May 7, 2019, by the Foundry Media Squad
Six different teams competed yesterday in the AG-Celerator Demo Day by giving their pitches in hopes of being awarded up to $100K. Here is how each team answered when posed the question: “What is the best and worst part of pitching to investors?”
VinSense Madeleine Houghton
- Best Part: It is fun to bring your new idea to other people and be able to talk about it.
- Worst part: Not knowing the direction the contest is going to go. I’ve done several pitches but they are all different. Sometimes you think you can anticipate which questions will be asked but sometimes there are mini curve balls and it throws you off. For any contest, the goal is to answer succinctly.
David S. Ebert, PhD
- Best Part: Can you describe what trying to do really and get other people to be excited about it too. Seeing the head nodding during the presentation is required to know you have done it well.
- Worst Part: Hoping you hone in on and focus your ideas and message well to ensure the judges understand.
Sweetwater Urban Farms Clint Crowe
- Best Part: Being done with it. (Pitching) Feels like a finishing a final in college. I’ve been in business for a while so giving presentations doesn’t bother me. I can present to E-Suite audiences and high-level individuals, no problem, but pitching takes me back to the prep work required of college finals. You work and work and finally are just ready to get to the contest. You just want to be done and get back to running the businesses.
- Worst Part: It’s hard to prepare. Particularly, the questions are the hardest part to prepare for – inevitably it is the judges’ job is to find the gaps and holes in your idea so they feel good about their investment in your company or idea.
Teichos Blake Neubauer
- Best Part: Thinking about the problem in ways you didn’t think about it from before. Looking at it from the perspective of those (investors) who will help you move your dream forward and presenting in a way that appeals to them. (Pitching) Gives perspective and critical customer discovery about your technology which is crucial. Learning to avoid language that makes things too complex. It’s about gaining respect for your fellow entrepreneurs as you listen to their stories. They are competitors at the pitch competition but it motivates you and keeps your hope fresh because of the others around you
- Worst Part: Preparing is labor intensive. You have to be able to accept criticism. If you have been successful in your career in the past, pitching a new idea is like you are “going back to school” to ensure people understand your technology. It is NOT about dumbing it down your technology! It is about respecting the audience and shaping the story to convey the vision on their terms and what is consumable to them. It is a real test of knowing your technology on many different levels.
Palm Energy Dave Mashayamombe
- Best Part: It’s a great way to express the business through the passions that drives you; to tell what the markets want, and what you believe the idea can be in the world. Pitching is really asking for others to join into the vision of what you have been putting your efforts, time and work into.
- Worst Part: Trying to express yourself and your passion in a compressed way to fit into the time limit. We have been working for 18 months on the idea and then have to compress to 10 minutes is a big challenge.
TEIN Hsun Chao
- Best Part: Pitching helps you to think through your process. How to show your idea to people that are not in your industry or do not have your technical background. It takes a lot of practice to talk about your idea to others with no idea about the technology. The second part that is great is that it makes you think about how to explain the business model. It makes you think critically about each element of the company. As a team, which TEIN is, you consider not just your part of the work but each team member’s part. Diversity of our group makes it great because we challenge ourselves to explain the viewpoints of our technology within the team. We work to use each other’s strengths to best explain our story and vision.
- Worst Part: Time management is the worst part. The time and stress devoted to creating the pitch is hard because want to keep working on the business. For our team, it is hard to continue to work on school, learning the local culture, and finding a job all while taking more time to create the pitch deck. It feels like another task and it is stressful to hit the deadline. However, the process to prepare makes us communicate our different views and motivates us to work to our strengths to make the deadline.
Rogo Drew Schumacher
- Best Part: Sharing your story on creating value for customers and investors. Sharing your plans and what you’ve learned about the market place.
- Worst Part: Condensing what people know and understand without giving too much detail about the technology. Boiling down to the essentials of the business and technology is the hard part.
The competition winner(s) will be named yet this week. Look for upcoming announcements.