Pitch@Palace 6.0 Boot Camp – Elevator Profiles

Alan Watts – Catalyst Inc

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A PITCH@PALACE ELEVATOR?

Have worked with Pitch@Palace from the start.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PITCHING TIPS FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR?

  • Less = more. Go for less words and stuff but more impact.
  • Imagine you are in the audience to watch say 10 pitches. If you could remember 3 things from each company, that would be 30 facts. Most people can’t. So think of the 3 (or less) things you want to do get across and concentrate on these.
  • The 30 second rule. That’s how long you’ve got at the start for people to decide if they’ll listen to you or do their e-mail. So get your proposition across clearly at the very start or don’t pitch

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIP(S) FOR ANY START-UP

  • If you’re not coachable then you will fail and you’ll certainly fail to get funded.
  • Build a real board. Ideally get a respected industry figure as your chair. In very early days having an advisory group can be a good step towards a powerful board.
  • Set your ambition levels correctly. Too little and investors won’t get out of bed, too much and they’ll think you’re crazy.
  • Set your valuation realistically. Crowdfunding has distorted this, but don’t be fooled because your investors won’t be.

Charles Payne – Business Aspirations

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A PITCH@PALACE ELEVATOR?

I enjoy assisting entrepreneurs to achieve their potential using my skills and experience to supplement their abilities.

Being an Elevator helps me to stay up-to-date on how fast the world is changing and what will be the future trend.  Understanding how ventures are creating tomorrow, today.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PITCHING TIPS FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR?

  • Understand who you are pitching to and why.
  • Be concise and uncomplicated.
  • Have passion for what you do.

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIP(S) FOR ANY START-UP

  • Persevere, don’t be put off by those who doubt you.
  • Focus on the objective, even when it becomes difficult.
  • Seek a mentor, they can add great value.  (Beware lightweights)
  • Critically evaluate your own ability.

Chris Bunney – TopBunLimited

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A PITCH@PALACE ELEVATOR?

I am currently involved in coaching and mentoring as part of the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Accelerate Cambridge programme and consider my involvement as a Pitch@Palace Elevator as a natural extension of my role as coach, mentor and business advisor.  I spent over thirty years in the Aerospace industry and decided in 2014 to “give back” my experience and expertise to those starting out in their business careers, firstly at the Judge, then also at the Social Incubator East, and now also at Pitch@Palace – and they are all hugely rewarding roles.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PITCHING TIPS FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR?

  • Clarity, conciseness and careful use of language.
  • Simple messages (especially “The Ask”) which need to be easily understood (i.e. not technical detail).
  • Passion and commitment.

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIP(S) FOR ANY START-UP

  • Team Dynamic (roles, responsibilities, commitments, equity division etc etc) needs to be established as soon as possible and formally reflected in an agreement between the team members.
  • The Chris Bunney “Big Picture: Who, What, Where and How”:

Who are you?, Where have you been?, Where are you going?, What’s the business proposition?, What’s unique about you?, What do you want – “The Ask”?, What happens next?, How are you going to get there?

Karen Brooks – SetSquared

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A PITCH@PALACE ELEVATOR?

I enjoy supporting tech companies and sharing my knowledge and experience to help them reach the next stage

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PITCHING TIPS FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR?

  • Tell a story
  • Avoid the tech and sell a solution to a problem
  • Practise practise practise

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIP(S) FOR ANY START-UP

  • Look for low cost/free support through government programmes and grants
  • Get experienced mentors and advisors on board pro bono to start with – people are willing to help
  • Look around for free money – grants, investment clubs like Surrey 100 that don’t charge fees
  • Be wary of accelerator programmes offering investment and an intensive training programme – they often take over the odds equity
  • Don’t shy away from talking to people about your idea – you need to get feedback from as many potential customers as possible as it will help you to develop your business model to people who will pay for your product
  • Stay focused and stick with your belief

Nigel Adams – The University of Buckingham

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A PITCH@PALACE ELEVATOR?

One of my roles as Programme Director Enterprise at the University of Buckingham is to be a mentor to my students and so I can offer current expertise.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PITCHING TIPS FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR?

  • Prepare well, by practicing, practicing and practicing.
  • Tell a good and real story.
  •  Show passion about your product or service.

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIP(S) FOR ANY START-UP

  • Keep your costs under control.
  • Beware of buyers in companies who can waste your time and money.
  • Ensure you have a team of people who like to do what you dislike.
  • Keep your customers’ needs and how to satisfy them profitably always in your mind.
  • Always look for ways to improve your product or service so that you develop and maintain your competitive advantage.
  • Remember that you will only know what your employees are like after you have decided to employ them.
  • Remember that cash is king!
  • Keep smiling!

Tony Henderson – Microsoft

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A PITCH@PALACE ELEVATOR?

I was kindly asked to help at the Boot Camp at Harwell and as I really enjoy mentoring and entrepreneurship it was an easy decision!

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PITCHING TIPS FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR?

  • Be really crisp and keep your initial pitch short and to the point.
  • Think about the pitch as an ‘elevator pitch’ for a movie and test it all the time with everyone to see how well it resonates. See The Pixar Pitch storytelling technique.
  • If you are not the best person on the team to convey enthusiasm, then get the person who is to do the pitch.

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIP(S) FOR ANY START-UP

  • Startups should be fun, a fun company creates energy along with great stories and memories. Funny how much you can get done when you are having fun!
  • Make sure you have the right team in place. You don’t need every role filled but you need s core group of great people who are willing and able to be in the trenches with you when things get hard.
  • Avoid specialists as if you need to pivot the business you may not need them anymore and they can’t help elsewhere – Jon Moulton gave me this advice.
  • At the first opportunity test your product or service with potential customers, even better explore if they will become an Alpha or Beta customer. A business built with customers has so much more value to everyone than a widget designed in isolation.
  • Build a list of things you need to get done, prioritise it and then focus ruthlessly. If you find you need to pivot to a new market or product space, then redo the list’s priority and then focus again.