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Innovators to get grilled by investors at public event in Perth

Friday, 31 January 2014 | By Rose Powell

Entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to pitch to venture capital investors in a rigorous “Silicon Valley style” pitching event in Perth in March.


The 2014 Innovators Pitch Night will take place in March at the national conference of the Licensing Executives Society Australia New Zealand (LESANZ).


Coordinator Graeme Speak launched the first iteration of this event ran with IBM in August after returning from Silicon Valley.


He told StartupSmart it was an incredible learning experience for the start-up founders who pitched as the judges didn’t hold back in their feedback.


“The entertainment and learning is off the scale. It’s great practice but the real value is when the judges started to lay in. They weren’t really angry, it was done with compassion but if it’s a shitty deal they told you exactly why,” Speak says.


Lindsay Lyon, founder of personal safety device start-up Shark Shield, took out top honours last time.


“He’s a good salesman for one, but anyone can learn to pitch. It’s a format and a formula and he made it irresistible. The deal was clear, the return on the investment was clear, the path to market was obvious and the judges couldn’t fault him,” Speak says.


Companies applying to pitch need to have intellectual property that can be protected and be ready to take investment of over $250,000.


“You need to know how to pitch. It’s a tight format, and Silicon Valley style we’ll turn your mic off at five minutes. So you need to make sure you cover what you want, what investors will get out of it, what and when the return will be and who is on your board,” Speak says.


Applicants need to submit a PowerPoint pitch deck or one-page overview by Friday, February 14 to [email protected]


Entrepreneurs will need to apply before the pre-screen pitch day on Friday, February 21. Speak then works with the selected finalists to hone their pitches in preparation for the Wednesday, March 19 event.