If you’ve been going to the Venture Club of Indiana’s Innovation Showcase for the past few years, you will have noticed that there was a change in the process this year. One of the major changes we saw was the addition of a pre-screening to the selection process. Because of this, companies who made it through were able to pitch for five minutes rather than one.
When it comes down to it, neither one minute nor five will feel like enough time to discuss the business you’ve put so much of your time and resources into. That is why it’s important, when approaching an event such as Innovation Showcase, to really nail your pitch in the short time you have.
The companies and entrepreneurs who were most successful in answering the questions posed by investors were the ones who had a deeper understanding of what was being asked and what investors need to know at this stage. Remember when presenting, that less is more. Potential investors do not need a 100-slide presentation outlining every detail of your business (at least not yet). Help them understand the big picture.
- What problem does your product or business solve?
- How will your company realistically sustain growth?
- What differentiates you from your competitors?
- Is your intellectual property protected?
The ones who did poorly were the companies who stuck to a pre-rehearsed script, tried too hard to hit talking points, or focused too much on their technology. While technology is important, when looking to put money into a company, investors want to be sure that there is a strong business case.
- How is your cap table structured?
- How will you generate income?
- Have you had any sales to date?
- How quickly before you will break even?
- How will you allocate the funds raised?
Pitch competitions, such as Innovation Showcase give startups a unique opportunity to not only get in front of investors, but other supporting members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. With the right preparation and practice, you could walk away with a lot more than prize money.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – david roberts
David Roberts is an attorney at Gutwein Law. He was an honors student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, prior to which he received his Bachelor’s degree in materials science & engineering from Lehigh University. He is currently licensed to practice in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. David also serves as the President of the Battery Innovation Center (BIC).