INTRODUCING 'THE INVESTOR PITCH'
International Business Festival ticketholders can earn the chance to take to our main stage to pitch for equity investment of £250,000 to £10m.
An exciting new Festival strand - The Investor Pitch - will see entrepreneurs from between six and eight innovative companies showcase their offer to an audience of investors from UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA).
Applicants will be judged against rigorous criteria, with only the highest-calibre invited onto the Futures Stage. And when they do, the ability to deliver key messages succinctly will be crucial.
As any viewer of TV's Dragon's Den knows, no matter how good a product or service, you must be able to sell your ideas.
The BBC show has been beaming botched product presentations, fumbled figures and outrageous overvaluations into Britain’s living rooms for years. But away from the glare of the studio lights, entrepreneurs successfully win over business angels to the tune of about £1.5bn every year.
Securing investment in exchange for equity in this way can be a fantastic route to growing your business. UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) says individuals typically invest between £10,000 and £50,000 and will often pool funds via syndicates or groups to increase the total investment tenfold.
Whichever way you hope to secure finance, you have to win over your audience. And while they might not fit the aggressive caricature you see on TV, angel investors will expect firm evidence of sales potential, a sound strategy and a passionate, high-quality leadership team.
Jenny Tooth OBE, chief executive of UK Business Angels Association, says good preparation is key to a successful pitch.
"It's vital to do your groundwork," she says. "You don't want someone to lose interest because you haven't prepared relevant materials.
"Typically, the first thing an investor will want to see is a summary, or ‘deck’ of slides, containing enough information to encourage them to ask for more. You should also practice your ‘elevator pitch’, describing your offer in a minute or two.
"Memorise your figures and base projections on sound, realistic assumptions. You must articulate how investors could profit from backing your company."
Pitches should last about eight minutes, she says, and entrepreneurs should practise until they are word-perfect.
"Investors will want to see your passion for your business, that there is a rapport and balance of strengths within your team. And don't forget to dress professionally," she adds.
Jenny offers more advice in our downloadable mini-guide to angel investment. Enter your details for a free, easy-to-digest download.