Why Participate in a Pitching Event?

The immediate response is obvious: to facilitate the fundraising process.  But what other benefits can you expect to gain from participating in a pitching event?  How about these for starters:

  • Your 3-5 Minute Story

    Before your first formal pitching event you probably had only two modes of responding to interested parties: the 30 sec elevator pitch (see related article titled “Your Elevator Pitch Only Needs to Accomplish One Thing“) and the 30-45 minute interrogation by an interested investor (mostly Q&A format).  Preparing for a pitching event forces you to tell the most important elements of your story in 3-5 minutes.  And you get to do it without interruption, which also means you are forced to connect your points in logical fashion.

  • A Collection of Concise Responses

    You will rehearse your pitch so many times that it will forever be committed to memory.  That’s great because during future meetings with interested investors, when they ask you how big your market is your mental reaction will be “that’s slide 3” and when they ask how you plan to make money your mental reaction will be “that’s slide 7”.  The ideal responses are already on the tip of your tongue.

  • An Updated Briefing Deck

    Who has time to work on their briefing deck when there’s real work to be done?  The truth is that having a fresh and perfect briefing deck is always valuable, no matter how big your company gets.  Preparing for a pitching event forces you to whip it into shape.  And since it’s only a deck for a 3-5 minute pitch, you can always add another dozen slides to it for a more comprehensive version of your presentation but with the pitch deck slides serving as the key foundation.  For helpful hints on the typical flow of topics for your pitch deck, see my related article titled “Pitch Deck Flow (Topic Order)“.

  • Immediate Feedback

    During the mixer immediately after the pitches are complete, you’ll either have nobody approach you, a couple/few or you’ll get mobbed.  Very telling.  If you don’t get approached, you must find out why.  Proactively introduce yourself to some investors during the mixer and ask them what they thought of your pitch.  Then get specific.  Is it clear what we do and what problem we solve?  Is our opportunity compelling?  What concerns would you have about funding our startup?

  • Stage Practice

    If you don’t already have a lot of experience presenting to an audience, it’s time to get it.  The more the better.

  • The Start of a Business Plan

    The pitch deck you put together has the core elements that the 30-50 page written business plans of yesteryear had.  You don’t need to waste your time creating such a huge document but you do need to think through the important elements of your business and strategy.  Expanding on your pitch deck to make it more comprehensive gives you something that can be used as your business plan.  For more guidance on this, see my related article titled ‘Don’t Waste Time on Your Business Plan’ Doesn’t Mean Don’t Plan.

If you actually decide to participate in a pitching event, read my related article titled “Preparing for a Pitching Event” and if you need help with your elevator pitch, see my article titled “Your Elevator Pitch Only Needs to Accomplish One Thing“.

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Wait, there’s much more!!!

The information in this article is just a very small piece of what I cover in my Founders Academy Video Library, which includes more than 35 topic-specific modules and 6 themed compilations.

I’m talking about more than 13 hours of educational and advisory content to help you grow a great company.  Click Here to Learn More

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Author: Gordon Daugherty

Over the past 15 years Gordon has seen nearly 1,000 startup pitches, advised more than 200 entrepreneurs and been involved with raising over $45M in growth and venture capital. Throughout his 28 year career in high tech, serving twice as President and three times as CMO, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200M acquisition exit under his belt. Now his emphasis is purely focused on helping startups and early stage tech companies. Through his Shockwave Innovations advisory practice and as Managing Director for Austin’s Capital Factory startup accelerator, Gordon is an active angel investor, VC and startup advisor.

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