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Tim Kilroy Analytics - LTV - Boosting Profits - Digital Marketing

August 6th, 2013

I was just asked to apply to present at a VC summit by It sounds good - 50 companies - 200 investors - but there is  $1585 "presentation fee". This seems silly to me, but wanted to know if other people had engaged in these "pay to pitch" kind of opportunities before and if they have been helpful.


David Fox

August 6th, 2013

If the fee is meagre, we've found it can be a decent opportunity to hone your pitch, pick up some technique, and practice in front of a crowd. They'll sometimes provide you with a "pitch coach" and PR assistant, which can be helpful.

But when it comes to this topic, I  especially like Greg Costikyan's quote here:

>> That room of 200 people is maybe 25% other entrepreneurs waiting their turn or listening to other pitches to get a better sense of how to polish their own, and maybe 50% service folks who actually want to sell you stuff, and maybe the other 25% are investors of one kind or another. Of whom the vast majority would never invest in whatever it is you’re pitching. And of the handful who remain, almost all are so junior that unless they go back foaming at the mouth with excitement, it doesn’t really help.

James Bond CTO at SupplyBetter

August 6th, 2013

If you pay me $1000, you can pitch to me ;-)

Tico Ballagas

August 6th, 2013

This question is very timely for me, as I just received an email from the Keiretsu Forum asking for $6K to pitch.  Based on the link above I found that Jason Calacanis declared jihad against Keiretsu.

Fred Wilson has a more balanced (albeit short) piece on the matter:

I guess if it were a success-based fee, I would consider it.  But $6K up front seems pretty egregious.

Chaminda Wijetilleke COO at EquityEats

August 6th, 2013

HI Tim, I am not familar with the summit, but seems suspect that they want you to pay to present. Moreover, i think an investor would want to see companies based on some sort of screening process, rather than the company that just paid to pitch. My two cents. Chaminda

Steve Brett

August 7th, 2013

I thought I replied yesterday, but my words may be lost in cyberspace. To briefly recap:

As the marketing guy (pitchcoach for my clients) who has been to more than a few meetings with investors, I'm not big on the pay to pitch model either. As others have mentioned, the organizers make money and the pitchers...not so much.

In ANY meeting, you really have to have all your materials ready - you know Guy Kawasaki's thoughts on the pitch deck, right? - from the idea, to the advantage, to the financials, to the offering. If you're presenting to a big group with dozens of other firms competing for their attention too, you'll need a killer show. Hard to do.

In  my experience, I've never seen serious money or backing come out of a big show like that. Targeted networking and one-one-ones and sit-downs with the reps of investors groups have been more effective for raising money and support.

Bill Kelley

August 7th, 2013

Steve makes good points.

One more thing about/against group pitches: the room dynamic may be against you if there are one or more 'showoffs' whose idea of a good meeting is one where they can torpedo your idea. I've seen a few situations (a couple angel groups I won't name) where the presumed 'investors' are just bored guys who have no intention of investing, but find it amusing to hear pitches and trip up presenters.

In a world where Powerpoints are expected, and the recommended number of slides keeps dropping, my tactic is to put key information in "addendum" slides. That way, if the questions you can anticipate come up, you have a graphic for everyone to focus on. It also means you can keep the slides within the presentation simple. 

I once had a business idea that went through 68 VC and angel pitches to get investors (not surprisingly, we ultimately had to settle for third-rate investors). The addendum was 20+ slides by the end... 

I can't imagine any of the people I've ever pitched to would participate in a 4-figure pay-to-present scheme. I've seen angel groups ask for $2-300, but that's mostly to weed out the most casual 'pitchers.'

John Rodley Technical co-founder with exits

August 6th, 2013

I'm late to the party here, but great link David.  Free is ideal, but having hosted events myself I'm more in the camp represented by Graham Lawlor of UltraLight Startups who notes in a roundabout way that space, food, beer and publicity aren't free.  Organizers shouldn't have to subsidize the event out of their own pockets.  That said, 10-50$ is okay, 1500 is way off.  Those guys are in it to make money from you, not for the satisfaction of seeing promising startups hone their pitch and get funded.

Todd Ellermann Experienced I.T. Leader, CTO, and Creative Entrepreneur

August 6th, 2013

If you are looking to refine your strategy and get real world feedback these can be useful. If you know what you are building and what the business model is, I have found these to be distracting and unlikely to yield capital. In the travel industry there is a specific conference: Phocus Wright. The key there is about getting buzz for your already built product not actually finding funding, but it is proported to be a chance to compete for funding. -T

Chayim Kirshen DevOps Focused Software Professional

August 6th, 2013


It sounds similar to some of the pay to pitch events I've seen in NYC (full disclosure, I'm in Toronto). At least in my experience, pay to pitch doesn't happen. I'd stay away from that sort of thing, it seems very, very fishy.


August 6th, 2013

Tim, These guys send out emails to everyone. These events from YoungStartup are not that great - and I have attended from investor perspective. We have never "paid to pitch" and it has worked for us. Best, Susie