The 11th Annual Founder Showcase hosted by the Founder Institute – an early-stage worldwide startup accelerator - occurred at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus in July. The showcase is a quarterly startup pitch and networking event in Silicon Valley focused on launching promising startups. Here is the second of two posts highlighting key takeaways from the event. You can read the first post here.
It’s not easy to get the attention of venture capitalists – they have tons of eager entrepreneurs coming to them for funding and advice. What will make then notice your startup? What elements do you need to present in your pitch to get the results you want? Here are tips from the VCs themselves:
1. Highlight the product’s value! “Have your pitch focus on the market need and the focus of your company.” - George Zachary, Charles River Ventures What makes your product unique and what do you see for the future? Share your benchmarks and your go-to-market strategies: “With VCs, the cost of our capital is very high, we can’t have just a lifestyle or niche business, it has to be a large business, so understanding the huge opportunity that the entrepreneur sees and the vision for the company is very important.” - Chris Gottschalk, Blumberg Capital
2. A demo is key. Show how people are using the product. Make it tangible. “Show me, don’t tell me” – Rob Coneybeer, Shasta Ventures
3. “Focus on the biggest challenges you face.” – Jed Katz, Javelin Venture Partners. Identify what is needed and ask for help. “The ones who succeed aren’t afraid to ask for stuff. They identify what they need and they go and try and get it in as many ways as they can think of.” – Noah Doyle, Javelin Venture Partners.
4. Have energy and be passionate! “Be a great people person and be able to sell your vision…. I want to invest in people and relationships, I don’t want to invest in a PowerPoint deck – find a way to introduce yourself and build a relationship and discuss the opportunities.” - Chris Gottschalk, Blumberg Capital
And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail!
“A lot of people don’t want to commit completely – embrace failure, understand that it’s a learning point and you’re going to go through some trials and tribulations in your startup. Once you’re not scared of failure you can grow to be a big company.” - Chris Gottschalk, Blumberg Capital
Want to see a good pitch? Check out this pitch from the winning startup at the showcase.