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Learning to pitch to investors: Pitchfest Autumn 18

Two elevators are filled with businesspeople that talk financial

© Shutterstock

2017 was a record year for start-up investment, with UK companies raising $7.7bn - more than double the 2016 figure, according to Dealroom data.


Now a fresh cohort of 22 ambitious companies - selected from an initial list of more than 50 candidates - from the medtech, cleantech, AI, blockchain and platform-as-a-service sectors - have entered the training phase of Pitchfest Autumn 18 to improve their pitching skills and boost their chances of securing investment.   


EEN’s flagship pitch training and showcase programme in the East of England has contributed to several major success stories (link to EEN success stories) and created a genuine buzz in the angel investor ecosystem. Participating companies have raised in excess of £15m to date.


This highly interactive training stage runs over two days in October followed by a Selection Day when, based on the most compelling presentations, the 15 most innovative companies will be selected to pitch their business ideas to investors at the Showcase Day in November.

Ian Tracey, head of access to funding and finance at The Knowledge Transfer Network, and Emma Fadlon, supporting KTN’s early stage investment activities, work with the EEN team at St John’s Innovation Centre for the fifth edition of Pitchfest to help businesses perfect execution of their investment pitches.


Getting the story right

Pitchfest training is a fascinating and challenging process where participating companies not only focus on the startup’s end game but face the harsh reality of raising funds where in a portfolio of ten companies, five will fail.


On this fundraising journey, companies learn to drive out any ambiguities in their messages and get their story right focusing on a compelling value proposition. As Ian Tracey and Emma Fadlon observe, the technology can often be the easy bit.

Failing to prepare means preparing to fail

Companies leave the first day of the training stage with valuable tips on how to clarify and enhance their presentations along with user-friendly templates guiding them how to design a 30-second elevator pitch and an investment pitch deck. The second day of training is all about pitching, peer critique and refining presentations.

For more updates on Pitchfest, follow the #PitchReady18 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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