VCs Love Team Slides, Recap of New Tech Pitchfest #69

Recap of last night’s New Tech pitchfest, with lessons learned from pitchdecks to room EQ

By Robin Rowe

MARINA DEL REY, CA (Venture Hollywood) 2018/8/24 – A big thank you to everyone for making last night’s pitchfest event a success! I lead the Open Coffee venture masterminds meetup on Sundays and hosted the Santa Monica New Tech monthly pitchfest for July and August which was last night. I also help vet the startups chosen to pitch there. If you want to pitch, let me know.

CEO Kevin Newman pitching Allknightr, an app to connect with gamersCEO Kevin Newman pitching Allknightr, an app to connect with gamers

The Riveter

Our first event at The Riveter Marina del Rey. The space at The Riveter is great and the staff there make it happen, from doing sign-in to setting out the chairs. Big thank you to Marta and Fatemah of The Riveter. The Riveter was still in the process of installing the projector the day before. Great job having everything in place.

The VC Panel

Our first pitchfest with a VC panel. A nice addition to the event I think. Next time I want that before the pitches, not after. That way, the suggestions can help founders give better pitches.

CEO Ogden Bass pitching My Debt Buddy, a service to help consumers get out of debt

CEO Ogden Bass pitching My Debt Buddy, a service to help consumers get out of debt

The major take-away from the panel discussion is that the team slide is the decision-maker for accelerators and seed-round investors. That slide should come sooner in the deck. At the July pitchfest we had some decks missing fundamentals. For August I standardized the first five slides to be Title-Problem-Solution-Technology-Team. For September we’ll move Team to be immediately after Title. And what if you don’t have a team? Although highly recommended, it isn’t required to have a team in order to pitch. If you want to focus on the CEO instead, title the slide Leadership instead of Team.

My panel last night was smaller than planned. I choose who is on the VC panel and some of my people weren’t there. I forget to remind everyone the day of, so my bad I guess. Next time I’ll send everyone reminders to check in on arrival.

I was a judge at the Pitch Globally pitchfest this week. As a manager who’s been coached to offer compliments in public and criticism in private, it made me a bit uncomfortable being a judge expected to critique.

My style is evolving. As a manager, I still find myself giving public criticism sometimes. When I taught at university, taking criticisms private wasn’t a thing. And as an engineering manager under deadline pressure, it’s easy to get over-focused on the product over the people.

As a friend of mine likes to say, People-Product-Process is the key to success in business. Marcus Lemonis lists People first, that being the most important. Watch Marcus’ new season of the The Profit on CNBC.

Event Sign-in and RSVPs

Our first time at The Riveter, we had a little confusion over the sign-in procedure. Before the event I didn’t realize we would be relying on my Meetup RSVP list for our sign in. The list I had quickly printed out, just as a backup, was not alphabetized.

I see it is possible to sort the Meetup RSVP list before saving to pdf and also to export as a spreadsheet. However, the tab in Meetup shows we had 165 RSVPs last night and the list shows less. Why the discrepancy? I don’t know. We had about 60 there. About half of RSVPs arriving is typical, so the RSVP list of 129 is probably right.

Only organizers can see this list and Meetup doesn’t include email addresses, which is why I asked for that when people RSVP. However, only half, 60 people, gave me their email addresses. We’re exploring other ideas for how to manage RSVPs.

The Sound

The meeting room is quite bright acoustically, with a polished concrete floor. Some audience members told me afterwards it was hard for them to hear. As someone who has produced a lot of events, I know echo and distortion are common issues with any new room. Maybe I can EQ the room to make the room less buzzy next time? There’s the open source REW software if we want to go high tech for room EQ. Another approach is anechoic chamber style passive sound absorption, adding curtains or studio foam panels.

Next Time

The next pitchfest is set for September 20th. Reach out to me if you want to present. Free.