During 2012, We had the pleasure of dealing with over two thousand various approaches, concepts and ideas that were pitched to BlueChilli. Some were weird, some were wonderful and yes, there was a quotient of the absolutely wacky as well.
All in all, it was a really healthy mix but at the end of the year about 1% of all of these had made it through to the start of the development process. Giving these figures and the conversion rate some consideration may be helpful to the people who are pitching to BlueChill or any other incubator or investment firm this year?
Lets address what they all had in common. All had an idea and many of them overlapped. This tells us a couple of things. Obviously the idea is important but it was rarely unique. The idea will only ever be as good as its execution. We have seen so many people come through that had a great idea but unfortunately hadn’t spent enough time getting their “pitch” fine tuned. Conversely, there were people who had not fully formed their idea but had that instant ability to convince us that they had the skill to take the concept successfully to market. It is also really important to note that all of the projects that have started have had a transaction at their core and the founders have had intimate knowledge of their markets / domains. The founders, could see the problem, the potential solution and how to sell / pitch that solution.
Now, I am not advocating that everyone who comes through has to have a polished presentation ready to go but there are a few fundamental components that we really do need to see in someone before we can start to make any decisions on investing in them.
What we like
- In the “pitch to us form” on the website, give as much information as you possibly can. That will help us to make a positive initial evaluation. First impressions count.
- Demonstrate that you understand the problem that you are looking to fix.
- Make it clear that you understand the market place that you will be operating in.
- Do some initial validation.
- Clearly explain how the transaction is going to work for all of the three customer groups that we always talk about.
- Show that you believe enough to back the idea with your own cash.
What we’re not too keen on
- Skip the part about global domination. Start on the MVP. Our process is designed for scale. If the foundation is good and the business fundamentals are sound, the rest will follow.
- Dont base you business plan on intangible transactions or use unrealistic forecasting. Identify the transaction and test the market. Prove it to yourself then show us the evidence.
- Please do not ask us to sign an NDA. We cant help you if you dont let us. Keep in mind that our entire business model is based around building other peoples businesses, not taking their ideas and building it ourselves. We are one of a number of resources in the start-up community and if we cant help you, we may know someone who can.
- Dont get disheartened if we dont “get” your idea straight away, suggest refinements, market validation or suggest that you talk to another organisation. Collectively we have decades of start-up experience. Use that to your advantage.
- Finally, please try to avoid using “Maybe”, “If” & “Or” in your pitch. (Indicates a lack of conviction and if you dont believe, how can we?)
Every business has to start somewhere and with BlueChilli companies, that starting point is always a “sale”. That “Sale” can be you pitching to us, to other potential investors, or to your first customers but it is always a sell. Sell yourself! I promise we’ll respect you in the morning 😉