Been there, shouldn’t have done that!

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I’ve started many successful businesses from my kitchen
table over the past 30+ years, worked for nothing, bet the ‘farm’ many times
(thanks Yvonne) and raised investment from colleagues, angels and VCs.  So this
one should be easy shouldn’t it?  After all, I am that ‘serial entrepreneur’
that UK Plc keeps saying are so thin on the ground this side of the Atlantic.

I’ve presented many times to audiences big and small and
last week I had the opportunity, thanks to Rosemary Forsyth, to ‘Meet the Money’ at the Catapult 2006 event
and present PAOGA to leading VCs comprising Geoff Mott – Vantage Point
Ventures
, Paul Brennan – Korral Partners, Dag Syrrist – Vision Capital, Michael
Skok – North Bridge Venture Partners, and Simon Acland – Quester, all of whom
are interested in funding proven management addressing a global market with disruptive technology and
ambitions to penetrate the important US market.

I rehearsed my 5 minute pitch the day before with Melissa
Messina
US Development Partners and Rudy Burger – USDP & Quester and took
on board their criticism and excellent advice.  And, even after all of that, I
made the most fundamental error – I ran out of time and didn’t manage to reach
the part of the presentation that explains what PAOGA does!!!

What does PAOGA do?

Many people don’t know or don’t care that their personal
information
is captured and stored on an average of 1,000 databases many of which
are sold, traded and stolen daily

PAOGApeople DO care and want to track what personal
information they provide, to whom and why AND how they can benefit
directly from its value in the future

Never, NEVER, leave the answer to ‘What do you do?’ until
the end of any presentation, whether it’s to VCs, partners or customers.  Melissa
illustrated why this is so crucial when she asked the audience to guess how
many marketing messages an individual receives on a daily basis.  The answer is
an astounding 5,000 and so it is understandable that, for the sake of sanity,
we as individuals subconsciously filter out not only the irrelevant but also
the confusing messages – and prospective investors are no different.
As you can imagine, I was furious and have been reorganising and simplifying
our message and presentations to ensure I don’t fall into this trap again.

Interestingly the very next morning Martin Banks, who does understand the value
of PAOGA to individuals, captured the essence in his excellent piece ‘PAOGA
boosts your ‘self-worth’
.

Experience is a great asset but can easily turn into a
liability, in this fast moving digital world, if you rely on it rather than
build on it.

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