Wednesday, April 25, 2007

FundingUniverse Speedpitching Video

If you haven't been to a FundingUniverse Speedpitching luncheon, Joe Grover and the crew at Digital Mind Studios put together a killer video clip that is as much an advertisement for Digital Mind as it is a great depiction of the event. Great work, Joe!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Feeling the Crunch

I've spent the past two months watching the FundingUniverse AngelReady programs ramp up extremely quickly. While the process has been nothing short of exhilarating, I find myself faced with a growing challenge -- a pressing, urgent, gut-wrenching responsibility to serve the explosively increasing number of entrepreneurs who are paying us to help them raise money.

It keeps me up at night. I have dreams that resemble a commercial from a few years back that featured a few people standing around a computer looking at an on-screen map as they launched a new product. At first, they celebrated as the first few orders popped up on the map. Then, as the number of orders on the map started popping up at an exponentially increasing rate, their celebration turned into panic as they rushed off to fill the orders. (If you can find the video, let me know so I can post it here.)

Fortunately, I believe we have the bandwidth to support the growth, so we're far from panic mode. However, I don't see an end in sight for this busy season at FundingUniverse. It's going to be a wild ride.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pitching Angels: Sell Your Company, Not Your Product

The next time you're pitching an investor -- whether it's in their office, at an event, on the phone -- repeat the following phrase 7 times before you walk in the door:

"I am selling my company, not my product."

Pitching an investor is not the same as pitching a customer. When you pitch a prospective buyer, you want them to buy your product or service. When you pitch investors, you want them to invest in your company.

As with a good sales pitch, you want to cover the strongest points of the product that you are selling. While pitching your company, the points that are most interesting to the vast majority of investors are the traction you've made (sales, patents, past rounds of capital, sales and sales), your management team, market size/need and your business model. If you can convince them that these four elements of your business are rock-solid, it doesn't matter what your product is. You're likely to find success raising money.

The tendency of most entrepreneurs is to spend the majority of their pitch telling the investor everything about his/her product -- how it works, how they thought of it, why it's better than the competition. Of course it's important to describe your product or service to investors, but it's should take up no more than 2/5 of your presentation.

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