SmartSweets: The Compelling Case of the Gummy Bear Pitch

On Thursday, September 28th, my client Tara Bosch goes on the season premiere of Dragon's Den to pitch her company SmartSweets. SmartSweets is already a remarkable success story. And they have a great pitch (full disclosure - I was part of the team that crafted it), with thoughts in their deck that every startup could [...]

Is your pitch signal or noise? In conversation with investor / entrepreneur Mark How.

Mark How has been part of the tech community - launching startups, investing in companies, pitching relentlessly - for 20 years. It seemed only natural to ask him what sets a good pitch apart from a bad one. We had a lively conversation that covered everything from staggering stats (if that investor seems rude, try [...]

Presentation Insider: From Critic to Collaborator

I’ve recently begun doing pre-speech polls before every presentation. That is, I reach out to the audience to ask what questions they’d like me to answer prior to taking the podium. This is different from working with event organizers to customize my speeches. At best, when I ask organizers, I get broad themes to work [...]

Ask, don’t just pitch: An interview with Vancouver Founder Fund’s Jay Rhind.

Before you pitch a company for money, you check their background to see if they 'fit' your personality. And while you're pitching, you engage your potential investors in Q & A, to bring balance and partnership to the proceedings. Seems common sense, but apparently, it's far from common practice. That's what Jay Rhind of Vancouver [...]

Create a Pitch Story That Moves Investors

At the end of the day, a great pitch is a great story. It gives a product meaning, it relates the trials and tribulations of the product's creator, and it turns disaffected investors into eager participants. Unfortunately, there aren't many great pitches out there. Instead, most of us plod through features and benefits while our [...]

What Crowdmatrix’s Rubsun Ho looks for in a pitch

Crowdmatrix is an online investment platform that creates crowdfunded equity - bringing accredited investors together to finance growing private companies in Canada. The syndicating and investing process is simple: you can check out portfolio companies - and make your investment - right on the website. Crowdmatrix has ambitious goals - by acting as a catalyst [...]

What Vancouver Founder Fund’s Fraser Hall looks for in a pitch.

Fraser Hall has an interesting pitch. Like many investors, a good part of his resume includes stints as an entrepreneur - founding, among other ventures, a very James Bond-esque company named Recon Instruments. But that's just part of story. "Two campaigns as Captain of the animal rights vessel Sea Shepherd" is also a line on his [...]

Bring the power of audience insight into your pitch

I recently finished a weeklong research project for a large client. The days were comprised of interviewing the entire management team, then synthesizing their thoughts into themes. I'm now turning the themes into insights that will guide the client's innovation into the future. It was an eye-opening experience on a couple of fronts. First, I [...]

What OMERS Ventures’ Sid Paquette looks for in a pitch

Sid Paquette is Managing Director at OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of one of Canada's largest pension funds. Paquette's area of specialization is tech, media, and telecom investment (the company has, among others, high-profile investments in ventures like Hootsuite and Shopify). I connected with Paquette at this summer's Experience Tectoria. At the event, we [...]

What Espresso Capital’s Alkarim Jivraj Looks for in a Pitch

In a career spanning 20 years, Alkarim Jivraj has helped raise over $1 billion for more than 200 early stage and growing technology companies. And as CEO of Espresso Capital, he's bringing a new form of investment to the Canadian market. "Mezzanine capital is relatively uncomplicated, user-friendly, medium risk, and medium term." says Jivraj. "It's [...]