On Saturday, July 12th, we hosted our six finalists at a workshop that focused on how to design and deliver a successful entrepreneurial pitch. To kick things off, we invited Mason Arnold - local social entrepreneur, founder of Greenling, co-founder of Slow Money Austin—and a veteran when it comes to pitching. Over the course of Greenling’s history, Mason has pitched to over 300 individuals and raised over $5 million in his last round, so he joined our entrepreneurs to share his experiences with the pitching process as well as how he learned to continuously adapt and improve his own pitch. Next, our own Mark Hand, who has listened to over 800 pitches as an investor, took the floor to share his learnings about what works and what doesn’t when pitching to investors.
What did our entrepreneurs learn? Here are a few of our top takeaways from the day:
- It’s a numbers game. Mason himself has pitched to between 300-400 individuals – including one investor he pitched to multiple times over the course of years before he finally invested.
- Pay attention to the questions you get asked. If you’re pitching hundreds of people, you’ll start to see trends in investors’ questions. Build the answers to those questions directly into your pitch and address them up front. Your aim is to deliver a pitch that a) addresses your investors’ questions and b) convinces them that you will deliver on what you said you would, whether that means getting them their money back or creating the impact they are funding.
- Make liberal use of narrative arcs. What do we mean? Tell a story that showcases: the problem > your solution > problem solved. Your startup’s history > where you are now > where you want to be. A investor invests money > what you do with their money > what they get for their money. And yes, do tell a story.
Now with a day of prep and practice under their belts, on Saturday, August 2nd, the UnLtd USA Finalists will be pitching to a Final Selection Panel to receive seed funding and a full year of coaching, mentorship and training.