Informatics Ventures support Scotland’s technology entrepreneurs to create a joined up entrepreneur support and eco-system in Scotland.
Engage Invest Exploit is their annual flagship event, showcasing 60 of Scotland’s most exciting and innovative data-driven and informatics based high-growth ventures across specified sectors. It attracts an audience of over 1000 people including 250 UK, European and International investors. It has established a ‘must attend’ reputation in the Global calendar giving investors and serial technology entrepreneurs the opportunity to listen to and meet with a large number of Scotland’s high-potential, high-quality companies in a short space of time. Since EIE started the companies who have taken part have raised over £650m of investment between them.
Informatics Ventures approached me in 2010 because some of the companies exhibiting were struggling to pitch their ideas effectively to the investors attending. Informatics Ventures also wanted to start filming 1 minute elevator pitches to put on the event’s website to give investors an idea of what to expect. However, a lot of the pitches were too technical, complicated and delivered too quickly or running over time leaving investors confused and not ‘getting’ the businesses or their potential.
Informatics Ventures wanted to run a series of workshops for the entrepreneurs in Edinburgh before EIE where they would learn how to structure a 60 second ‘elevator’ pitch clearly and concisely, and deliver it with confidence both for being filmed as well as for general discussions with investors during the event.
The entrepreneurs involved came from a variety of backgrounds; some business, some academic, of all ages and mixed experience in presenting/pitching.
7 years ago the programme included 20 technology entrepreneurs. We split them into 4 groups of 5 and I ran 1 day workshops for each group over a couple of weeks in Edinburgh ahead of the pitches being filmed for the event. Working in small groups meant that I could quickly get through the programme with everyone in time for EIE, and benefitted the groups because they gave peer to peer feedback and gained the experience of learning from each other as well as having personal coaching from me.
The programme has evolved and grown and I have worked with the IV team to help develop and continuously improve the pitch training support.
There are now with 60 Scottish technology companies taking part and workshops have been run in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. The audience has also grown to 1000+ with the event being held in the McEwan Hall at the University of Edinburgh.
I prepare everyone to give a 60 second spotlight pitch on stage at the event. 9 of the entrepreneurs are chosen to give an extended 6 minute pitch to an investor panel followed by 6 minutes of Q&A and I work with those pitches too.
- An analysis of their communication style
- How to communicate consistently with authority and credibility
- How to pitch with confidence and be engaging
- Master apprehension and nerves
- Consistency, focus on their key messages
- Best practice preparation of notes
- Best practice pitch/slide preparation
Following the workshops we’ve received consistently positive feedback mainly around the confidence attendees feel afterwards, both in terms of how to deliver their pitch as well as how to structure and prepare it.
No matter how experienced some of the presenters have been all have found the workshop incredibly useful and have gained new skills.
EIE is a super way for companies to meet investors and start forging relationships with them and as a result many companies each year go on to gain funding, advice and build new relationships and contacts with partners and mentors.
Photograph Lesley Martin. With kind permission of Informatics Ventures.