How to Find Investors and Pitch Events
Blog Post (with free bonus download)
How to find investors is a huge unknown for many new inventors and entrepreneurs. Fortunately, there are a ton of online places where investors are hiding, including sites like Angel Investment Network.
However, you may be looking for a more personal, face to face opportunity. This is where pitching events are the perfect place to find an investor audience.
Finding a pitching event where investors are waiting for entrepreneurs to pitch to them can feel like finding a shadow in a dark room. Don’t worry, it is NOT that hard!
If you watch shows like Shark Tank and fantasize about being on that stage, pitching your idea, and raising millions in an hour, read on!!!
Where They Are
How to find investors at pitch events? Simply attend! Pitching events exist in every major city across the country. If you do a Google search on “entrepreneur” + “pitch” + (your zip code), you will likely pull up any local events on the horizon. If you need an angel investor versus a venture capitalist, add that keyword to your search. These events are often hosted by local business support groups, like a city urban league or a branch of the chamber of commerce. Sometimes they can be a bit low-budget, so don’t have any expectations beyond metal folding chairs and a frill-less environment. You are going for the access to investors, not for 15 minutes of a glamorous moment!
How They Work
These events are typically set up so that you stand in front of a room, have a projector screen, and can show a PowerPoint slideshow while you pitch your business idea to 1-4 investors. They will sit there and listen to your spiel. Then, they will have a chance to ask you questions (on the spot!) that you will need to be prepared to answer. These events often allow public admission, so you may also have 50-200 people in the room as well. This audience will be watching the whole thing. And, they probably paid for a ticket to the event, so they are literally coming to watch you as a spectacle. No pressure!
How to Prepare
When you are added to the agenda for a pitching event, you will need to prepare materials for your presentation. Ask the event host if you will be allowed to hand out materials to the investors directly. You will be in a great position if you have a 1-2 page business plan handy. You will want enough copies to give to each investor so they can mull over your idea. Make sure that the materials have your name and email address so the investors can send you a note whenever they get a chance to look at your material.
When building your PowerPoint pitch, make sure you use pictures over words as much as possible. A great rule to follow is to aim for less than 15 words per slide. That can be very difficult, but it will make it easier for your audience to follow your verbal pitch instead of their reading over your shoulder the whole time. Your PowerPoint is an aid, not a script, so never read directly from the presentation!
Finally, if you have stage fright, you may want someone else on the business team to help you pitch. Most events allow 1-3 speakers on stage. So if you need someone who loves the limelight and knows your business well, see if you can coax them into being your voice during parts of the pitch. Having a co-speaker will help share attention so you are not burdened with being a perfect presenter. It will also help the investors to see the best of you without being riddled with nerves while onstage.