The immediate response is obvious: to facilitate the fundraising process. But what other benefits can you expect to gain from participating in a pitching event? How about these for starters:
Your 3-5 Minute Story
Before your first formal pitching event you probably had only two modes of responding to interested parties: the 30 sec elevator pitch and the 30 minute interrogation by an interested investor (mostly Q&A format). Preparing for a pitching event forces you to tell the most important elements of your story in 3-5 minutes. And you get to do it without interruption, which also means you are forced to connect your points in logical fashion.
A Collection of Concise Responses
You will rehearse your pitch so many times that it will forever be committed to memory. That’s great because now when you get into an interrogation by an interested investor, when they ask you how big your market is your mental reaction will be “that’s slide 3″ and when they ask about your prior experience or why you’re the right person to run the company your mental reaction will be “that’s slide 7″. The ideal responses are already on the tip of your tongue.
An Updated Briefing Deck
Who has time to work on their briefing deck when there’s real work to be done? The truth is that having a fresh and perfect briefing deck is always valuable, no matter how big your company gets. Preparing for a pitching event forces you to whip it into shape. And since it’s only a deck for a 3-5 minute pitch, you can always add another dozen slides to it for a more comprehensive version of your presentation but with the pitch deck slides serving as the key foundation.
During the mixer immediately after the pitches are complete, you’ll either have nobody approach you, a couple/few or you’ll get mobbed. Very telling. If you don’t get approached, you must find out why. Proactively introduce yourself to some investors during the mixer and ask them what they thought of your pitch. Then get specific. Is it clear what we do and what problem we solve? Is our opportunity compelling? What concerns would you have about funding our startup?