Three Things I Learned From Pitching to Investors
This week I did my first official investment pitch in Amsterdam at The NextWomen Pitch Event, along with 9 other slightly nervous women.
Organised brilliantly by Simone Brummelhuis, we got the chance to practise our pitches in the afternoon, followed by the real thing in the evening to a room full of people with 6 potential investors.
I have been told that successful actors often worry that they will be "found out" that they are not really any good after all. As I arrived 5 minutes late and walked into a very hot and crowded room of 10 women entrepreneurs and mentors, it crossed my mind is my business really worthy of this event, and what the hell had I signed myself up for!
Thrown into the deep end of pitching first and only 3 minutes allowed per pitch, I was amazed at how fast I could talk and how slow 3 minutes felt!!
Thankfully, it was not Dragons Den and the feedback I got was both constructive and positive, and as I watched the other 9 women pitch I realised that raising money is a process, a journey, some of whom were much further along than others, but EVERYONE has to walk a similar path if they are to succeed in raising money for a business that you are brave enough to go out there and grow.
Even though I don’t launch until next month, the lessons I learned will stand me in great stead over this next year. You can read all the books, listen to all the videos, but there is nothing like putting yourself on the line and doing it.
So what did I learn?
Nugget 1: Don’t be shy about your previous success; people want to know who you are and whether they can count on you to go the distance
Nugget2: The 3 Ps: Your product, Presentation and Personality definitely count, BUT the route to market, differentiation and market size are essential
Nugget 3: In a nutshell, a business angel invests much smaller amounts and tends to come in earlier on in a business, whereas a VC would typically invest in an established business and require a lot more legals which can take anything from 6 months upwards but would invest much greater amounts.
Even though we tend to start our entrepreneurial alone or with a partner, there is an abundance of help out there if you just look for it, and what's more, often than not its FREE!
You need to be brave enough to go out of your comfort zone, seize every opportunity to learn from others' experience and listen very carefully, because sometimes the real nuggets of success just whisper.
Above all though, you will be told a lot of things, and you need to decide for yourself if its right, because every single journey is unique.
Thank you to Joëlle Frijters, Martijn Hamann, Alexandra Jankovich, Mark Voermans,Maarten Oldenhof, Desiree van Boxtel, and of course Simone Brummelhuis
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