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Catching the Eye of an Investor: It’s All in the Pitch
July 19, 2013 at 7:19 AM
We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Whether sitting down for an important exam, stepping up to bat when the bases are loaded, sitting across the executive’s desk to make a sales pitch, giving a speech to a large audience, or making a pitch for venture funds to potential investors. We’ve experienced the fear of potential failure in these moments and many others. There is always that pivotal moment of self-reflection right at the beginning. Did I study enough, or even study the right material? Did I spend enough practice time in the batting cage? Is my pitch right-on, and can I deliver a performance to win this thing?
Whatever self-check swept through David Schroder’s mind as he stepped in front of the judge’s panel didn’t matter after his company, Blue Nano, was named the winner of the University City Chamber Chapter’s Power Up competition on June 13, 2013. Schroder’s company will advance to the grand finale in November for a chance to compete for the $25,000 grand prize.
I spoke with David Himebaugh, CEO of Blue Nano and a Ventureprise client-tenant, to get his reaction to the win. Himebaugh was quick to talk about their pitch. “What we (Blue Nano) do is conceptually very hard to understand. We are a materials company. We don’t make something that people use; we make what they use better. ”
Too bad this tag line is already taken, BASF!
Himebaugh went on to explain that their biggest challenge is finding ways to connect with judges, VC investors and the audience to simply convey the message about Blue Nano’s innovative nano-technology based products and their superior performance.
Dr. George Selembo, CEO of InfoSense, the grand prize winner of the Charlotte Chamber Power Up competition in 201 2, gave advice to competitors for the 2013 competition during a post interview with the Charlotte Chamber. “Focus your message,” he says. “Keep things simple while making sure to effectively communicate why your company has great potential for future success.”
It’s easy to see how InfoSense won the grand prize in 2012 from this video clip of Dr. Selembo’s pitch. In his presentation, he is clear about the problem they try to solve and how InfoSense can solve the problem with their patented technology. Dr. Selembo’s delivery was so easy to understand that he even received a ‘go-figure-laugh’ from the audience and panel of judges.
So, fast forward to 2013 and Blue Nano is in the Chamber University Chapter competition – and they are in it to win it. Imagine what was going through David Schroder’s mind as his turn to deliver the pitch approached. Before Schroder’s pitch, the audience most likely read the program description which provides a brief description about what exactly Blue Nano does:
Blue Nano is a nanomaterial manufacturer that develops high quality, cost effective and reliable nano-focused industrial solutions in the highest volumes available anywhere. We serve universities, independent research labs and OEM manufacturers in a wide variety of sectors ranging from automotive to energy to healthcare.
Huh? My thoughts exactly.
David Schroder begins his pitch by first asking everyone to take out their cell phones and then to touch the screen. He explains that every phone has a coating over the screen that really makes a difference in its performance. Cell phone manufacturers buy this product from their suppliers and adhere the coating sheet onto the screens. Blue Nano also makes a coating sheet, but theirs is made out of silver nano wires - a breakthrough and disruptive technology that delivers the triple threat; cheaper, better and more reliable than what is currently being used today. With such a clear example of the value found in Blue Nano products, Schroder locked in a win and will move up to the next level of competition in November.
Good luck to the Blue Nano team! If you were in the audience and have some feedback for Blue Nano before the Chamber Power Up main event in November, share those comments with us here and we will pass along to David Schroder, Founder of Blue Nano and David Himebaugh, CEO of Blue Nano.
Marilyn Carpenter comes to Ventureprise with over twenty years of proven performance in business development, sales, and marketing for entrepreneurial organizations. Most notably, Marilyn was employed as the Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Source Technologies, Inc., managing a $65 million business unit with a team of twenty marketing and sales professionals.
In 2006, Marilyn achieved the Associate Certified Coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She created a coaching and content program – Sales Entrepreneur Institute - to engage entrepreneurial sales and marketing teams with go-to-market strategy shifts required for success through social media, personal branding, social networking and community building.
Most recently, Marilyn worked as the Director of Business Development for UNC Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics, to successfully launch the new NSF I/UCRC research site for Safety, Security, and Rescue.
Marilyn is also a published author and a speaker, with a focus on training and development.