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SLT Pitch Workshop Takeaways

· Africa-based,Events

She Loves Tech is a global initiative, showcasing the convergence of the latest trends in technology, entrepreneurship, innovation and its impact on and opportunities for women, which includes a global startup competition and international conference series. For the first time, She Loves Tech is hosting its inaugural Africa Regional's this year. The winner of the East Africa Regional being held on July 14th held at Nairobi Garage, will win a 2 week immersion trip to China for the Global Finals, as well as the very likely chance of getting funding from our network of Chinese investors.

On June 6th,June 13th and June 20th, She Loves Tech East Africa, along with the iHub and Nailab, hosted the series of workshops 'How to Create a Pitch Deck', 'How to Network with Investors' and Presentation and Public Speaking Skills’ respectively. The workshops were conducted by Jason Musyoka, Angel Network Manager at Viktoria Ventures, which syndicates local and international investor capital into seed stage investments in tech startups in East Africa; Daniel Yu, founder and CEO of Sokowatch, an e-commerce platform for informal retail shops in urban Africa and Janet Kiarie, certified executive coach with the Association of Executive Coaches, AOEC, UK.

The takeaways from these workshops were as follows:

 

How the Pitch Deck Tells the Story

According to Jason, you need to understand how to tell a compelling story about your company to potential investors and a winning pitch deck will normally fall largely into four categories.

  1. Traction: This is the story you want to be telling. Maybe your revenue or user base is growing really fast (>15% month-over-month), or you’ve closed deals with a major customers or partners. Traction comes in many different forms, but make sure you emphasize how you’re growing and how you’ll continue to go. Keep in mind that sometimes it might be the case that perhaps you don’t have strong traction but have created a technological breakthrough in an important field. Then you could tell a technology story.

  2. Team: Many investors believe that a company’s team is one of the most important determinant of whether or not to invest. The ideas may change, the product will evolve, but they want to see that people are in it for the long-run. If it’s the the case that you and your cofounders are successful second-time founders or have a management team with impressive pedigree, then flaunt it. If not, then remember to emphasize the cohesion of the team and the complementary skills that make you uniquely qualified to execute on this company

  3. Mission/Vision: Be realistic in your self-analysis of what qualifies as “impressive mission”. Every founder thinks they have an amazing idea or awesome team and technology; the question to ask yourself is “what will investors think?”

Jason went on to elaborate that a winning pitch deck will normally include 15 slides but as an angel investor, what “I really focus on in the pitch and really separates my making the choice to invest, are the slides about traction business model.” The “Traction” slide will often cover the following: what early traction has the company gotten (sales, traffic to the company’s website, app downloads, growth metrics, etc., as relevant), strategic partnerships, Press and accolades On the other hand, the Business Model slide seeks to answer the question about how the company generates or plans to generate revenue.

The takeaways from these workshops were as follows:

How the Pitch Deck Tells the Story

According to Jason, you need to understand how to tell a compelling story about your company to potential investors and a winning pitch deck will normally fall largely into four categories.

  1. Traction: This is the story you want to be telling. Maybe your revenue or user base is growing really fast (>15% month-over-month), or you’ve closed deals with a major customers or partners. Traction comes in many different forms, but make sure you emphasize how you’re growing and how you’ll continue to go. Keep in mind that sometimes it might be the case that perhaps you don’t have strong traction but have created a technological breakthrough in an important field. Then you could tell a technology story.

  2. Team: Many investors believe that a company’s team is one of the most important determinant of whether or not to invest. The ideas may change, the product will evolve, but they want to see that people are in it for the long-run. If it’s the the case that you and your cofounders are successful second-time founders or have a management team with impressive pedigree, then flaunt it. If not, then remember to emphasize the cohesion of the team and the complementary skills that make you uniquely qualified to execute on this company

  3. Mission/Vision: Be realistic in your self-analysis of what qualifies as “impressive mission”. Every founder thinks they have an amazing idea or awesome team and technology; the question to ask yourself is “what will investors think?”

Jason went on to elaborate that a winning pitch deck will normally include 15 slides but as an angel investor, what “I really focus on in the pitch and really separates my making the choice to invest, are the slides about traction business model.” The “Traction” slide will often cover the following: what early traction has the company gotten (sales, traffic to the company’s website, app downloads, growth metrics, etc., as relevant), strategic partnerships, Press and accolades On the other hand, the Business Model slide seeks to answer the question about how the company generates or plans to generate revenue.

Finally the ask! The reality is that very few startups at this early stage will already be generating sales. If you have been successful enough to be realizing revenue make sure you mention those numbers and frame the in the context of a timeline. For example “we are seeking $2-$3 million in financing which we will plan to use over the next 15-18 months and hoping to use the already $100,000 we made over the last 6 months towards ensuring the teams salary is catered for the next year.”

Ensure that when you are coming up with these numbers you have addressed the major milestones you think you will be able to reach with the financing; what your key use of proceeds from the investment will be (e.g., technology and product development, new hires, capital expenses, marketing, etc.). Make sure your projections are not unrealistic; you don’t want prospective investors to immediately question your projections as absurd or just not believable.

How to Network with Investors

Having raised over 300 million KES, Daniel has led Sokowatch's fundraising rom investors across East Africa, US, Europe, and Asia. He made it very clear that when it comes to understanding exactly what it is an entrepreneur is are looking for in investor, you need to have a good grasp of 2 key things. The first are the types of funding you are looking for to grow your company, from debit financing to equity financing to crowdfunding. Secondly, you must also plan intricately what you plan to use to appeal to investors.

The Product Does NOT make the Business

When appealing to investors, companies should focus on practical benefits, not technical features , kill the “geek speak” – be straightforward and honest! It is very important to address weaknesses in detail and be concise. Things that make investors shy away from investing are entrepreneurs who think that a product makes a business. While there is certainly in value in a ground-breaking technology, even the applications of that technology may change. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you focus on the business model and business implications encasing that the business model.

Ultimately the most important thing when it comes to first networking with investors, and then building and maintaining good rapport is being candid and clear about benefits of working with you. You can break that down into 5 questions:

  • How much does it cost me?

  • What do I get?

  • How will you spend my money?

  • What is my expected return?

  • When will I get the return?

“Investors will always look for the exit strategy,” explained Daniel. Most businesses are very dear to the founders or entrepreneurs, so it may be hard for them to think about the exit strategy. However, without a clear exit strategy, all you are doing is working harder, not smarter. Thinking out the exit strategy may also be digging deeper in yourself about the motivations you have for starting the company. For example, selling the business to a public company, may allow you use it to produce cash for your lifestyle. Alternatively, merging or getting acqi-hired by a bigger company may allow to continue in your role if you really enjoy the business. Not everyone will become a unicorn and be able to have a massive IPO, but determining the exit is very important for sustainability of your company. Any investor should be able to envision what the end of their relationship with the company could look like for them. Show them that your goal is their success.

Presentation and Public Speaking Skills

With over 8 years of experience teaching motivational speaking, life skills training, coaching and development to reputable organizations like the British Council, Deloitte, and the Ministry of Communications Janet explained that to deliver a powerful, thought-provoking pitch you need to understand the way audiences receive and process any type of communication.

Pitching is always public speaking. Public speaking isn’t always a pitch.​

There are 3 strategies that make up the rhetorical triangle that can guide in shaping your presentation:

  • Logos, which is the use of logic, facts or truth. This is at the top of the triangle because it is how you reason with your audience. Before you speech, you need do your research so that all your facts and figures are undisputed, but also gain an understanding of the background into who your judges/investors/influencers are. To make sure you are using Logos correctly, you also need to ask: What is in your content? Is it of educational value to these investors? You should be telling them something that they don’t know or something they ought to know this helps in finding common ground.

  • The second of the strategies that flows from the first is Pathos. This is the appeals to the audiences’ emotions or the ability to interact with the audience. The best way to do this is to tell a story that leaves your audience understanding and supporting the ideas you just delivered. Create a character that you are solving a problem for, for example “Mama Makenna coughs all the time at her coal cooking stove, etc...", Then perhaps tell the story of how you discovered the problem. This can get the investors bought into your narrative, especially if there’s a logical flow and an emotional element to your story.

  • Ethos is the speaker character, credibility, and authority. You want to attempt to show your potential investors that you or the entity communicating is a valid source of information. “Do you have the relevant expertise in this field? Or are you working with someone who has the competence to be in the field you are in?”

A good way for you to know if you are on the right track when talking about your idea is to ask yourself to “talk about your idea in just 15 words”. According to industry experts in communication, 15 words is the standard for clarity and conciseness. If you can’t do reiterate your point and purpose in 15 words, you’re probably unprepared.

Practice your pitch to exhaustion! This will not only help you shape it, but also will bring you confidence! Record or video yourself or practice in front of other people. It will probably be the case that when you start, you’ll probably be taking twice as much time. Remember you only have 5 minutes for your pitch, so aim to finish 15 seconds before.

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