As many Naturally Boulder members know, pitch slams provide entrepreneurs and startups unprecedented opportunities to get in front of their community and investors in order to raise awareness of your product or service, raise capital and also receive complimentary support from a whole heap of industry experts. They are also inherently “slammed” (pun intended) with competition.
At Simple Startup, where we provide financial services to entrepreneurs and startups, we have been involved with pitch slams for years. We’ve been a longtime Naturally Boulder sponsor and provided complimentary services to winners as well as have prepared our clients for pitch slams and Shark Tank.
We compiled a few of our best tips that will help pitches stand out – and hopefully receive that large check.
- Have a well thought through numbers-based plan: Don’t be foolish, make sure you have enough cash runway that will serve you for at least a number of months past the expected close of your round. Flowers are more expensive on Valentine’s Day, umbrellas are more expensive when it’s raining and therefore investment dollars are more expensive when you really need them.
- Know your audience: Do your research and know who the judges are, what are their backgrounds are hence what are their interests. Best case, get to know the judges beforehand. Worst case, speak to people who know the judges and ask them what makes them tick. Don’t waste time, get straight to the point and demonstrate that you’ve done your due diligence.
- Have skin in the game: If you haven’t quit your day job (this issue is often highlighted on Shark Tank) and don’t know the industry inside and out, then the judges/investors may think you’re not all in.
- Be prepared for the Q&A: Have extensive metrics on hand in order to answer questions from the judges and build your case. Be prepared to answer questions on the size of your addressable market, why you might not have achieved the desired traction to date, how efficient your business is (citing gross margin, operating / EBITDA margin and net margin), a clear understanding of how cash moves in and out of your business and where investor dollars will be allocated to maximize shareholder returns and / or achieve the greatest impact possible.
- Be memorable: Have humor. Conduct research ahead of time to find common threads with those in charge. Winning pitches – and finding capital – is all about relationship building.
Once armed with the above, practice, practice, practice. Role play your pitch with your team. You can never be over-prepared for a serious financial conversation.
If you’re interested in applying to pitch your product at Naturally Boulder’s 17th Annual Pitch Slam & Autumn Awards on October 21, visit pitchslam2021.naturallyboulder.org to learn more. Finalists will receive mentorship from industry leaders with track records of success to help you develop and refine your elevator pitch, including Simple Startup.