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How to Pitch a Business

17 October 2013

This video was produced by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs in October 2013. The speaker is Faysal Sohail, general partner of CMEA Capital and chairman of Altair Group.

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[TEXT: Faysal Sohail General Partner, CMEA Capital]
Hi, I'm Faysal Sohail, General Partner CMEA Capital

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and chairman of Altair Group. As an entrepreneur I built

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three successful technology companies in Silicon Valley.

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[TEXT: Brightest Entrepreneurs]
Now as a venture capitalist I look for the brightest entrepreneurs

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[TEXT: Best Ideas] with the best ideas to build new enterprises.

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Investors like me receive thousands of pitches every year.

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When you pitch, it is critical that your passion
and idea grab our attention right away.

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No two pitches will be alike, but there are
some basic points that can help you succeed.

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Get an introduction to the investor from someone they trust.

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[TEXT: Get an Introduction] A strong
recommendation will create a positive impression.

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If you don't have a direct connection, don't worry.

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It is just as critical to know your
investors' background in terms of

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[TEXT: Research Investor]
industries, sectors, and stage of companies they invest in.

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Search the Internet
and social media for their interests,

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and look for any articles and books they may have written.

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Once you start the pitch, be yourself and remain confident.

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[TEXT: Show Your Passion] If you're genuine and passionate, you
can create a personal connection,

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and this is more important than any facts or figures you bring.

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Remember, less is more, and get to the point quickly.

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It is essential to describe your business in a few sentences.

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[TEXT: Simplify] If you have slides, use as few as possible,

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with more images than words.

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My favorite pitch was an entrepreneur
who started with a wonderful story

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about his passion and why he wanted to build his company.

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I was immediately hooked on his vision.

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Once you have described your concept, you
need to explain how you will make money.

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Why will the business model work?

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[TEXT: Project Revenue] What examples in
the market have had similar success?

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You will also have to explain how the
investor can monetize their investment.

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[TEXT: Take Questions] Finally, make sure to leave time at
the end for questions and comments.

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Ask the investor what they thought of the idea

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and accept any criticisms or critiques.

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[TEXT: Follow up] Don't leave without
creating the opportunity to follow up.

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You can ask the investor what else you should send them,

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or you can suggest calling them the following week to catch up.

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Creating the right pitch can be
tricky, but if you're composed

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and clear in your vision, investors can be confident of success.

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Remember, the investor is investing in you as much as your idea.

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Good luck.

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[TEXT: How will you take the next step? Join the conversation at:
InnovationGeneration
GISTInitiative]

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[TEXT: Produced By the U.S. Department of State]