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Episode 15 // Ten Power Points to Perfecting Your Pitch

Championed by our friends at Community Futures Manitoba

According to a study by DocSend and Harvard Business School Professor, Tom Eisenmann, investors spend on average just 3 minutes and 44 seconds first looking at a pitch deck.

This means you have less than 4 minutes to hook your audience.

While you let that sink in—the study also reveals companies require an average of 40 investor meetings, and 12 weeks to close a round.

Perfecting a top-notch pitch is no piece of cake. It takes critical thought, effort, and most importantly, preparation.

With the pitch being paramount in your financing pursuits, we asked NTN Pro, Ross Finlay, Co-Founder and Director of the First Angel Network Association, to tell us everything we need to know about perfecting the pitch.

Part 1 // The Lending Landscape

Founders, if you’re contemplating financing your business, you ought to know what kind of money you want, better yet, need. Debt can be cheaper than equity, but it makes your balance sheet less attractive for future financiers. But what if you already have debt on your balance sheet? Ross reveals all you need to know in Part 1.

Seasoned investors are well aware the majority of their "angel" investment isn't going to pay off in huge returns. In fact, they prepare for many of their ventures to go under. This is why investors take a portfolio approach to investing in business ventures, explains Ross. Listen in as he takes us through various angles an investor looks at a pitch from, and how Founders can leverage this knowledge to secure financing from them.

Part 2 // Areas to Prep Before the Pitch

In Part 2, Ross give us a rare glimpse into how investors perceive value. He also emphasizes the benefits of researching your audience and adjusting your pitch as necessary, as each investor will likely be looking for something different.

"You need to know what investors scavenge for in a pitch and hand it to them," Ross advises. Unsurprisingly, you need to win their trust. It’s not all peaches and roses, but Ross gives us tips on how we can stack the odds in our favor.

When investors buy-in to a startup, Ross reminds us, “they're betting on the jockey, not the horse.” The company’s leaders must have top-notch execution skills in the eyes of an investor.

Investors are betting on the jockey, not the horse.

Tune in to Part 2 as Ross guides us through the critical precursors to an impactful pitch.

Part 3 // Ten Slides to the Perfect Pitch

Offering a solution to a common problem is great, but there are other things that must go in your pitch. Remember, you need to get into the lender's headspace as you tailor your pitch to perfection.

Ross, an angel investor, tells us what investors like to see in a pitch. He also recommends, as Taunya always has, to get comfortable with your numbers. If you’ve projected your revenues will grow by 10% year-over-year, or your profit margin will broaden by 5% as you scale, you need to be able to justify these (and any other) assumptions.

Ross gives us an overview of what each slide of your pitch should communicate, its sequence, its purpose, its contents, and most importantly—the hidden message your overall pitch reveals, and how lender's will likely interpret its meaning.

Tune in to Part 3, a jam-packed deal where Ross takes us through a winning pitch—slide by slide.

About the Pro // Ross Finlay

Co-Founder, First Angel Association

Ross Finlay is a Co-Founder and Director of the First Angel Network Association, Atlantic Canada's largest association for private investors. He is on the Board of the National Angel Capital Organization and is a Director of the U.S. Angel Capital Association and the Angel Resource Institute (of the Kaufmann Foundation). He is a recognized facilitator, business planner, and strategic change advisor who has an extensive background in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

He has assisted in the development and review of countless business plans for start-up companies. Ross has extensive business networks throughout the world and has written as a regular columnist for Atlantic Business Magazine and for Progress Magazine.

Ross has been Executive Director of a professional association in Ontario and President of a national consulting company specializing in providing consulting services in scientific, engineering and technical fields.

Since 1994, Ross has managed his own successful consulting practice. He returned to the corporate world for a time with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Solution Inc Ltd., a software development company.

In 2002 Ross was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal for outstanding community service through his efforts in numerous charities.

About the Champ // Community Futures Manitoba

Community Futures Manitoba Inc. (CFM) is an association representing 16 Community Future organizations (CFs) established throughout rural and northern Manitoba. The Community Futures Manitoba Board of Directors is comprised of one representative from each of these organizations.

Community Futures operates across rural and Northern Canada as a grassroots-driven program created to strengthen rural economies by enabling entrepreneurship and assisting in community economic development. The goal of each CF is to assist the communities in their region to develop their economic potential.

Connect //

GAB LAB CHAMP // Community Futures Manitoba // 1.888.303.2232 // GAB LAB HOST // Taunya Woods Richardson // 1.844.844.3660 NTN PRO // Ross Finlay //

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