We took a trip to the Art Gallery in Kelowna, BC last week to watch this year’s Jump Start Challenge. This is a pitch competition organized by Accelerate Okanagan to support technology companies and entrepreneurs who are seeking investment to finance business growth. It provides participants with hands-on training on how to become "investor ready" and best present ideas to the investment community.
Now, we all know that having a great investment pitch is critical for anyone trying to raise capital and this competition allows time to practice, refine and perfect the pitch based on feedback from a panel of business mentors, coaches and seasoned investors. So, when the moment comes for you to pitch your idea or business to an investor, you will be ready.
We sat through 17 pitches for the widest variety of tech related businesses you can imagine one of which was our dear friend and client Alan Schuler of DevOne Sports. Alan started working with us in late spring of 2013 to develop his online sports training and education program. Delivered via a virtual media platform, DevOne, gives grass-roots participants access to professional education, training and guidance in their particular sport. Unlimited access to the program’s content is available to members on demand and can be standardized, organized and curated according to their membership profile. Originating in hockey-mad Canada, the beta DevOne platform is serving minor hockey associations who in turn license access on behalf of their members. This gives great value to the young players and their families while, at the same time, easing the significant operational challenges all such sport bodies feel in their efforts to educate via the network of incredibly hard-working volunteers.
So, how did Alan’s presentation go down? Well, it goes without saying, we loved it — but so did the panel of judges. Alan will now spend time over the next eight weeks in various workshops, coaching sessions, training and mentorship days as he really refines his pitch and readies himself to go out to the market and pitch the DevOne story to the investor community.
I caught up with Alan after the results were announced and asked him how he’d found the whole experience. “I’ve never done anything like that before in my life so I really was hoping not to make a dog’s breakfast of it”, replied Alan. “And, for a man who speaks as slowly as I do, I can’t believe I fitted all that into just three minutes!”.
As I said earlier, we loved the pitch but it’ll be great to talk with him again after the couple of months of training etc to see how the pitch has matured.
For anyone who is thinking about an investor pitch, our best advice is to go and seek some professional advice and get some tips from those in the know. Then when you go to make a pitch make sure that you have a "working" prototype of your product available with which you can explain, illustrate and demonstrate your idea.
We love working with start-up businesses and if you would like to have a chat with us about your needs and pain points or get a working prototype made we would be delighted to hear from you.