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TiE Hosts Successful Workshop on “How To Pitch to Investors

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On November 29, 2017 entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors gathered at Houston Exponential (previously known as Houston Technology Center) for a workshop on how to pitch to investors put together by TiE Houston and Houston Exponential. The focus of the event was to help entrepreneurs learn from about what investors are looking for in presentations from investors themselves. The whole event culminated with the participants practicing their pitches and getting immediate feedback from the same investors. Kicking off the event was a welcome from Houston Exponential’s Executive Vice Chairman, Paul Frison followed by Dr. Arun Pasrija, President of TiE Houston and CEO of CHR Solutions.
First to present was Bob Prochnow, Executive Director of the Technology Collaboration Center. He navigated the participants on how to build and communicate their value proposition. This begins by understanding that a company’s success depends on providing value to all key stakeholders. Identifying who those stakeholders are isn’t always clear but a valuable exercise. Therefore, after the presentation the participants were encouraged to share their value proposition with the group who provided valuable feedback to consider.
A new topic to the workshop this year, Negotiating Term Sheets, was presented by Gregory Phillips of Phillips Kaiser PLLC. He shared the most common founder negotiating mistakes and how to avoid them, key term sheet provisions, pre-money valuation, and many many more topics. With no topic being off the table, the participants took full advantage to ask questions they had about navigating terms with potential investors. His biggest emphasis to the entrepreneurs was for them keep a focus on whether an investor creating too many obstacle is one they want to have a long term relationship with. No deal is so good that you can’t walk away.

Participant receiving feedback after practicing newly created elevator pitch from Courtenay Siegfried, Alice and fellow investors

Participant receiving feedback after practicing newly created elevator pitch from Courtenay Siegfried, Alice and fellow investors

John Reale leads workshop session on Building and Award Winning Pitch Deck

John Reale leads workshop session on Building and Award Winning Pitch Deck

After a break for networking, the only panel of the day was started by a short presentation by serial entrepreneur, Ashok Rao. The environment for investing in start-ups seems bleak based on the statistics but the silver lining is the various Angel Investors that are beginning to make a big impact on the Houston eco-system. He then joined fellow panelists and angel investors Keith Kreuer (Red House Associates), Courtney Siegfried (Alice), and Michael Raspino ( May River Venture/TiE Angels) for a moderated discussion by TMCx Director, Erik Halvorsen. Each panelist shared their unique perspectives on the process for getting angel investing. How does the average deal start? A causal meeting or introduction. Keith Kreuer encouraged the participants to take advantage of any opportunities to network, like during the breaks of the workshop. While all of their deals seem to be sourced in a variety of ways, they all agreed that genuineness goes a long way, especially remembering that angels are investing their own money.
After an advantageous networking break, participants dove right into the Elevator Pitch presentation by Mike Evans of Technology Startup Consulting followed by Station Houston CEO, John Reale’s presentation on Building a Winning Investor Pitch Deck. Participants learned how to take ninety seconds and one hundred and ninety words to light investors up. By learning the essential components of their script, knowing their value proposition, and knowing what counts to their audience! The goal was to make sure the participants knew how to make their elevator pitch clear, concise, compelling, and convincing.

BUS_ TiE _WorkbooksThe evening concluded with the participants practicing the pitches they had been learning to curate all afternoon. In front of their peers and accredited investors, they gave their best ninety second elevator pitch. Over an hour was spent presenting and receiving valuable feedback. At the end, it was clear that the entrepreneurs were leaving with a stronger sense of what investors were looking for and felt better armed with the tools to take their pitches to the next level.
TiE Houston is one of 61 chapters of TiE Global which is an organization solely dedicated to the fostering of entrepreneurship. This year TiE is celebrating their 25th anniversary with its 11,000 members and 2800 charter members making it the largest network of entrepreneurs in the world. Charter Members, who are successful entrepreneurs and/or business executives, make the pillars of each chapters. They commit their time to help next generation of entrepreneurs – a “leveraged give back” which creates jobs, economic activities and wealth in the community. Houston chapter has a strong and vibrant charter member community helping meet’s TiE’s mission and making it a meaningful part of Houston’s start up eco system. The next and final event for 2017 will be taking place on Wednesday, December 6th from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at City View Lofts. More information available on www.houston.tie.org.


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