- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 14 June 2012 04:06, Updated 14 June 2012 04:16
How did you get into venture capital?
Presumably because I have been the founder or co-founder of several technology rich businesses, including ones that have listed . . . entrepreneurs approached me for advice and financial assistance. I thought if I were to participate on the investing side it should be on a professional portfolio basis.
What was your best investment?
One of several in our funds is QRxPharma. We helped found this out of the University of Queensland in 2002, co-wrote the business plan, assisted the company to raise capital and hire exceptional people, listed it, and now have a company on the cusp of launching sales into a huge market.
What was your worst investment? What did you learn?
If you don’t have a healthy list of unsuccessful businesses in the technology commercialisation game you are a neophyte, not trying hard enough or pulling my leg. My casualties span IT, wireless and medtech. Almost universally, the technology worked but the management failed.
What makes a great pitch?
A great pitch usually starts with a single sentence that tells me what you do in words that my grandmother can understand. It will tell me what the customer pain is that you solve and why your product solves it. I am interested in the research you have done to prove the accessible market size. You will note the key milestones to be achieved and provide a solid forward cash flow that incorporates believable sales growth. You will describe the key people and the reason they will deliver. It is a bit old-fashioned but I usually find that those who have struggled through the process of writing a detailed business plan present with more credibility and can withstand in-depth questioning far better than those who think a PowerPoint is sufficient.
What are some common mistakes in pitching?
One of the biggest turn-offs for me is when a promoter tells me he or she is going build a business quickly, flick it off to a buyer and we are all going to make a lot of money. Another turn-off is jargon. If you have to resort to buzz words and acronyms, I know you do not have the ability to sell your product to customers, suppliers or financiers.
How do I get you to invest in my venture?
Selling your business opportunity is the same as any other sales exercise. Research the customer’s needs and satisfy them.