If a picture is worth a thousand words than a demo is worth a thousand slides.
If you want an investor to know how great your product is let her/him take a test drive. Trying something out is way better than hearing a pitch about how it is supposed to work. Here’s an example:
Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) has a company in its newest class called Let’s Wombat. I have no idea what Let’s Wombat means, but their service is pretty cool. They create a sponsorship marketplace for what I call micro-events.
What’s a micro-event… let’s say you are planing a family reunion, or a Super Bowl party or an Office Team Building exercise. Guess what… your group likely represents a demographic. And there are companies trying to reach your demographic.
Let’s Wombat matches sponsoring companies with micro-events. Put another way, they help you get free stuff or money for your Super Bowl party if it is a desirable demographic.
I wanted to see how this would work to provide feedback and commentary to the Let’s Wombat team. So I went on their website and I registered an event. In this case it was my son’s third birthday party. The target audience wasn’t bunch of three year olds, but their upper-middle class, hipster parents. I put in a few high level pieces of information about who was attending and that was it. A couple days later I was contacted and told that Izze (a Sparkling Juice Company) wanted to sponsor the event.
In this case the sponsorship entailed a couple cases of free sparkling juice. We had the sparkling pomegranate which was more popular than the sparkling peach. Going into the event we were a little nervous – we wondered what our friends would think of us pimping out our son for some free stuff. That was an unfounded concern. There were no signs or banners or any obligations to do anything other than put out the product for people to drink. Beyond that, a really interesting thing happened. I started telling the story of how we got the sparkling juice. It became a topic of conversation. People said, “Hey, I like this stuff.” And, “Will you send us the website?” The sponsorship took on a little life of it’s own. People started taking pictures with the product (see below). I’m pretty sure Izze got it’s money’s worth from the two cases of soda it sent over.
The outcome was that I saw this service work and, in my opinion, it worked well. At this point I don’t know if sponsors will flock to this company or if it will catch on with event planners, but I do know that Let’s Wombat has created an interesting marketplace where none existed before. I have seen it with my own eyes.
If you want to make an impression with an investor let them take a test drive!