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Veteran Entrepreneurs - Do's and don'ts when pitching to angel investors

Posted by Michael Horn on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

Here is a short article by Leslie Collins, Web Producer at the Kansas City Business Journal. We discuss your pitch in Module 5 and 6. Collins offers seven key points that veterans need to heed. Your presentation or pitch is a key component of your business planning process as we discuss in class. Your military training should help you prepare and present.  Please take this advice and prepare accordingly.

Collins writes - If you're warming up to pitch to an angel investor, here are some key tips to keep in mind from a session at the 2015 Techweek Kansas City.

The do's

1. Do your homework

Before you approach an investor, do your homework. Find out which sectors and stages of companies they invest in and how much they typically invest, said Tom DeBacco, general partner of Flyover Capital. Otherwise, you could waste a lifetime talking to the wrong people, he said.

2. Know the path to commercialization

"We see a lot of ideas that are interesting ideas, and we like to draw the distinction between what I call vitamins and pain pills," DeBacco said. "Vitamins are these nice to have things taken to make you feel better, but there's nothing definitive about it. We like to invest in things where you're identifying someone's pain. It's a real and acute pain, and you've got a pain pill to send. It's a lot easier to go to market with something like that."

3. Be articulate

Instead of getting caught in the weeds, sharing unnecessary details, be articulate. Let investors know what you're trying to do, how you're going to do it, how you're going to reach the market and how you're going to make money, said Kelly Pruneau, network manager for the Women's Capital Connection.

The don'ts

1. Using the word 'conservative'

When an entrepreneur is sharing numbers, investors don't want to hear the word "conservative," Pruneau said. Investors will cut those numbers further. Investors want to see an entrepreneur who's excited, who thinks the sky's the limit. So use aggressive but realistic numbers, she said.

2. We don't have competitors

One of the don'ts Rick Vaughn hears often is, "We don't have any competition." But you've always got competition, even if it's the status quo, said Vaughn, managing director of Mid-America Angel Investors.

3. We're never going to need money again

Another pet peeve for Vaughn is when entrepreneurs share financial projections, saying they only need this first investment and will never ask for capital again. That's not realistic, he said.

4. Deferring to your CPA

Entrepreneurs need to know the numbers, said Jill Meyer of the UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center.

"A big turnoff in a presentation," she said, "is not being able to speak to the dollars you need, why you need them, what you're going to do with them and understanding how those projections were derived."

Deferring to your CFO or accountant to explain financials is the kiss of death, she said — the check is being cut to you, not the CPA.

Topics: Veteran, Entrepreneurs, Resources, VC, investors, angel-investor