Investors usually see several hundred pitches a year, so it is important for entrepreneurs to be able to summarise their growth target briefly and in a manner tempting to investors. Whether open or closed (intended for the investors only), a pitch event is usually an entrepreneur’s first contact with investors. A pitch may not ensure an investment, but it can buy time from investors to continue discussions. Under no circumstances should you attend a pitch without preparing – you can give a first impression only once. The basic story should run something like this:
- The market has a problem
- We have the solution
- There is a large market for this solution
- and we can build a profitable business with the right model
- There are competitors, but we are better and stand out
- We are contending with a good team that
- has brought us thus far
- We want more, however, and that is why we are looking for private, networks and sweat equity in these areas… And contacts with companies…
A PowerPoint framework for a pitch is available at etula.fi/documents
Presentations at pitch events are generally in the language of the country concerned, but materials are in English. Entrepreneurs should, however, be prepared to present their pitch in English, as international investors may be present. The language to be used is announced at the beginning of the event.
Pitches can vary in length. Pitches can vary in length. They are often presented, for example, in a 3+6 format, which means a three minute pitch followed by 6 minutes for questions. Pitch presentations generally last for 90 seconds, 3, 4, 5 or 7 minutes. Presentation materials are not used in 90-second pitches nor are questions asked. In longer presentations materials can be used as support. When the time allocated for the pitch ends, the presentation must also be brought to a close, regardless of how much you still have to say. Materials should ALWAYS be submitted to the organiser in advance.
After the public pitching, entrepreneurs typically go to their stand, where they have time to continue discussions with potential investors. Entrepreneurs can bring a prototype, brochures, a laptop and business cards to the stand. It is a good idea to charge batteries in advance, as there may be a shortage of sockets. The number of participants at a pitch event is frequently restricted, so that only one or two persons from a company may participate.