Be concise, get to the point and don’t expect to walk out the door with a cheque in your hand.
That was the advice from Gideon Hayden, an associate with venture capital firm OMERS Ventures, during a speech to Ottawa-area tech firms this week.
Mr. Hayden provided the information that he had learned from his experience listening to good – and bad – pitches for funding.
“It’s in your interest to get to the point,” he said. “If it’s five, 10 minutes in and we don’t know what you do, we probably lost you and that’s not a good thing.”
Mr. Hayden, who is based out of Toronto, was speaking at an event hosted by accounting firm Deloitte.
It was holding the event to recognize local companies who had applied to be part of its Fast 50 list, which is an annual ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the country.
Among the local companies in the running this year are 360pi, SavvyDox and Zighra.
While Mr. Hayden said that sometimes they will be interested in looking at the pitch “deck” a company provides to them, the initial presentation is one of the most important parts of trying to get funding.
Some of the best pitches they’ve heard haven’t even involved looking at the deck, he said, because the presentation has been so comprehensive.
Part of this involves having a deep fountain of knowledge about the sector in which you’re working.
“It’s definitely not a good sign if we know more about the landscape than you do,” he said.
Firms should also put an emphasis on developing a relationship rather than getting too hung up on specific terms and valuations.
OMERS executives said they’ve had companies arrive with a term sheet expecting them to cut a cheque at the end.
But Mr. Hayden said that if there is a good connection between the two groups, the rest of the details will eventually work themselves out.
Local companies in the running for Deloitte’s Fast 50 rankings:
360pi; BTI Systems; C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.; "Fluidaware"; Energate; Fusebill ; Glitchsoft; Gnowit Inc; Impakt Protective ; Inovatech Engineering; iWatchLife Inc.; Kivuto Solutions Inc.; Koneka; Optelian; Rullingnet Corporation; SavvyDox ; Shopify ; Signority Inc.; SkyWave Mobile Communications Inc.; Solace Systems; Solink; Source Metrics; TITUS; Toushay; Valydate; YOUiLabs; Zighra Inc;