Get picked up in the elevator…better yet on the street.Develop your 6 minute pick-up lines

A recent conversation with Paul Kukubo – CEO of the Kenya ICT board informed me of the arrival of a venture capital team from Europe in the month of November to look at viable partnerships in the region and also as a recce on investment opportunities in ICT in the region. From experience I have known it to be exceedingly hard to have a face to face meeting with “old money” to invest in “new ideas” for the simple reason that old money hangs out together in exclusive clubs and golf courses that may be out of reach for the start-up entrepreneur who doesn’t have the sort of money to pay for those memberships. Old money also doesn’t lend itself to walking along the streets of Nairobi for long stretches 🙂

So what do you do as an entrepreneur seeking an audience with old money? You must be ready for anything…that means rehearsing your investor pitch and having it fine-tuned to 6 minutes for the odd chance that you will spot Bwana Chris Kirubi or some other representation of “old money” walking along the streets of Nairobi wearing an approachable face or better still get in the same elevator on that odd day “old money” chooses not to use the VIP elevator.

The six minute pitch would go down like this

  1. What do you do:
    Keep it short and simple: Mr.ABC, my company is {name of your outfit…you do have one don’t you} and we do {ABC}.{Hand over your business card}
  2. Unique Value proposition:
    OK, it does have to be a unique proposition bu it must have value for you to stand the chance of getting a second meeting.State what problem your product or service is solving
  3. How does your product or service work? Why is it better or different?
    Keep all your industry jargon to yourself. Yes, they are probably well versed in your industry, or have peers involved…but…
  4. No one wants to fund a hobby, so make sure you have a way to make money. Money is not short of dates, there are many suitors for your potential investors money. Think deeply about your business model.You must capture their attention, define your revenue streams.
  5. Some one must buy your product or service otherwise you’re sunk. Define your customer, how they will pay for the service, how you will reach them and what sort of growth you see.
  6. You have a team in place right? Exemplify their experience and credentials, if they have any connections…mention them. If your starting out raw and green, you could mention that one of the things you are looking for is that one person with the connections to make the magic happen.
  7. Finally, state what you need to turn your pitch into reality and money in the bank.Ask for their card and promise to follow up with an email.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.

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