FundingUniverse Speedpitching Events: Raise Money for Your Startup

FundingUniverse.com now has about 1,000 angel investors in virtually every state. The company, which I helped found in early 2005, is holding its 5th speedpitching event today in Sandy, Utah. It has held events in 6 or more states and has plans to continue to expand.

I’ve attended several of these events representing the small fund we have at Provo Labs, as a potential investor.

The coaching and practice sessions have been extremely helpful. Imagine trying to get your entire business plan onto a 1-page summary that will be distributed. And then imagine being forced to tell your story in 4 minutes. That’s what all the entrepreneurs learn how to do.

After the 4 minute pitch, the investors get 3 minutes for Q&A. Then you go to the next table and give your pitch again. You do this 5 times before lunch, and then 5 times after lunch.

The goal is a followup meeting. The staff at FundingUniverse say that the vast majority of companies that have attended these meetings have had follow up meetings with the angel investors who heard their initial pitch.

One of my friends who has done two of these events said the most important advice he has is to memorize your pitch word for word. He and his co-presenters did this but the passion for their business still came through loud and clear.

A week after the February 2006 speedpitching event, he gave the pitch again to a strategic investor and raised $4.1 million. He credited going through the process of boiling down the company’s story into its very essence and memorizing it and giving it so many times for helping him close the deal.

I know 3 entrepreneurs who are presenting today, and I wish them all well.

I’m going to invite the staff from FundingUniverse to do some training for the 30+ companies at Provo Labs Academy, since many of them will one day seek funding from angel investors. Hopefully we’ll get that scheduled in the next week or two.

5 Comments

  1. I’ve scratched my head about FundingUniverse. It seems that their business model is bit wacky. They expect would-be entrepreneurs to pay for services. These are the people that are looking for money, not looking to spent it (yet). Their site says they have 7,000 entrepreneurs signed up and 2000 business plans. With the tools they have, I would think they should have 7,000 entrepreneurs and 7,000 business plans. Why don’t they have a free and slick online business plan training and writing tool that gets the would-be entrepreneur past his biggest hurdle before financing (where do I start with this business plan thingy?!). Why are they not offering all this stuff for free and just taking a cut when they make a match. That’s what Google does. I don’t pay Google a dime until someone with interest clicks. I have to right the ad and make it relevant–same thing should go with FundingUniverse as the vehicle that the entrepreneur uses to get the click. An angel “clicks” and bam, FundingUniverse gets paid and the entrepreneur gets funding.

    And why don’t they run a contest? Think of it: The contestants pay a $10 fee and put $100 in a FundingUniverse-managed account. The $10 fee goes to the grand prize kitty and the $100 is used over a 30 day period to start and run a business. The contestant with the most money earned in 30 days wins the pot. Everyone keeps whatever they end up with. Call it the FundingUniverse eChallenge. Run the contest every month. It’d be better than gambling! FundingUniverse provides tools (the social web stuff) for folks to follow any contestant, even give feedback, and viola! Put up podcasts and youtube videos on the leaders and people will be clambering to give it a try. Now there are 7 million entrepreneurs signed up instead of 7,000. And 100,000 Angels instead of 1,000.

    Are they intentionally putting a cap on this and keeping it small?

  2. Wow David!

    You do pack a wake up punch. As an entrepreneur, funding is one of those necessities that the most prepared and or privilideged receive. Often times it doesn’t seem fair. But in truth, most of the self-made billionaires and muli-millionaires come from very humble beginnings.

    I definately hear what you are saying. You’ve uncovered a few points.

    1) Funding Universe is a business
    2) Money makes money
    3) One must do what one must do to prepare for the ball (pitch)
    a) Visit Small Business Association website
    b) Visit SCORE
    c) Utilize as many free resources as you can before coming to the ball. (Pitch Meeting)
    4) I like the resources at Funding Universe better than Go Big Network
    5) Utilize all FREE and PAY information you can get
    6) Find a mentor willing to help you prepare
    7) Remember, there is always a way.
    8) Your story as to how you made it to the ball is sometimes what sets you apart. Use it.
    9) These temporary obstacles build character – Make it & You probably find a way to get anything your company needs.
    10) Winner take daily action.

    and remember Winston Churchil who said, “Never. Never. Never give up.” 😀

  3. ConnectBlogs » Blog Archive » Bill Reichert give

    […] Because of the demand from investors (and the fact that the quality of deals is constantly increasing), we have decided to host our events every other month in 2007 (in Utah). If you want to read blog posts from others about the speedpitching events, you can go here, here, or here. […]

  4. ConnectBlogs » Blog Archive » Bill Reichert give

    […] Because of the demand from investors (and the fact that the quality of deals is constantly increasing), we have decided to host our events every other month in 2007 (in Utah).

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