On October 10th I attended Demo Day of the 2nd cohort of MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars. I don’t believe that this well-run global accelerator program gets the exposure and recognition it deserves locally but today’s post is just about the pitches themselves.
Big pitch events like this one, this week’s Venture Atlanta or CED Venture Connect Summit are designed to get a large number of investable companies on stage to attract outside funding. They are like beauty contests- The entrepreneurs have just a few minutes (usually 5-8) to get the key message across and get investors curious enough to want to follow up with them. As any team that has been through the Techstars program will tell you a lot of attention and practice is paid to crafting a great investor pitch… and it shows. Beginning in week 1 teams craft and iterate on their story, they practice and revise weekly, then towards the end of the program they rehearse constantly and get ready for investor meetings and Demo Day.
I saw ten pitches on Demo Day; Every team crafted an interesting and very compelling story. Every slide deck was graphically appealing, engaging and on-point. Every slide highlighted a key piece of the business. Every presenter rehearsed his/her lines and timing even down to pauses and gestures. Every pitch gave the investors in the crowd a basic sense of the problem being solved, the innovation the company was bringing to market and the traction to-date without giving every detail — Allowing investors to self-qualify each opportunity while also wanting more.
Watching these pitches last night I was extremely jealous. I wanted to capture everyone on camera to use as a “teachable moment” for our triangle entrepreneurs! (I have reached out to Brad and MJ for links- stay tuned for future links or follow them on social!)
In our Connect to Capital program, I work with 3-6 teams every week trying to craft a strategy to raise capital. I regularly see 2-3 pitches a week and sometimes 30-40! Rarely do I see pitches that are so thoroughly thought out, so interesting to hear, so concise and so compelling.
If you expect to raise capital and want to learn what great pitches look and sound like find a tech stars demo night.
This week is Venture Atlanta and several of our triangle companies will be on stage. I hope I see them show up as well as the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars graduates.