I’ll admit to having spent an inordinate number of adult years in academia and I hold two advanced degrees to show for it. I’m no stranger to the teaching part of higher education either; I’ve been in front of many hopeful faces looking for knowledge. But there is something very inaccessible about traditional higher education that I just don’t like.
I took a single graduate class a couple of years ago in a well-known university. The school made me register as a special, non-degree seeking student. The Dean of Students had to OK my registration and it took over a month to actually get the signature. Then I had to take time off work for 15 straight weeks to attend the class. Let’s just say the whole process was a pain in the neck and I don’t wish that hassle on anyone.
Last year I heard comments from conference goers at both the ACS2012 and the CCC2012. People said that they always love the seminar parts of the conferences. The most common complaint was that the seminars were too short and we were only scratching the surface of the topic. This got me thinking.
What if Rockies Venture Club were able to provide continuing education classes taught by industry experts just like the Universities do? Although we thought we might have a couple of modifications to the traditional course plan. RVC Academy classes would be stand-alone, two-hour events so you don’t have to worry about scheduling months in advance. The classes would be focused on issues surrounding private equity since that’s what we do best. Since these issues are important to both entrepreneurs and investors we’d make sure that all classes were open to both types of folks to learn side by side.
Our classes are open to the public. You don’t need to be accepted to the program like TechStars or the Founder institute, just register quickly online and attend. Although we do have to charge tuition for the classes, we are planning to schedule once a month classes that are free to all RVC members. Also, all classes are free to Keystone Members so we do feel good about providing the community with affordable options.
We just started the regular series of classes this month and frankly, we didn’t know how amazing these classes were going to be. Not to toot our own horns but, holy shmoly these classes were a good idea! It turns out that our community is just crawling with expertise.
- Mid January, Brian Tsuchiya gave an overview of the little known ways to register your investor deal with the state of Colorado. Colorado has form RL and SCOR which allow you some freedom in advertising your deal publicly and legally.
- January 28th we had Lauren Ivison from Clear Creek Partners and Kelly Matthews from RWO teach a room of investors and entrepreneurs about structuring their investment deal. Lauren occasionally has to turn away folks seeking A Round investment because they’ve so badly botched previous term sheets. Her class will certainly help folks prevent this kind of avoidable flub.
We saw great attendance at both of these classes and people’s wheels were really turning as they scribbled notes furiously. The format is such that we have lots of time for discussion and interaction. Also, we want students to go home with new knowledge, but not so much new information that they can’t process it.
We’re super excited about the pipeline of great classes in the next few months.
In the beginning of February we’ll learn about Market Strategy and Branding from Access Marketing Company. At the end of the month, we’ll get an in depth view of Due Diligence from Lauren Costantini (CID4). She’ll school us on how much due diligence angels should reasonably be doing, how they should go about it, and how can entrepreneurs can make the process easier to accomplish.
Even the Angel Capital Summit in March will be affected by our new view on continuing education. The workshops will be longer and get deeper into the nitty gritty of the topics presented.
I’m particularly excited about this spring’s educational lineup. Michael Armstrong from Front Range CFO will hold two classes on accounting. The first will be a basic course to get all of us non-accountants up to speed on accounting basics like quickbooks, debits/credits, balance statements, and statements of cashflow. The second class will be focused on challenging and defending pro formas. Having never taken an accounting class in my whole life, I’m pretty excited to see what Michael can teach me.
RVC Academy is in pilot stage. We are completely open to suggestions for future classes! In the comments, let us know what topics you’d like to see or teach this year.
Nicole Gravagna, MS, PhD, is the Director of Operations for the Rockies Venture Club. After having spent way too many years involved in formal educational programs, she is happy to be guiding the RVC Academy, which can best be described as an “informal educational program”.
Have a great idea or are you launching an innovative business? Where do you turn to find the resources to grow your company and get it to thrive? Here’s one answer: Ask the world for help. We look to one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for a pathway.
You can expose the masses to your product or project on the Internet and ask for money to help you reach your goals through crowdfunding platforms. There are many options out on the internet where you can perform your dog and pony show with the hopes of impressing and attracting the right audience. One such site is Indiegogo. It’s a place to show your stuff and gain funding.
You can just create a campaign on Indiegogo and throw your hat into the funding ring. While anyone, an entrepreneur, artist, or a sick dog can ask for money, actually raising the money and meeting monetary goals depends on how well you present the project. Unlike Kickstarter which requires that a campaign fulfill funding goals before any money changes hands, Indiegogo allows you to keep all raised funds. They do give one financial incentive for a completed campaign; the platform charges you a whopping 9% of funds raised if you don’t fulfill the campaign and only 4% if you do meet your fundraising goal.
Cynaps is a great example of a successful campaign on Indiegogo. This is a product you will surely slap your forehead for not thinking of it first when you hear about it. Here it is: ever get annoyed by the earbuds, headphones, and other paraphanalia required to use your phone or listen to music? Well, the creators of Cynaps devised an ingenious product to eliminate those issues. Their hot new product is getting quite a bit of press (on SoundCtrl, Digital Versus, Nibletz, Techhive, and Neuredings) and more importantly, ample funding through Indiegogo!
Yes, that last article is in German for those who wish to brush up on their Diskussion über Technologie möchten.
MaxVirtual, the company that created Cynaps, was in the middle of big project designing a virtual reality game. They realized that the Cynaps technology was a great stand-alone product. The technology is a Bluetooth-enabled, bone conduction headset that fits discreetly in any hat. It makes it easy for anyone to listen to music on a run, or talk on the phone while working around the house. It’s a hands free, wire-free, dream product. Based on hearing aid technology, Cynaps transfers sound through skeletal structures in the head more clearly than with earbuds or earphones. Once installed in a hat, there is no need for connective wires, earpieces, and so forth. Hands are free for other tasks and your ears are unplugged so you remain aware of other, potentially dangerous, noises like cars and sirens.
In campaigning on Indiegogo with a fundraising aim of $20K, Cynaps has already raised 174% of its goal and it has become the most popular project hosted on the site as of late January 2013. In fact, MaxVirtual’s campaign has done so well that they have been able to maximize their success with six fundraising days left. On January 28, 2013, they started a Stretch Goal of $50K with additional perks to investors if they meet this new aim by the end of their campaign on February 2, 2013!
So what did this company do correctly to succeed in gaining financial assistance? In comparing Cynaps and other successful campaigns with ones that failed, a clear picture of great innovation and campaigning emerges.
As its name suggests, MaxVirtual is a company focused on creating virtual reality experiences. During a recent game development project, designers realized a new product in working on wearable technology devices made to free the hands and ears. The gamers were using a bone conduction headset to function freely within game parameters. The device worked so well in this context, that designers made the logical mental leap to its practicality in the real world. They created Cynaps for ordinary folks who bike, work on a computer, and so forth while needing to talk on the phone or listen to music or sit in on conference calls. Then MaxVirtual capitalized on extraordinarily successful products like iPhones and portable music players and made Cynaps compatible with them.
As with so many innovations, Cynaps, too, is a logical progression of existing technology. Making electronic devices essentially part of the body or its attire is the future. Wear what you use and function freely while employing it. Piggybacking off widely used products and creating something that will make its use easier or better is a key driver in entrepreneurial success. It just makes sense.
Besides creating an innovative, smart product, MaxVirtual had to design a fundraising campaign convincing enough to lure backers. It chose Indiegogo as its only funding platform and used effective techniques for introducing Cynaps. The product presentation starts with a clear description of what Cynaps does and how it works. Furthermore, in a brief video clip, there is a demonstration of the functionality and practicality. There are also presentations of the people behind the design and manufacture of Cynaps, challenges the product faces, and an address of “what if” type questions. Finally, investors can actually buy Cynaps in a variety of packages based on funding amounts with an estimated delivery of February 2013. Anyone considering backing Cynaps on Indiegogo is motivated to do so in several ways – what better product to invest in than one that is smart, innovative, needed, supported with established sales and manufacturing relationships, and managed by a responsive, analytical team?
Finally, beyond the innovation and campaigning, MaxVirtual has spread the word about Cynaps through their Facebook page, at electronics conferences, and in interviews with the product developer, Mike Freeman. Their regular updates about Cynaps keep investors and customers abreast of current events and future directions such as Cynaps’ most popular status on Indiegogo and the company’s new aim to design their own running hats with their own logos based on popular demand (versus the use of Nike Dri-Fit hats).
The future for Cynaps almost sounds too easy. Surely there are competitors. As it turns out, not too many. There is one main competitor to Cynaps – Aftershokz. It is a bone noise conduction device as well, but it is still a headset. The only difference between Aftershokz and regular headphones is that it doesn’t sit in or on the ear, leaving ears free to hear other sounds. Aftershockz has but one choice in design – the black headset piece that goes around the back of your head and sets over the tops of the ears. The advantage Cynaps has over Aftershokz is its invisibility and flexibility. It fits in any hat you choose to wear and remains out of sight.
Lots of folks outside of Indiegogo are taking notice of Cynaps’ potential too. MaxVirtual presented Cynaps at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January where it received quite a bit of attention. With other hot topics in the room Tech News Daily, Nibletz, Tech Hive, and other gadget web sites took note and quickly reported on Cynaps, consistently mentioning it as unique, smart, and practical.
So maybe MaxVirtual can keep the rose-colored glasses on its face and march forward with Cynaps, straight toward success. Designing the right product for the right time in the right way, using Indiegogo’s funding platform, and soliciting well have laid a seemingly golden path ahead of MaxVirtual. The future will tell if Cynaps becomes the next movement in innovation – it’s definitely off to a great start.
Stacy Gregg is the new Communications Manager for the Rockies Venture Club. She lives in Littleton with her husband and two young children. She dreams of a day when she can get her hands on a Cynaps so her foothills trail runs can be safe and entertaining.
Let’s tackle crowdfunding myth busting to better prepare for raising capital. What are the most commonly believed myths in crowdfunding? Let’s look at many of them to find what’s truth and what to debunk. We’ll start with crowdfunding as a flood of capital. Then we’ll examine several more myths over the next week or two, so look for subsequent blog posts in the coming days.
Crowdfunding will open the floodgates of capital for their business.
It’s a lot more difficult to raise money than entrepreneurs believe. There is not a huge, untapped market of investors out there just waiting for the opportunity to invest in startup companies. Those who have the interest are probably already involved in Angel Investing groups like Rockies Venture Club. The rest are unaware of the opportunities for angel investing, and crowdfunding is not likely to produce immediate activity among these investors.
Entrepreneurs have difficulty raising capital for lots of reasons. Rarely is it because they simply can’t access unaccredited investors or public solicitation. There are many other reasons that keep entrepreneurs from getting their investment – primarily surrounding their concept (is it a lifestyle company or a venture company?) or their readiness level.
The most common problem is that entrepreneurs want to jump into fundraising before they do the work. Even on a crowdfunding site, backers are going to want to see an experienced and proven team, a product or prototype, paying customers, proformas, and other finished homework before funding occurs. You may not need these things when approaching friends and family for investment, but when you are convincing people you’ve never met before – you need to be prepared.
Companies will still need to spend huge amounts of time and money to bring people to their portal sites and invest. This is not a “build it and they will come” situation. Even if the company has gone through a thorough readiness preparation, the marketing of a public security is complex and expensive. Just having a page or video on a portal is not likely to sell equity in your company or gain you donations. You will need to mobilize your social media network, reach out to individuals and groups, advertise, promote through speaking and making appearances at angel groups, and more.
Entrepreneurs who realize that funding portals are just one tool among many resources that they will need to marshal in order to receive investment will tend to do the best when crowdfunding sites are launched.
Stay tuned for the next crowdfunding myth busting blog post on fraud…
When the SEC missed two deadlines in implementing the JOBS Act, it seems to only have heightened the buzz of crowdfunding. Locally, we’ve seen crowdfunding-focused events on all the calendars. John Eckstein spoke to a room full of CFOs about what we can expect in the near future. Brian Tsuchiya (of Vim Capital) has been educating Denver and Boulder about how they can register with the state and do some crowdfunding right now before JOBS Act laws go into effect.
The crowdfunding craze has seeped into my free time too. I was enjoying a rare night off at a party and a woman sidles over to me and starts talking shop. “I’m going to do that thing where you put your business online and get donations.” Further discussion revealed that she’s got a new acupuncture practice and a whole lot of student loan debt.
“What are you going to give your backers?” I ask. I was thinking for a $50 donation she could send backers an informative self-published guide about acupuncture or some wellness materials.
“I’m not going to give them anything. That’s the point. It’s a donation.” She quipped.
Unfortunately, this is a common perception about crowdfunding. Folks think they can come up with an idea, a need, or a sob story and other folks will line up in droves to fork over their hard-earned cash. A quick look at Indiegogo suggests that they could be partly right. One group raised $1500 to save hens from slaughter; another $7169 to get heart surgery for a little boy in the Philippines.
You can have a sob story like the doomed hens or you can have a legitimate product such as the Misfit Shine. Either way, you need to get your backers involved and feeling like they are part of something. Even the hen keepers send you a picture of the hen you saved and allow you to name your hen if you wish. $25 for a picture of a lucky hen and the warm feeling of happy clucking? Hey, it inspired the 34 folks who backed the hens.
Let’s get back to Misfit Shine before I wax poetic about the farmyard for too long. This is a product like a Fitbit that allows users to set fitness goals and keep on task using the iPhone as an interface. Sure it’s a great product; who doesn’t want to be more fit? All around popular, it just won second place for best gadget at Las Vegas CES (Consumer Electronics Show). But what I love about this Indiegogo campaign is that they did it right and raised $846,438 with an initial goal of only $100k. The Misfit Shine campaign pre-sold their product through the crowdfunding site. Now 7 days after their campaign closed, we’ll see if they can keep those backers happy. You can already find the excitement wavering on their Indiegogo page with comments like, “I’m with Liran on this one. Getting a bit nervous. How about addressing your backers’ questions?”
Although it remains to be seen whether Misfit will fulfill their backer’s dreams, or take the money and run, there’s a few things that made them stand out. These are the same things we talk about in Pitch Academy where companies learn how to pitch to angel investors.
- Team – They have a experienced team of over 25 people between San Francisco and Vietnam.
- Use of Funds – They tell you where they are in the product development process: the prototype is made, the supply chain is determined. It sincerely sounds like they are honing the product, not bumbling around with an untested idea.
- Promotion Strategy – They have 34 articles written about them which cannot be attributed to dumb luck. This team knows a little something about getting press. My favorite is the article from WIRED about how Misfit failed on Kickstarter only to make a comeback on Indiegogo.
It will be a great success story for Misfit and Indiegogo if the project ends with happy backers and a lot of good press for a new company. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
As for using Indiegogo to fund an acupuncture career like the hopeful woman at my cocktail party… There are some projects in the Indiegogo queue right now focused on acupuncture: getting education for an acupuncturist, bringing acupuncture to developing nations, and using acupuncture to help specific people who have been injured. In looking for something akin to the project that came up at my cocktail party, the closest campaign I could find was “Keep Acupuncture Affordable“. This project was designed to help a sliding-scale community acupuncturist stay current with her credentials as the Canadian health regulations change out from under her. She’s doing a service for the community and she’s about to be shut down if she doesn’t get some support in terms of financial backing for a required course. She raised only $1,621 of her $5,000 goal. I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing most of her backers were current clients and friends, not random folks who have too much money in their wallets.
The best thing to do when creating a campaign is to put yourself in the shoes of your potential backers. Why would you fund one project over another? The people backing these campaigns are real folks, just like you, who live on a budget and have to make hard financial choices when they realize it’s time to get a whole new set of tires on the car. You are asking these people to hand over $25, $50, or sometimes even $500 with absolutely no recourse if you take the money and run.
All I’m saying is that people don’t give money randomly or freely. Everyone wants something when they back a project. You’ll be much more successful in crowdfunding through Kickstarter of Indigogo if you can find a way to get your backers to feel connected to your project. Whether it’s naming a chicken, getting a gift box from Alphonso’s aunt in the Philippines, buying the Mistfit product months before it’s available to the public, or even getting an emailed mp3 of a workday meditation from the acupuncturist. There is still no such thing as a free lunch. When people give you money, they want something in return.
CFO EVENT ON JOBS ACT – Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Guest Post by Chris Baron for Rockies Venture Club
The Denver Chief Financial Officers Group met at IMA, Inc. offices in LODO Tuesday to hear a presentation by attorney John Eckstein on the status of the JOBS Act.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was Act signed into law April 5th, 2012 by President
Obama to provide cost-effective access to capital for companies of all sizes. Finalization of the Act’s
details has been anticipated by both companies wanting to work in the space as well as by those
wanting to raise capital.
The measure would provide a new form of financing to small companies. Through crowd-funding, or the
sale of small amounts of stock to many individuals, companies could solicit equity investments through
the Internet or elsewhere, raising up to $1 million annually without being required to register the shares
for public trading with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Eckstein, of Fairfield and Woods, P.C., spoke to a filled room, and described the Act as, “the most
important deregulation in securities and finance since I became a lawyer.” “This proposal will allow
small businesses to go direct to general advertising and general solicitation, without any intermediary
whatsoever, and this is for businesses of any size, and it includes hedge funds and private capital.”
Typically crowd-funding attempts to raise capital for new projects and businesses by soliciting
contributions via three types of crowd-funding models: (1) Donations, Philanthropy and Sponsorship
where there is no expected financial return, (2) Lending and (3) Investment in exchange for equity, profit
or revenue sharing.
Eckstein provided a high level overview of the Act’s progress and status. The Act consists of 7 sections,
including Title II – Access to Capital for Job Creators; Title III – Crowd-Funding; Title IV – Small Company
and Capital Formation.
While elements of the Act have been solidifying, everyone is waiting to for the SEC to finalize the crowd-
funding section, expected sometime in 2014.
The main concerns in Congress and the SEC revolve around protecting investors. Eckstein joked that
Congress’s definition of the crowd-funding Act is “Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and
Unethical behavior.” “That’s Crowdfunding from the view of the SEC and Congress but that’s not how
the people in Boulder and the people at companies like Kickstarter think of it,” he said.
About the Crowdfunding Industry
In what is already a multi-billion dollar industry, the equity part is poised for significant growth upon
completion of legislation due to very tight capital markets and the publicity of project success stories on
platforms such as CircleUp and Kickstarter.
CircleUp announced January 10th, 2013 that it had helped raise five food-related businesses raise over
$5 million. It combines the popularity surrounding small-production, high-quality products with the
momentum of crowd-funding. It’s an equity-based platform that enables accredited investors to make
direct investments in up-and-coming consumer products businesses.
Accredited versus non-accredited investors is something that those seeking capital need to be aware of,
as there are different requirements for different offerings.
On January 8th, 2013 Kickstarter, which focuses on creative projects from Games to Film and Music to
Fashion announced it’s Best of 2012, which highlighted $319 million raised for 18,000 projects and 2.2
Perhaps the most publicized project to date was the Pebble watch, which raised over $10 million and is
scheduled to ship early this year after some delays. And earlier today, the world’s thinnest watch, the
anti-Pebble, has raised over $500,000, or 250 percent of its funding goal and the founders aren’t sure
how much they will eventually raise beyond their $200,000 initial goal. The watch is due to ship this
It’s these kinds of numbers that have entrepreneurs excited by what will happen when the crowd-
funding provision of the JOBS Act is finalized. And as crowd-funding leaves narrow niches and becomes
available to businesses of various sizes and industries, it will provide a completely new space for
entrepreneurs and investors to meet.
Chris Baron is a guest reporter for Rockies Venture Club.
Click on the pie chart to see who is coming to this event –>
Rockies Venture Club is the heart of private equity in Colorado. To honor the new partnership between RVC and City of Golden we are excited to hold our January Pitch and Networking Event in the American Mountaineering Center!
- Basic RVC Members get 50% off the ticket price.
- Full RVC Members attend this meeting for free and are welcome to bring a guest also free.
|5:00-5:55||Networking Happy Hour|
|5:55-6:45||Innovating in Golden, a panel including:Doug Coors – 9th Street Capital and Coors Tek
Dick Franklin – Director of CleanTech Open
Tom Stemple – Sold Original Wraps to 3M
|6:45-7:30||Four great pitches:
Spiffit, Magpie Healthcare, Busylife Software, and Pairin.
American Mountaineering Center
710 Tenth Street, Golden, CO 80401
Basic members only $25. Please pre-register if possible.
Registrations at the door are increased $10.
As always, the RVC Investor Forum meets around the Front Range on Thursday and Friday following our Tuesday Pitch Event.
- Denver Investor Forum, Thursday, Jan 10th, 7-9am
- Golden Investor Forum, Thursday, Jan 10th, 1-3pm
- Boulder Investor Forum, Friday, Jan 11th, 10:30am-12:30
When: January 28th, 4-6pm
Where: Holland and Hart’s Denver Office 555 Seventeenth Street, Suite 3200, Denver, CO
Cost: $149 for Non-Members
- Keystone members get in for free and are invited to bring a guest also free
- Full members get 33% off workshops
- Basic members get 17% off workshops
Lauren Ivison from Clear Creek Partners sees a lot of A and B Round deals. Whether you are an investor or a founder, her class will help you design a well crafted investment deal.
This class format will include discussion and will allow us to go over real life scenarios. If you have a deal in progress, feel free to bring specific questions.
Example questions that Lauren will answer
- What are the most important Terms that can have an effect on future raises?
- How do you balance what’s good for founders against what’s good for investors?
- How can investors and founders avoid getting diluted in future rounds?
Lauren Ivison, thought leader for the workshop entitled “Designing Good Investment Deals”.
This is the second of many blogposts in a series that I’m calling the Investor Pitch Deck Series. I am creating a post about each investor pitch slide, why it is important, the common errors, and how to communicate that you have what it takes to achieve your goals for this company.
Posts in this series
- #1 – The Market Slide
- #2 – Exit Strategy Slide
The Exit Strategy Slide
The exit strategy is one of the top three things that a potential investor wants to know about your business. There are two facets to an exit strategy – human and economic. The human element is simply whether the founders are interested in selling the business in a few years. The economic element is whether the business can be sold to a buyer in a few years. Your exit strategy slide must convey your desire to use this business to make money for yourself and investors. It also must directly describe the path that you are taking to create value in your company and to secure one or more potential buyers. Remember, the majority of your company’s value is gained at the exit.
- For a great slide show about exit strategy nuts and bolts, check out “Startup Exit Strategy Thought Piece V7.6” by Venture Archetypes.
- To help you wrap your head about the human element of selling your company, turn to Jason Cohen who writes a blog A Smart Bear and has a great post about his reasons for selling his company.
Cringe Factor #1 – You describe your exit strategy as an acquisition by a large company like Google, Amazon, or Facebook.
Why this makes us cringe – Acquisition, IPOs, and mergers are goals, not strategies. If you are banking your time and your investors’ money on a lucky break, then everyone should be nervous for the future of this deal.
How to do it right – Research the recent acquisitions for at least three companies similar to yours in the last three years. Have the details of these exits in your back pocket to be used for follow up Q&A if you don’t mention these comparables directly in the pitch. Another great step toward a solid exit strategy is to have conversations with potential acquiring companies prior to the pitch. Savvy entrepreneurs will put out feelers in conversations with multiple companies months or years in advance of an exit.
Cringe Factor #2 – You don’t want to exit for 10+ years.
Why this makes us cringe – Venture investors are primarily interested in making their money grow quickly. If you think that an early exit for a few million is a sellout move, then your company might not be suited for venture (or angel) capital. Perfectly good companies make a lot of money for the owners without ever taking investor capital or exiting.
How to do it right – Research your options. If you are seeking seed stage capital to grow your company, then check out the other ways to grow your company even if you are pretty sure investor capital is for you. Determine whether your goals are aligned with those of investors. Approach investors only after you are certain than you see a quick exit as a success and not a sell-out. Some people would rather be King than be rich and those people should really consider whether they should be seeking investment capital at all.
The Controversial Exit Slide
The exit strategy slide is rarely discussed in VC blogs, online forums, and other centers of intelligence on venture capital fundraising. Art of the Start Guru, Guy Kawasaki doesn’t include it in his 10 VC slides. ReOverthinking’s example pitch deck, while really good, neglects the exit slide completely. So, why is Rockies Venture Club pushing for an Exit Slide?
In our community, entrepreneurs can find themselves face to face with an interested investor at any moment – in the bathroom during an RVC event, in a class, over appetizers and drinks, or in a mastermind meeting where entrepreneurs discuss strategy. Many of our investors are entrepreneurs who exited well in their last venture and now they jump the fence on a daily basis back and forth from entrepreneur role to investor role. Entrepreneurs rarely know when they are surrounded by investors. When we accept a new RVC company, we want them to be ready to pitch at a moment’s notice anywhere, with slides or without, in 30 seconds or 30 minutes.
The exit slide is simply an embodiment of real research on acquisition partners and shows the future goals of the founders. If you’ve done the work and made the slide, you never have to show it to anyone. Investors can tell that you know what you want and you are capable of doing the work to get there.
Bijan Sabet from Boston VC firm Spark Capital argues that there is no way to predict the ultimate buyer of your company, so don’t even worry about the exit when you are seeking seed stage capital. This to me is like saying you can’t predict your exact career trajectory so don’t even worry about your college major. I’m apparently not alone in my disapproval of this perspective. The point is, don’t spend all your time planning the exit. However, you DO need to have given it enough time that you don’t get that deer-in-the-headlights look when the investor asks about it.
Article by Nicole Gravagna, PhD, Director of Operations for the Rockies Venture Club as part of a series on the elements of an investor pitch deck. The next post is on the Team Slide.