Thursday, February 28, 2013

3 Secrets to Understanding the Truth Behind Venture Capitalist Pitches

Venture capital is all about placing your faith in an entrepreneur with a strong business plan, and a great idea. Investors place their money and support behind something new, and different, hoping that it becomes the next big thing, or that at least builds to the point of profitability.

Unfortunately, a capitalist can get caught up in the excitement or emotion behind a business venture, and end up placing their money in a concept that will never get off the ground. In a buyer-beware environment, it is essential that every investor understand the truth behind venture capitalist pitches, and throw their funding and support behind something that is more likely to thrive.

1) The Story

Every pitch contains a personal story of investment. This is the part of the pitch where investors find out exactly what the product is, and what successes the entrepreneur has had in marketing up to that point. It is the section of the pitch designed to get capitalists excited and onboard with the venture. Unfortunately, the story can put the investor at risk. It is essential that the investor try to stay detached from the story, and remain emotionally neutral. Getting emotionally involved in the entrepreneur's story can lead to rash, emotion-based decision making, rather than a fact-based investment. Draw important facts from the story, but ignore any emotional pleas. If the story proves to be all emotion, and no fact, dismiss the investment.

2) Company Positioning

The pitch will try to position the company within your known holdings. Pay attention to any misrepresentation that occurs during the positioning portion of the pitch. A good investment does not have to align with an investor's other investments, if there is a sound business plan in place. If the entrepreneur seems to go out on a limb, or skew their business plan to make it fit more completely with your current portfolio, then they are not giving you an honest view of the company. Ignore any element of the pitch that specifically targets how this project fits in with your other venture capital investments. Instead, try to view the investment as a stand alone proposition, regardless of your other holdings. It should be strong enough to stand alone if it is a sound investment.

3) Overlooking Less Obvious Investments

The final element in the pitch is designed to convince investors that this product, and business plan, is far superior to its competitors. It works to make this venture look like the obvious choice. Take the time to look or less obvious choice. Many venture capitalists have missed out on a fortune because they took the larger, more obvious investment opportunity, and let what looked like a small-time entrepreneurial venture get away. Truly analyze what makes each project unique. Look for what qualities set a product or service apart from its competitors, and go with the pitch that offers the most unique and well thought out plan, regardless of size, or salesmanship.

Kevin Aldrige is a business consultant. His articles have been posted on a number of business and finance blogs. Click to visit CSS Partners for capital growth info.

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