The CoinGeek London conference is only a week away. If you don’t have your tickets yet, stop reading this and buy them now. I’ll wait. As part of the event is Pitch Day, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their Bitcoin SV businesses and ideas to a room full of investors.
I was privileged to be in the room during the inaugural Bitcoin Association BSV Venture Pitch Day, which took place in the lead up to CoinGeek Korea conference. One thing stood out, it was the difference in presentations between those who have experienced standing in front of a room and those who haven’t.
A little pizzazz helps
Honestly, it won’t matter if you have a goldmine of an idea that offers the most profitable opportunity to the investors, those plans usually speak for themselves. But what if your pitch needs a little extra pizzazz to get your points across? Are you prepared? Can you represent your work, work that perhaps has taken years-long effort in just 15 minutes?
Don’t panic! Just like learning a new language, playing an instrument or building birdhouses, the path is there, and people who have walked before offer the best resources with tips, tricks and advice.
If you’ve been to a CoinGeek Conference or watched his Bitcoin SV videos, you’ll have seen Jimmy Nguyen, the Founding President of the Bitcoin and a consummate showman on stage.
Whether it’s opening a conference with a touching story about growing up a gay son of immigrant parents, or if he’s making an impassioned speech on the importance of a stable protocol, you feel his words, you hear his message somewhere deep in your chest.
As you prepare to pitch your businesses in front of a dragon’s den of investors, I couldn’t think of a better person to shine some light on the path in front of you.
Here are 5 tips to help you pitch your Bitcoin ventures
Jimmy Nguyen provides his best five tips for pitching to investors:
Keep it short.
Sophisticated investors hear many venture pitches, and know quickly when a venture pitch may be appealing. Don’t waste time with unnecessary background information. Make sure to identify upfront the unique selling point of your venture, or you can lose the investor’s interest very quickly.
There are specific questions every investor needs to be answered. What problem does your product solve? Why is your solution unique? Who is your target user or customer base, and how will you acquire them?
Answer those in your presentation and do so precisely. And if investors ask you a pointed question about any issue, definitely do your best to answer with specifics. You will turn off investors if you give a vague or grandiose response or appear evasive.
Explain your revenue model—with realistic expectations.
You may have a great technology solution, but it needs to make money. Don’t get to the end of a pitch presentation without spending sufficient time talking about your proposed revenue plan.
Demonstrate that you researched possible revenue models in the field and what is likely to work best for your business. And it’s ok if you are not certain about revenue estimates, but have a logical calculation method for them; please do not present “pie in sky” projections that your start-up venture will make massive amounts of money in a short timeframe without any rationale for the numbers. Investors know that no start-up can accurately predict their revenue in the early years; they want to see you have a realistic approach.
No technology product or venture idea—especially in the early phases—is perfect. Investors will undoubtedly ask about weaknesses in your product, business plan, team or pitch presentation.
Do not be afraid to acknowledge areas that need to be strengthened or require further development. It is not realistic for you to act as if you have a magic business with every problem solved and a perfect path to success. Investors will respect you more if you are honest about areas of improvement and willing to take advice on how to strengthen your venture. The ability to acknowledge areas of weakness can actually be a sign of confidence.
The feel-good factor.
The emotional impact can be just as significant as the technology and logic of your business. Make investors feel something good about you and your venture.
Tell a good story because stories, especially if they are personal, allow investors to know you better. Display enthusiasm, determination, and heart as you speak—because you’ll need those qualities to succeed as an entrepreneur. But please do not adopt a fake presentation style; not every speaker is the same, and your speaking style should reflect your genuine personality. Investors are backing the person, as much as the venture idea, so let them know and feel something good about the real you.
Check out these extra tips to help you prepare your pitch
Excellent advice from Nguyen but as this is my column, I want to share a couple of my own.
One of the most helpful books I’ve read in the past few years on the topic comes from Carmine Gallo called Talk Like Ted. Gallo shares nine tips that are shared with and used by those chosen to speak at the prestigious TED conferences. It’s only $10 on Amazon Kindle or $20 through Audible. The book is only 288 pages and depending on your reading style, you can get through it in a couple of sittings.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Did I say Practice?
It’s fair to say you know your product and your business better than anyone. Still, when the lights come on, and the investors are staring at you, it’s incredible how quickly your mind can go blank.
Use a stopwatch, stand in front of a mirror, stand in front of your partner or even your dog and practice your venture pitch and repeat. You want to stay on time, as when we get off track, we start to ramble and fill space with empty words that cut into the all-important Q&A session.
One last tip, if you haven’t stood on stage or have experience presenting to a room of people, remember to breathe. It’s a simple tip, but when all those eyes gaze on us, our fight or flight instincts kick in, and we get hit with a big adrenaline dump. It’s ok, it’s normal. Just breathe in for two breaths and remember these tips. Good luck.
Attend the CoinGeek London conference on February 20-21, 2020, to help you get the next great pitch ready. If you cannot make it, feel free to submit your Bitcoin venture to us.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.