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Who is Doing the Pitching to Whom?

Fund: Keiretsu Forum

Posted by How_Matters on 2010-10-06

PUBLIC:

I got referred to our regional chapter and had heard all the bad reps about these angel groups. But the personal referral (an experienced entrepreneur) said to at least give it a try - that the Keiretsu folks had a better track record than the others and he personally knew of a large successful funding that came out of it. Now, I really believe in the emphatic warning to all of us entrepreneurs: Don't Pay to Pitch!! But the pre-screening was free and since I like experiencing things first-hand, we gave it a try. The red flags started before we got to the pre-screening pitch meeting when the screener (young MBA) kept questioning our valuation and asking if we could go lower. Odd, since he knew nothing about our company or market or competition yet.

The pre-screening pitch went fine - I thought the questions (from the 10 or so investor attendees) were thoughtful and presented in a friendly, clear manner. But another red flag popped up that morning - as I was listening to the forum investors introduce themselves, I noticed that of the six intros I heard, ALL of them were active in firms that provided services to tech companies: an IP attorney, a PR firm owner, a tech staff placement agency, an international advisory firm, hmmm...

Sure enough, the four people who followed up with me afterwards were after MY BUSINESS - two of them set up meetings under the guise of wanting to know more about my firm, only to pitch me on THEIR services.

Well, we actually "made it" past the screening and were selected as one of the 4 firms to present at the monthly regional road show to all their investors. All I needed to do was send in my check for $6,000. Can you guess my response :)

I recently mentioned my unfortunate experience to one of the regional leaders and they were shocked and genuinely sincere in wanting to make changes so that doesn't happen again. To be fair, I'll post again to update any progress I hear about.

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