Pitching Your Idea To a Venture Capital Group
Lucrecia Rivera, May 2014.
Microsoft hosted Sustainable Silicon Valley’s “Refine Your Pitch” Workshop on April 30th in Sunnyvale, CA. In this three hour seminar, contributors to SSV’s annual WEST Summit
, Competition learned how to sharpen their sales pitch and appeal to venture capital investors and customers. The main workshop leader was Andrew Clark, current SSV board member and Director of Strategy for IBM Venture Capital Group.
He recommended these Top Tips on Refining Your Pitch:
Less is more.
Reduce your pitch to its minimum necessary elements, but keep it clear enough to create an impression. A minute should be all you need to convey your message; if you generate enough interest, you may get more time!
“Sell” the problem.
People tend to explain a solution without identifying the problem. Your solution needs to “represent a dramatic improvement over the current [solutions], not just a nice incremental improvement”.
Avoid reinventing the wheel.
Nowadays, everyone is trying to build their own Facebook. If you plan on creating a more effective Social Network, you must demonstrate a significant improvement over the existing product.
Numbers tell a story.
Avoid excessive adjectives and focus on the numbers that capture the essence of your innovation. So maybe you can solve climate change, but what will that mean for your investors? Or your customers? (“Our solution will reduce 50% of actual Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and project a profit of $500 million in the first year”).
Andrew “Drew” Clark reminded the attendees the 2013 Showcase of Solutions, a very successful event, a gathering of change agents to deepen our understanding, engage our thinking, bring together a diversity of elements and people to create a resilient civilization.
Watch our top 10 WEST 2013 Finalists pitch their solutions in this video.
The event served to inspire participants to incorporate these and other suggestions into their pitches. One of them remarked: “I received good feedback from the coaches; I’m taking their wisdom and advice to Refine My Pitch”.
With the expertise from Drew Clark, a chance to interact with excellent coaches, and the engaging atmosphere of the Microsoft Campus, it was truly an evening to remember.
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