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Venture capitalist’s top tips: essentials of a successful investor pitch

Posted by at 6:30 PM, 10/01/2009

This week marked an important milestone for semifinalist teams, who are honing their business plans and pitching skills in preparation for regional judging. Reporting by Carole Low and Tim Cox.

Cleantech Accelerator

The 2009 Clean Tech Open program is now in full swing, which means the 60+ semifinalist teams are working diligently toward one major goal: pitching their business idea to a panel of expert judges. This week, to hone their skills and gain valuable feedback from seasoned experts, California-based teams convened on the offices of Cleantech Open sponsor Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for mock judging sessions, and then at the Investor Summit were able to practice their elevator pitches to representatives from the venture capital community.

Pitching investors is something of an art. Tone is as important as content for this endeavor, and delivering an investor pitch is a daunting proposition to the uninitiated. At Clean Tech Open’s recent Accelerator business training event, the business plan competition’s semifinalists gained an insider’s perspective from charismatic Andrew Chung, principal at Lightspeed Ventures.

Andrew Chung

Some might consider Andrew a true cleantech triple-play: current venture capitalist, former entrepreneur, and Cleantech Open advocate and sponsor. Andrew candidly offered his dos and don’ts for what it takes to secure funding, in a packed session titled “Fundamentals of an Investor Pitch.”

Knowing that one size does not fit all with cleantech startups, Andrew offered numerous examples throughout the module and closed with a no-holds-barred Q&A session. What a rare privilege for entrepreneurs to have direct access to an accomplished venture capitalist. After the session, he also offered some useful tips for entrepreneurs, so I thought I’d share these nuggets.

Top Four Tips on Securing Cleantech Investment Funding

  1. Be persistent, but be tasteful and methodical.
  2. Be passionate.
  3. Figure out ways to solve problems.
  4. Be scrappy.


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