Utah entrepreneurs learn pitching at Provo Deal Forum
Pitching your company to investors is an intricately difficult dance of innovation, charisma and hard numbers. Three local companies had the opportunity to practice their dance steps this week.
As part of the VentureCapital.org Provo Deal Forum, leaders from Infuze Hydration, Eco Pallet and 4th Wall FX met with investors and venture capitalists over the past six weeks. The end goal was not to for these young companies to gain funding from the investors, but to learn how to successfully pitch their business to future investors.
“The vast majority of entrepreneurs are first timers, and they don’t know what they don’t know. They need to know what investors want to buy, so we put a mentoring team around them,” said Bradley Bertoch, VentureCapital.org president. “This is a chance to get investor feedback they are never going to get any other way.”
Many times, when companies seek external funding, they only hear a yes or a no, and no real reasoning behind the answer, Bertoch explained.
“The Provo Deal Forum is practice for real pitching, and a way to get safe feedback so when there’s money and decisions on the line, their pitch doesn’t bury them,” he added.
Danny Noall, co-founder of Infuze — a Logan company whose product is a flavoring infuser for water bottles — pitched first during Thursday’s final pitching event. At the conclusion, the majority of concern from the five-person investor panel was that he did not include enough cost, revenue and profit margin numbers.
Jerry Vance, of Preferred CFO, also explained that Noall needed to emphasize his team’s experience more. Noall did not name them in presentation, and that’s a red flag for investors.
“Investors typically invest in the team. They want a team they can count on,” Vance added.
Mark Marshall of Eco Pallet from Salt Lake City went next. Eco Pallet produces lightweight composite pallets as an alternative to wood or plastic shipping pallets. The feedback he received on his pitch centered on concerns about scalability and revenue numbers, because Marshall only owns the rights for the business in India.
Jarom Sidwell of 4th Wall FX in Provo was the final presenter. His company is trying to re-create ancient history through 3D virtual and augmented reality, so viewers can immerse themselves in ancient cities and cultures.
While the investor panel was excited about the 4th Wall’s innovative product, they had concerns on pricing, scalability and marketing. Sidwell pitched creating ancient Jerusalem and pursuing the religious niche market first, but the panel was wary of the profitability of this.
VentureCapital.org holds regular Deal Forums like this one to educate entrepreneurs on the vital parts needed to secure venture funding. Bertoch has two more forums planned in August and October, with additional shorter training programs in September and October. The October one will focus on female entrepreneurs.
To find out more, visit https://venturecapital.org.