How to pitch to venture capitalists

VC David Rose’s 14-minute TED pitch on pitching to venture capitalists:


Summary:

Key traits about yourself to communicate: Integrity, Passion, Experience, Knowledge, Skill, Leadership, Commitment, Vision, Realism, Coachability.

Content structure
: Grabbing their emotional attention, solid data and logical progression, strong ending with believable upside.

Plus presentation tips.

See also my Kaizen interview with venture capitalist Kevin O’Connor.

FindTheBest.com — Kevin O’Connor’s latest

Check out FindTheBest.com, which allows you to compare all sorts of things. The Internet gives you access to indefinite amounts of information, but how does one sort the relevant from the irrelevant?

oconnor-webThe site is co-founded by Internet entrepreneur Kevin O’Connor, who was co-founder of the very successful DoubleClick.com. O’Connor describes the thinking that led to the development of FindTheBest.com:

“I could find endless amounts of information on any subject but when I had a complicated decision to make, I found myself wasting hours, or even days, compiling information I could compare. Or, I found sites offering their ‘top 10’ recommendations, only to discover they were secretly getting ‘kickbacks’ from the sites they were recommending.”

Last year I interviewed O’Connor for Kaizen on the theme of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Well worth reading.

Update: A short interview here with O’Connor about his new comparison engine (not search engine).

Character and entrepreneurship

Business education is often good at teaching useful business theories and skills but less often good at teaching ethics. Ethics is often seen as irrelevant or as an obstacle, so business ethics is either not included in the core business curriculum or offered as an elective ornament.

Claim: Ethics is organically central to business success, and should be so built into business education. Two quotations from giants of American business in support.

First, from Georges Doriot, one of America’s trailblazing venture capitalists, as quoted in Jeffrey Young’s Forbes Greatest Technology Stories:

doriotgeorges-100x124“Doriot spends most of his time talking to people who bring him prospective investments. He says he has considered no less than 5,000 of them since 1946. He is considered by friends and critics alike as a brilliant judge of character. But he has to be, he explains. ‘When someone comes in with an idea that’s never been tried, the only way you can judge is by the kind of man you’re dealing with’” (p. 101).

morganjp-100x128Second, from financier J. P. Morgan, who was once asked whether money was always loaned out based on one’s assets. Morgan replied, “No, sir, the first thing is character.” And, Morgan continued, if someone he couldn’t trust asked for funding, he wouldn’t make the loan even if he had “all the bonds in Christendom” (quoted in Kaizen, Issue 6 [pdf], featuring my interview with venture capitalist Kevin O’Connor).

For both Doriot and Morgan, character is fundamental. So what is good character? How does one acquire it, develop it, and make it second nature? How does one recognize it in others? How does one build institutions that support, nurture, and reward excellent character? That is a core part of business ethics.

burpee-nightAnd to make a plug for business and ethics here at Rockford College, the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship’s web log has a series of recent posts on patents and innovation, low-cost eye care in India, whether new jobs are most created in new or small businesses, and the psychic benefits of non-profit work.