Chandler Innovations Leverages Real-World Experts and Experiences to Help Clients
The deadline is coming up soon for the biannual Pitch Power program to teach startups how to attract investment dollars. The program is led by our own Tom Fulcher, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Chandler Innovations, who has helped his clients raise capital and has extensive experience as an investment expert, business consultant and former CEO.
Tom’s career has ranged from growing his own businesses to leading projects and divisions at internationally known companies like Colgate-Palmolive and Heinz. As the facilitator of the 8-week ‘Pitch Power’ program, he shares his unique insights to help new businesses put their best foot forward when presenting to seed, angel and venture capital investors.
“Successfully pitching for capital is a combination of knowledge, CEO presentation style, planning and practice, practice, practice,” he says. “It’s also about entrepreneurs identifying the right audience and understanding their business development timing.”
By working with Tom and the entire Chandler Innovations team, participants learn the 10 key components of any great pitch and how to assemble them into a ten-minute presentation. Uniquely, the program also offers participants a chance to hear first-hand experiences from some of Arizona’s most active investors and entrepreneurs, and to get feedback from these experts about their pitches.
March 16 is the deadline for startups to apply for the next Pitch Power cohort, which will begin on March 29. The program is free; clients of Innovations and Chandler-based startups are given priority status, but all Arizona-based startups are eligible to apply. The cohort is limited to seven companies to ensure each participant receives individualized attention and feedback.
During the program, the startups meet weekly for about three to four hours with the Innovations team to discuss pitch concepts, learn what investors care about, and refine their talking points. They incorporate these into their “pitch deck,” a brief presentation that not only discusses their business concept and its potential market, but also introduces the business team, their strategy to be competitive in the marketplace and anticipated revenues.
Pitch Power also helps combat some of the common misconceptions entrepreneurs have about soliciting investment funding, said Fulcher, who has more than 25 years of marketing, management and business development experience.
“The biggest one is that when you pitch to investors, it’s not a sales pitch for your product,” he said. “It’s understandable; they’ve developed this great idea and they want to tell you all about it. Often in their enthusiasm, they forget that when you are dealing with investors, you are pitching a business and team.”
Despite what many new entrepreneurs think, it’s not easy to obtain funding. Local Arizona investors say they reject about 98% of the deals they review each year.
“By helping startups understand how investors think about the entrepreneurs’ business and how to position their pitch to anticipate investor questions and concerns,” said Christine K. Bailey, executive director at Chandler Innovations, “we hope to elevate their chances of success.”
Pitch Power is designed to bridge the gap between startup entrepreneurs and the investment community. As such, Chandler Innovations invites active investors and experts to the final pitch presentation, giving entrepreneurs real-time feedback and investors exposure to Chandler’s up and coming startup companies.
“Investors are looking for scalable businesses with a large enough market, led by a founder or CEO they believe can execute on a well-thought-out plan,” said Bailey. “Tom is an expert in helping entrepreneurs understand and present these fundamental components, so they can have a meaningful conversation with the people who can ultimately fund their business.”
The program is not for every startup. While all founders and CEOs can benefit from improving how they tell their business story, Pitch Power is designed specifically for startups poised for growth.
“In fact, any growth phase company that wishes to seek equity capital or compete in pitch competitions can apply,” Fulcher said. “We’ve actually had participants come to us after they’ve pitched or competed in events to polish their pitch.”
For more information check out our Pitch Power page here.