mock ups or demo video that will show how your product will be used. The more you show, the more confidence you instill. You can hear it in the response of the live audience. Make sure your demo invokes the coveted ‘wow’ response. If it doesn’t, keep working…
Be open to feedback
You may be surprised at how positive some feedback is. Gideon Mantel, co-founder of Treato and Cyren (Commtouch) reviewed the Sportsy pitch on Zirra.com. Mantel has successfully built several tech companies and is chairman of sports player development platform Varsaty.com. He noted that sports have not yet taken full advantage of the Internet revolution and cloud-based tools still remain largely underdeveloped. This is particularly surprising considering so much of this market are young, tech savvy athletes. “This may be due to lack of budgets available to non-professional sports teams. The ventures that will provide cloud-based tools with attractive business models will see great global opportunity.”
You know you are awesome, so who’s scared of some discussion? It may make you nervous, but it is important to hear all kinds of feedback. It’s also important to potential investors. If you are willing to take someone’s money, you should also be willing to listen to what he or she has to say. Pointing out weakness or pitfalls isn’t meant to take the wind out of your sails. In fact, good constructive criticism is golden. Listen, learn, tweak and show your investors you value them, not just their money. Investors also want to hear what other investors think. By fleshing things out in a public forum, you give them the confidence that they fully understand the investment.
(Team + Product + Market)*Feedback = Perfect Crowdfunding Pitch
Go forth and pitch your start up.