Today I attended the GROW2012 Conference. Its theme “Rethinking Business: Staying relevant in a new era” and its lineup of speakers was phenomenal — and having the right Value Proposition was a very relevant topic.
Speakers included founders of fast-growing companies (such as Matt Mickiewicz, Co Founder 99designs and David Cancel, Chief Product Officer HubSpot), and key industry influencers (such as Ethan Kurzweil, Vice President Bessemer VP and Dave McClure, Founding Partner 500 Start-ups).
In particular, I was impressed by what Adam Chapnick, Principal Indiegogo, had to say in his talk “Disruption: Harnessing the Crowd.” Indigogo is a crowdfunding platform. They raised $1.5 million in funding in 2011 and $15 million this year in a Series A.
Chapnick’s topic was very relevant to these posts about how crucial the Value Proposition is when funding a start-up.
His main points were:
1. When pitching, you must convey your Value Proposition in 3 minutes or less. In it, you must show concrete deliverables and must excite the audience with benefits.
2. “Traction comes from Action” meaning that “there are no elves out there” that will do the heavy lifting. “Ideas are nice, but execution kills.” (He used a lot of quotation marks in his PPT deck too, BTW). Proof or Concept prototypes work well to demonstrate this to investors. He recommended running the same marketing campaigns 2 or 3 times to show a trend of improving results. Once you do that, the conversation with investors shifts from “nice idea to “how fast can you grow” – a great place to be.
3. People fund people, not projects. Showcase your team in the pitch, tell anecdotes, show bios, make it personal, use video, etc.
4. The more you update investors, the more you raise. Chapnick said it sounded counter-intuitive (not really!) but sending updates several times a week (a week!) for months (yes, months) was good on two counts: it kept investors aware and engaged, but it also focused them on daily action. Of course, do leverage social media here as well. Social proof generates more sharing which in turn generates repeat funding. Nice.
This are great points Chapnick made. In the few blog posts, I will be covering how to determine benefit statements as well as how to provide proof & reasons to believe you.