Our First (Second) Pitch- 2 mins
Earlier this week Alisa and I had a chance to pitch fetchmob to four VCs affiliated with Babson. The event was a final step in Babson’s MBA Entrepreneurship class, and the VCs who participated did so not for the express purpose of investing in the companies pitched, but more to expose the students to the types of questions they should expect when they pitch in earnest. The feedback was great for us for two reasons: first, they indicated that we demonstrated deep thinking about iterations on the product, user acquisition, the space we operate in (and its history). Second, we received really good feedback about topics we didn’t communicate effectively, or hadn’t thought of: resource and capital needs at each milestone (e.g., what do we needs to get from 3.5k users at 6 months to 20k users at 12 months?), scenarios of how fetchmob’s business model might change in response to actual user activity, and our roadmap for product development.
The last point might seem like an odd inclusion considering it’s listed it as a positive as well. It’s really both, and here’s why: We didn’t spend much time on our product development roadmap during the presentation (around 10 minutes), but we demonstrated during the subsequent Q&A session that we were relatively on-top of it. I say ‘relatively’ because we haven’t committed to one particular iteration beyond the next major release – but we have 2 or 3 things anyone of which could take precedence based on how our users respond to the next release. With me presently being the sole developer, and with the start-up existing at such an early stage, a more robust short-term roadmap seems unwise. We’re still trying to figure out that feature or combination of features and experience that really makes the service tick for our users (for the record, I think we’re really, really close – get ready for the new year).
From observing the VCs’ demeanor during our presentation, and from conversations during an informal event afterward, I got that demonstrating deep, holistic thinking about your company/space/what-have-you is a really important signal from an entrepreneur. This is especially important in the case of first-time entrepreneurs, because there isn’t much information on your potential for success to go on (i.e., a history of success or failure with start-ups). It’s also well-known that anything that reduces the risk VCs perceive they will face by investing in your business is a good thing.
Besides the fact that I completely gaffed the technical demonstration (forgot a password for a user account), the presentation went really well.