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Saturday March 25, 2017

NY Convergence ORIGINAL

iEvening Pitch Workshop Part 2: Getting a VC to Retell Your Story?

iEvening Power Pitching Workshop with Alan Brody, CEO of Convean (credit: Lauren Keyson)

By Lauren Keyson

Alan Brody, CEO of Convean and host of iBreakfast and iEvenings, started off his pitching workshop with a challenge:  “So I met a really famous investor who said that what he lives for the first three phone calls he gets in a morning that make him get on the phone to another investor and say,  ‘Joe, you gotta see this company.’  What you really want to do is try to do is get somebody so excited that they are going to get on the phone and tell all their pals, because in the early stage world, the investors are collegial. They want to share you – that’s their currency. They might not want to invest in you – they may not care about medicine or the financial world, but they care about a good idea. They love to trade with their pals – ‘hey, I saw a great idea, it’s not for me, but you would like it. I know you like medical.’ And in return they will throw them an idea back. So your challenge is to come up with something that people can retell somebody else in a succinct way that engages enthusiasm.”

Allison Madison, CEO of Candid Capture, a web hosted video interview and sharing platform for recruiters, was at the workshop to inquire about the possibilities of people investing in her company to get her to the next stage of development. So far she has been self-funded.  The pitching advice she learned along the way also had to do with being crunched for time. “They only give you a few minutes to explain everything there is to know about your company and it’s very limiting. So try to be as succinct as possible; drilling down to the “must-knows” and to the core of your business is key to a good presentation. Be genuine. Be true to yourself, you can’t BS people. If you don’t, then it comes across and I don’t think that that sells anything – ever.”

Ram Singh, founder of Afiniate, came to the event to present his business model for creating software that helps credit unions and banks figure out what they should be selling and telling their customers. “We are not actively seeking investment, but we would like to get plugged into the community; obviously since we’re dealing with the financial industry, there are lots of connections in NYC.  But funding is not the criteria of success for us.” Singh had presented at an iEvening competition in DC and was awarded first place.  “We won because we showed how we were going to get to revenues and we demonstrated a need in an industry that resists disruption.”

His Number One tip: “To have a successful business is not to get an investment — it’s to have sales.  The flip side is it’s useful to have a cushion in the bank.  You should be able to know how you are going to get paid. You should be able to demonstrate that you understand your business, you understand who your customers are and what it is that you’re selling to them that they absolutely have to have.  Why are they going to pay you versus pay somebody else?  Or why should they just not do anything?”