search: results update below


browse funds: selections are stored



recently rated:

Rated by 7
3.1
 

top rated funds:

Rated by 12
4.1

Rated by 12
4.0
 

Rated by 11
4.0
 

Rated by 15
4.0

Rated by 41
3.9

Rated by 11
3.8

Rated by 44
3.8

Rated by 106
3.8

Rated by 32
3.8

Rated by 32
3.8

Rated by 64
3.7

Rated by 23
3.7

Rated by 27
3.7

Rated by 11
3.6

Rated by 18
3.6

Rated by 10
3.6
 

Rated by 62
3.6

Rated by 21
3.5

Rated by 12
3.5
 

Rated by 30
3.5

Rated by 28
3.4

Rated by 19
3.4

Rated by 14
3.4
 

Rated by 49
3.4
 

Rated by 16
3.4
 

Rated by 10
3.4

Rated by 13
3.4

Rated by 16
3.4

Rated by 60
3.4

Rated by 17
3.4

Please take a moment and make a financial contribution to TheFunded. If we have helped you, help us with resources to further grow the both the site and our entrepreneur training program, The Founder Institute.

Member Post

TheFunded.com is an online community of over 20,000 CEOs, Founders and entrepreneurs to discuss fundraising, rate and review angel investors and venture capitalists, and discuss strategies to grow a startup business. Enjoy the site, and be sure to join us at our Founder Showcase events to meet the community.

Sign-up for Membership

0
Agree
0
Disagree

An Example of the Madness

TheFunded.com Open Letter

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-12

PUBLIC:

In the interest of putting my money where my mouth is (so to speak), I am including in this post a link to a YouTube video of my last pitch. Let me set the stage for you:

There is no shortage of pitching contests and groups that will take your money and promise you to put you in front of VC's and angels. They'll tell you that they will help you with your presentation; that rubbing shoulder with other entrepreneurs is somehow an advantage or a worthwhile way to spend your money; they'll even give you "access" to free "coaching" from 'best in the word' coaches and people (that turn out just to be their buddies).

Here was the forum of this particular circle jerk: You have to demo your product to 'the crowd' that attends. They all have fake money and they can invest in you. The top 5 of the top 10 startups that get the most crowd money get to pitch to a panel of VC's for 4 minutes.

When you sign up to do this, they give you a sheet that gives you some pointers on what kinds of things to cover in 4 minutes. This includes who you are, the problem, your product, your team, the business model, the channel/partners...I think that's it. Yeah, in four minutes. Ok.

Then, after the 4 minutes, they ask you questions for 2 minutes and then give you feedback for 4 minutes. THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW IN THIS!!!!! I'm here to pitch you! I don't want your opinion of my pitch - I want you to say "yes I'm interested in learning more" or "no, take a hike". Argh. I'll proceed to show you why it's NEVER enough for these guys. Ever.

So I pitch (http://youtu.be/3lTxsv-CyoA). I included everything they asked. I did it in under 4 minutes (because if you go over, THAT'S what they'll criticize - they need to find something). After my pitch, they ask me a couple of questions (that demonstrated to me they didn't listen much). Then they gave me feedback for 4 minutes. During this feedback, I can't respond.

HAD THEY GIVEN ME THE 4 MINUTES THEY SPEND CRITICIZING ME, I COULD HAVE EXPLAINED THE BUSINESS TO THEM BETTER!!!! How is it possible to explain my business in 4 minutes in such a way that you won't have ANY questions?! This format is grossly flawed. I don't even think THEY understand it. As you can see in the video, they were not interested in learning more. They all said "that's very interesting, and I like what you're doing. But I would have liked to hear more about demand/security/privacy/team. OK THEN - GIVE ME AN APPOINTMENT AND I'LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

In case you didn't get it above, here is the link: http://youtu.be/3lTxsv-CyoA

Let me expand on my business really quick: I believe that I have figured out what people have been trying to for decades. I have found a way to make "online receipts" a reality for consumers (so you never have to worry about saving your receipts from your brick and mortar shopping). This reality enables a whole new game for merchants: We can look at consumer behavior at the LINE ITEM level across MULTIPLE merchants. This CANNOT be done today to this level of detail and accuracy. It is a massive game changer and we have been working with people like Walmart, Eddie Bauer, Capital One, American Express, BBDO, NRF, Experian, etc. It's not like we're sitting in a garage with an idea. But still, EVERY VC tells us that we're "too early". Never mind our channel development, team development, legal/patent work, market positioning, partners, and $500k invested thus far. We're too early?

What the hell does "early stage" mean then?!?!?!

Anyway, here I am. This is my pitch and my story. And it's not good enough. I'm convinced it doesn't matter what I have. If they don't know me or my team, they're not interested. They can't think for themselves enough to look at the market, truly look at what you have (for more than 4 minutes), and see if you really got it figured out.

However, look up Blippy.com. It's a great example of a company that got $13M before they had a product or a single customer. They essentially closed down. Look at Lemon.com - they got $12M before they had a product or any customers. They're our competitor but they have massively inferior technology and a terrible value prop.

We've nailed it for the consumer, the merchant, the credit card company, the bank - everyone that touches our solution is a winner. We spent 3 years developing it and we JUST started hitting the market to sell it. But it's not good enough. "Go get Walmart or Target and we'll look at what you have" says the VC. Wow. You guys are the biggest idiots in the room and don't even know it. I'm done with San Fran - you don't deserve me or my business.

(Except for this week. I have 2 more circle jerks to attend and I decided I'm TOTALLY changing my approach. It's going to be quite fun - I'm going to give them something they probably have never seen before. I'll let you know how it goes, but as far as traditionally pitching my business: no more.)

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-12 11:27:47

...dammit I can't spell when I get typing fast...

Posted by CloudCEO on 2012-08-12 12:48:28

Why not stop with the dog and pony shows and pitch to real investors?

Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-12 13:16:18

Pitching is more art than science. Could be receipts aren't sexy right now. Could be you aren't explaining it right. Hard to say what makes an idea fundable, but you need to figure it out. There is much anger in your post and while I understand it can be frustrating, you need to calm down and keep at it.

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-12 17:02:53

A couple of fair points. But before you start tearing into me, I shared this to demonstrate my experience and what others are going through as well in this particular space. This is real world experience and they are 'real' investors. They're the ones putting on a dog and pony show. These guys are representing some of the top VC's in San Fran. But for those of us that don't have warm intro's to these guys, these pitching events are the only means we have to get any attention. It just turns out they don't work.
The reality is that you can only explain so much in 4 minutes, and that is really only enough time to get someone interested, not explain the whole business.
Whether receipts are sexy or not: I know they're not. I really do. And that is a problem when we're compared to flashy cool technology. But there is NOTHING more game changing than collecting analytic data at the line item consumer level. All merchants, analysts, and marketers get this. So the question I have for investors is: Do you want something sexy, or do you want to make a shit-ton of money?
It's a fair question, because there are a lot of things that aren't sexy but make a tremendous amount of money. My pitch - all 5 versions of it - are more than enough to get interest from people if they were really interested. When I pitch, I get a lot of feedback from marketers, analytics, and other people that want to help make connections, get involved, blah blah blah.
But when it comes to the people with money (or the ones that pretend they do), they have shiny object syndrome and don't put much thought into what is in front of them. So maybe my pitch sucks, or it's my fault for not explaining it just right.
I would rather spend my time with potential customers and big merchants. Money can help with that effort, but i'm spending company resources, time, and most importantly my mental health (I'm not an angry person) trying to get interest from these guys. I just encourage other startups to FIND a way to get to their own money or fund through customers.

Posted by htroche on 2012-08-12 19:52:09

First, make sure you are pitching to real early stage VCs. Many VCs firms say they do early stage, but by that they mean they give seed money to their EIRs and people they have worked with in the past, they don't mean that they give seed money to people they don't know, even if you have a warm introduction. On the other hand, there are funds that do invest in early stage deals they get via a warm introduction.

With this in mind, here are a few funds that I personally know did seed investments in companies they meet via a warm introduction: Andreesseen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, True Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Lightspeed.

One more note, it is highly unlikely you will get any serious traction with investors you meet at the type of shows you are going to.

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-13 00:30:13

Thank you for the continued feedback. It's hard to throw yourself out there and let people see you in action, but (for better or worse) I want to help others struggling with the same thing. So what if I sacrifice a little of my dignity...

Posted by Livu on 2012-08-13 00:31:35

VC CJ = Venture Capital Circle Jerk. It fits.

While I can appreciate your frustration and desire to stick it to them, make certain that you don't spend precious time & energy...they're just one more roadblock thrown in your path.

Posted by jplunkett on 2012-08-13 10:41:53

If you have a deck I can forward it to some people that have interest in this area jim dot plunkett at gmail

Posted by pogo on 2012-08-13 11:22:02

I watched your video - all of it - and thanks for posting it. I'm not a tech guy (I'm a medical device person), but I like your idea and understand your frustration. For what it's worth, "sexy" isn't the be all and end all for deals. Ask Zynga's IPO investors how their sexy company worked out...

It is unclear to me if this group is meant to provide a critique or meant to find you money. Perhaps both. But these are their rules - 4 minute presento, 2 minutes of questions, 4 minutes of critique - and that's what you get. No, it's not representative of a "full pitch" to a major VC firm, but it is a decent indicator and a good way to distill your central ideas down to their most essential elements. In any event, experience is always good - I'm sure your last pitch was far better than your first.

I do not think you should give up and keep pitching.

Posted by nkannan on 2012-08-13 11:23:03

I am a bit perplexed. As I understand your business model requires large institutional adoption of your solution for scaling up rapidly. If they are truly excited then one or two key players such as the credit card companies or the big box retailers can provide you traction and possibly even your financing. They are constantly looking for ways to lower the cost per transaction and derive more business intel. Why do you need VC investors?

Posted by svinnovator on 2012-08-13 13:01:48

I've been to bunches of those pitch festivals from Silicon Valley north to SF. They are a form of entertainment and all types of attendees can sometimes get a useful idea for their own project. Be selfish. These events are for you to get stage experience and you may find ideas from the VC's or other presenters. I've found those ideas for my projects can be more valuable than money. (I do not mean stealing other entrepreneur's projects.)

I prefer industry money for early stage. You get involved with people with a clue and that is a big help. You do not want dumb money until you have nailed your concept and need only money for rapid growth.

Of course try Angel List. Also, I've found that the right email pitch to carefully targeted VC's will often get their attention with no warm introduction at all.

Posted by carlwimm on 2012-08-13 13:22:13

All:

There are about two dozen topics and sub topics in this post and in the ten or so comments.

Let me try and get to a few of them:

1) the circle jerkers - get over yourself.
I have developed project sin more than 6 industries and, like bad weather, the CJs are always with us. They talk about your deal and other deals and yesterday's deal but never their own.
Advice : enjoy the coffee, learn that they CJ because their own efforts are "limp" and move on.
Tactic : use them to find out who the real movers are. They will know because they talk about them all the time.

2) the bait and switch - so what else is new
Baiting you in with a "chance to pitch your project to real investors" and switching it to some, warm and fuzzy, CJ is a time honoured tradition. It, like all such events, does not have to be a total loss.
Express some real interest in the opinions of the CJers on the panel, I will bet you that when you reflect on their comments, they will have let a nugget through - without knowing that they did so. Perhaps they name dropped and exposed a real "man of influence". and so on.
Just take the bait and switch as an operational loss. Philosophy helps when despair beckons.

3) make damn sure that you have a patent app on file before you explain anything to anyone - trust no one.

4) Get Walmart, etc. etc - okay, you met a first class moron
It won't be the last. One of the nice things about money, once you are massively liquid or appear to broker it (as a VC does) is that it is a great life. You sit, on high - just like a Supreme Court Judge - and watch the multitudes scurry in front of you in supplication. And then, you get to drop "pronouncements" which are the last word on the subject.
For a 32 year old MBA who is a junior, assistant, deputy partner at some VC firm, this is heady stuff ... hubris on steroids.
He is an idiot. If the VCs that I have heard speak are right (that there are ten good projects a year in the whole USA) then this clown just pushed away a promising lead until it was totally de risked ... which means he becomes about as important as the fourth guy from the left, in the second row, of the road production of Guys and Dolls.
If you have a great lead, jump on it. It will not wait until all the ducks line up. Only an inexperienced idiot would not know this.

5) having fun while CJing - beautiful, now you got it.
It is very hard to take a V C seriously. Smile when he lathers up the conversation with generous dollops of VC BS. Ask intelligent questions such as "No problem getting WalMart AND Target. After I have them, and a profit of 20 million a year, no problem with just giving you the company for free, along with a personal cheque of mine for 5 million, just for taking it".
Smile, laugh, thank him for his "wonderful advice". Have some fun.

6) QUOTE, from you - So maybe my pitch sucks, or it's my fault for not explaining it just right. END QUOTE.
Actually this is not true. You just have not found the right people. Someone with years in the business who is well attuned to industry issues, would see what you have developed and know instantly just how valuable it is.
If he is also an "influencer" or has access ot them, you are almost there.

7) from htroche - make sure you are pitching to real early stage VCs
If the VC fund is over 25 million (or max 50 million) they are NOT an early stage anything. Period, full stop, no question about it.

Just some thoughts - best wishes

Posted by 1seriesfan on 2012-08-13 13:44:29

I only watched the 4 minutes of pitch.

I get that you have smart people on your team and that you've identified a market.

What I didn't get was:

Competitive advantage.
Barriers to entry.
Pipeline.
How quickly will you be in the market to test your product.

And while you talk about Blippy, Lemon, etc., you totally missed the elephant in the room -- Square. In my mind, that's your real competition (not to mention that at least one addtional company, Flint Mobile, has raised that "impossible" VC money and could be in this space)

But Square specifically with their wallet product is aimed right at your idea -- and they have a LOT of traction.

In the end, though, your 4 minute pitch lacked the key bullet points to raise it above "smart guys with a good idea" which is a lot different than "guys that have a good idea they can execute on."

But first work on answering the four weak spots in your pitch and I think -- assuming you have good answers there -- you will get a lot more success talking to VCs.

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-13 15:08:12

....and this is why I struggle with this kind of venue. Many people don't understand the difference between the payment industry and the retail POS industry. Square 'can' be a competitor, just like Visa, MC, and the rest. But getting at P.O.S. data is a retailer-by-retailer ordeal. NO ONE entity has access to it. Square can make headway into this space using their version of a POS system, but they're not going after Home Depot's receipts, Kmart's receipts, or McDonald's receipts.

I get the same questions over and over and YES a good presentation should be able to address all of them, but I can't do it in 4 minutes. I have a double sided business - I have to answer the MERCHANT value proposition, the CONSUMER value proposition, the technology issues surrounding it, the IP around it (which I did mention in the Q/A part that we have a patent pending on how we identify you in our system without your interaction at the point of sale), AND we have to cover privacy, security, and various regulations.

AND most people don't understand retail, let alone the difference between retail and payment systems. I'm not whining, but I'm learning I can't explain crap in 4 minutes - I can barely touch on the problems we're solving.

I have a 2 minute pitch tonight and a 2 minute pitch on Thursday. I've changed my approach, and we like it better, but it's kind of a "less is more" pitch. We'll see.

Posted by anonymous on 2012-08-13 16:05:06

In evil Hollywood, pitching is a notorious art form. Not all great pitches lead to great movies, i.e., "Snakes on a Plane." Keep it simple, raise a mystery, play your listeners like they are a 20 lb. Bass on 5 lb test fly line.
When "Sesame Street"'s producers were drafting their first grant proposal, they'd take turns reading it aloud to find holes in it. That's where we got "one of these things is not like the other."

Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-13 16:06:03

Keep at it, you're close to raising your round.

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-14 13:46:49

***UPDATE****

For those interested, here is a video of my updated pitch at last night's event: http://youtu.be/7xNkuTeqPYI Sorry for the sound quality, but it should come through.

I totally changed my approach. I recognized what they were really interested in and focused on those 2 things: 1) Is this a viable and highly scalable business? and 2) Can this guy do it/is he worth writing a check to?

The point of the 2 minute pitch (in this particular forum) was to get their interest, although they kept trying to turn it into an academic pitching lesson. You'll notice I didn't let them do that in this video. I was much more comfortable. This was my FIRST pitch that was unscripted. I KNOW my business better than anyone, and can articulate it very well. I just get nervous I'll forget something and so I memorize my pitch, which sounds mechanical and not as good. So there's a good lesson: Be yourself and just present. I did better having a few points to talk off of than memorizing 2 minutes worth.

Anyway, of 10 presenters I won first place. I did get some leads and people were interested in learning more, and I'll follow up with those, but i'm still not confident I'm talking to the right people.

I just wanted to share with others the evolution of how this works and my journey to raise money. I wish I could have seen stuff like this before I started raising money, so I hope this is helping someone.

Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-14 16:34:16

I agree that one has to be careful about what companies "CAN" get in a space but aren't in it. One can argue that Google could get into any space, for example.

But when you ignore things like Square's POS inroads with Starbucks, and PayPal's drive into Home Depot and try and make the argument "they aren't doing it today" you scare off a lot of people because, honestly -- and this is just my viewpoint -- you are not being honest about the market you are involved in.

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-14 18:50:23

#18: Fair, but here's more information: Square and Paypal are in the payment space. Their model is to make money on transactions, and they are retailer agnostic: they care about swipes, not merchants. I have friends at paypal (in the group that is pushing into Home Depot and the 20 others) and I know their strategy. They're not going after our space.

Another note: merchants are afraid of these companies collecting their data, because they know that these companies want to own the relationship with the consumer. They don't care about the merchant. That is not a talking point: one of the largest retailers in the country told us that is why they prefer our solution to what's out there now. (yes, I'm working on getting them onboard....geesh....it takes time...)

The BEST thing that could happen for me is that Square and others penetrate the space and get merchants talking about mobile/online receipts. Yes, our spaces touch, but we are not after the same thing. Square doesn't have an offering that integrates with NCR POS systems, or IBM, or NEC, Fujitsu, Microsoft RMS, Quickbooks, Magento, GSI Commerce, etc.

No one here is interested in my entire business, but I want to at least address the points made. We're on our game, we know the market, we know the trends. Our solution is the best, but we suffer from not being able to get it out there. Classic startup problems, but we're still fighting...

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-14 18:54:22

..dang it, one more thing:

When a merchant emails a receipt to a customer, it is a security breach for them. That is why I said it is great for Paypal and Square to force the issue down the merchants throat. They are paving the way for a secure delivery system (which is us).

Here's why: The merchant sends a receipt to the consumer (that is, IF he cared enough at the time to give his email address). The customer gets an inbox full of receipts, most of them unimportant. THEN a company comes along and says "hey, we'll organize those for you if you sign up for our email-reading service." Now that company can screen-scrape the data the merchants are sending out. They have free data from the merchant with ZERO restrictions on how they use it.

This is what prompted many of the large retailers we've spoken with to say "We'll NEVER email receipts. It's a massive security hole."

But if Square, et. al., gain traction, they won't have a say in the matter. They'll have to do *something*, and we're a better alternative.

Posted by innovator94086 on 2012-08-15 02:52:39

I think that these pitch events have their purpose, but that purpose is not really to raise money -- it is to provide opportunities to practice your pitch and try out different ways of talking about your business and getting exposed to the kind of random questions that do come up in real pitches. Think of it as like doing practice interviews when looking for a job. You can get some good feedback from 4 minutes of practice interviewing in front of a random group of hiring managers, but chances are that random group doesn't have a job fit for you. Occasionally you might get lucky and someone knows about an open offer for your skills, but you aren't likely to get a job on the spot. If you want a particular job, you are more likely to find it by pinpointing what you want and finding companies that do that, and targeting specific managers. But your practice may help you prepare for the unexpected questions.

Similarly, doing public pitching because you don't know individuals to reach out to (for more than 4 minutes of time), is not only lazy it is not likely to deliver the investors you want.

Team is a huge part of what creates trust for people -- far more than "a good idea". If one of the members of your team has a pre-existing relationship with an investor prospect, chances are good that you can get more than 4 minutes with them without participating in a public pitch event. If you have people on your team with a track record of success in the industry, that should carry weight too -- and if they have been successful, they people they made richer before are usually likely to want them to do it again.

If you are doing pitch events and expecting more, you might find the best solution is to add someone to your team who has connections and a track record with some investors.

Posted by bpflug on 2012-08-15 13:26:44

I watched both videos and disagree with the VC comments downplaying your value proposition to consumers.

You have a solid sounding concept that is attractive to consumers, at least those who:
1.) Don't want to manage a sea of electronic and paper receipts -and-
2.) Cannot or don't want to subsidize their:
a. Merchants when it's time to return / exchange
b. Employers when it's time to reimburse (see Neat.com)
c. Governments when it's time to deduct

Isn't Web 3.0 (data portability + attention economy + semantic Web) inherently two-sided? Consolidating information about "me" from the corporate silos that generate most of it has difficult to refute value. But it must also have clear value to the vendors, hence the two-sided situation.

Sure two-sided is hard. But don't pioneering software providers and financiers need to go there in order to create attractive-enough value to the consumer masses, especially considering our overwhelmed lives and waning attention?

So my opinion about your consumer value prop is this. Please don't ask me to join 50 value-card clubs, memorize 50 account logins only to get bombarded with waves of mail, email, texts and phone calls. Even if I didn’t mind those attention-pulverizing activities, and I do, it's infeasible to expect me to do the heavy lifting of consolidation. I'd really rather not stitch-together my paperless receipts across sites.

I'd rather stick to the shoebox, or use your receipts aggregating / consolidating service. I'd even pay a couple bucks a month for it.

Posted by Iggy on 2012-08-18 21:15:04

Interesting thread, Garfield. A little bit of a rant in the original post, but your willingness to interact in the comments made it more useful.

I have a few comments:

1. You wrote "If they don't know me or my team, they're not interested." I believe that to be 90%+ true. That still leaves the 0-10%. Keep plugging.

2. All angels and most VCs will evaluate a pitch for a consumer business from the perspective of the end consumer. If they are not in your target demographic, you have to tell them that over and over again... and you still face an uphill battle. My advice to all entrepreneurs is to pick businesses for which angels and VCs are the primary demographic (wealthy, ego-centric, pampered, somewhat lazy). Your chance of funding will go way up.

3. I would use your product and I would pay for it, but it took me too long to figure that out. Refer to my previous point (2) and make it personal. The potential investors NEED your service to make their sheltered lives easier. It's all about THEM. You're going to save them TIME and hassle, which is worth just as much to them as money. I would sell the investors on that first. Then, you can explain why the service provers and retailers also benefit so everybody makes lots of money.

Posted by hiddenfounder on 2012-08-23 02:16:23

The problem is your fanny pack.

Posted by wiseleo on 2012-08-27 07:09:55

I watched your pitches very intently with pauses and multiple rewinds. I shouldn't have to do that. :)

My feedback is more on delivery.

Your #1 problem is that you are speaking too fast to understand what you are saying. You must slow down.

I have that same problem, but I learned to slow down when I am in my "presentation mode".

Your Ignite pitch was a disaster. The first 5 seconds are impossible to understand. It was apparently about how the idea came to you. That is not really relevant. You slowed down at 11 seconds, then sped up to unintelligible level until you started talking about toilet paper. Umm... What the...??? Your pitch starts at around 33 seconds where you calm down and start defining the problem. I don't think I would be discussing the data sales aspect of the deal. For one thing, that immediately sets off privacy alarms. I am not squeamish about privacy, but others are.

What you could have done is mentioned specific merchants who agreed to "pilot" your solution today.

You started talking extremely fast. Thankfully, you slowed down later, but you immediately lost people as you started your pitch.

You don't have time to talk about yourself. None at all. Those who believe in your product will ask you about your personal credentials later. You mention that you are from Idaho and you are talking about motorcycles. That is not relevant to your product.

I did a 1-minute pitch at TechCrunch Disrupt, so I am a little familiar with the pressure of having only 4 minutes. ;)

You answered a question that was very difficult to hear with "the merchant pushes receipts to us". I can promise you that no one except your competitors understands what that means. Your answer should have been more like "When the merchant's cash register generates a receipt, a copy of information printed on that receipt gets transmitted to our servers without slowing down the checkout process. The customer's credit card number never gets sent to us." Your answer to "how many customers you have now" was too evasive. Answer it next time with "We have a regional chain consisting of 10 stores in pilot phase of deployment".

Looking at your second pitch to VC Taskforce, we have a different scenario.

You opened with the fact that you have a viable and scalable business. That shouldn't need to be said. I could not understand what you said about the second issue. That was too fast.

The second pitch did not convey the value proposition at all. I tried really hard to listen to it a few times and it was still not possible to understand.

My advice to you is to spend about 3 months at Toastmasters to get better at public speaking. 3 months should be enough to see a substantial difference, based on my experience observing our new members.

Secondly, distill your presentation to 1 minute. Eliminate every unnecessary word. Have an 8-second, a 30-second, and a 60-second version of what ReadyReceipts is all about. When you can do it in 1 minute, 4 minutes will seem like luxury. That is very tough, but it is a necessary skill.

My presentation would be something like this.

"Today, whenever I want to return a microwave that's not working back to Target, I need to bring my receipt. Even though they have a sophisticated system that theoretically permits them to look up my purchases, they still want this piece of paper. Target has a 90-day return policy. How many of you can find your receipt after 3 months? What about returning a dress to Nordstrom? How about bringing back a laptop back to Costco, which has a 90-day return policy for laptops?

[At this point, that is about 30 seconds] - establish consumer pain associated with early failure of products within relatively long return periods of time.

Ready receipts seamlessly integrates with the merchant's existing electronic cash registers without slowing down the checkout process. The merchant informs the consumer their receipt is now available online and the consumer can sign up to be a member of ReadyReceipts at any time after the transaction is complete.

[At this point, I am at 50 seconds] - explain ease of integration without using technical jargon and lack of disruption of existing processes. The speed of checkout is vital to merchants. Since the consumer can signup after the purchase, they don't clog the line.

The consumer no longer needs to keep track of their receipts. We provide the merchant with valuable purchasing behaviors intelligence that they desperately want.

[By now, I am at 60 seconds] - quick summary of two benefits for both parties.
"

This is a quick draft. I would probably revise this a lot more for an actual pitch.

Notice that I am not bothering with "Hi, my name is ______. I am from ______". You don't have time for that. Focus on the core message.

Look me up if you want to practice some more. I am wiseleo at gmail. :)

P.S. Tell your videographer to hold the phone horizontally, please. If possible, wear a wireless lavaliere mic. It looks like these events are setup by someone who is clueless about audio. :(