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The Art of the Pitch

You’ve got a boffo business idea. They’ve got the cash to invest. How will you convince them to pull the trigger?

There’s a certain mystique and plenty of conflicting advice around how to successfully pitch a business idea to angel investors or venture capitalists. Cutting through the confusion and offering sound guidance is this expert panel assembled by the Queen’s Venture Network of Smith School of Business. The panel is made up of: Elspeth Murray, director of Queen's Centre for Business Venturing and CIBC Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship; Marcus Daniels, founder and CEO of Highline, a Canadian-based pre-seed venture capital firm; and Bob Shoniker of Courage Capital, self-described as “rainmaker and creative, innovative deal maker.”

Video Highlights

7:44     Getting ready for the pitch: do due diligence on your audience; tailor your pitch to the audience; work to make people believe you and what you’re saying; and practice, practice, practice in a friendly environment.

20:00     Information you need to convey: What are you doing, and for whom? Why is now a good time for the business? Why will this work? Why is this the best team to execute? What do you want? What’s in it for me?

36:45     Style points: how will you stand out? Lead with your strengths. Be creative and paint a picture. Share your venture’s unique story. Share your own story.

42:56     “The worst pitches we’ve seen.” Common missteps: Didn’t understand the actual business until the last slide. Spent way too much time on background information and ran out of time to discuss the actual business. Confusion around product versus business. Huge gaps in information, missed conveying critical information. Lack of understanding of key business drivers.