SVASE Event: 'First Impressions Pitch Feedback Event - Invitation Only'
Event: 'First Impressions Pitch Feedback Event - Invitation Only'
Date: Monday, July 09, 2007 At 05:30
Duration: 3 Hours
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR Campus) 950 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto - 94304
Program Chair - Chad Salinas Email: [email protected]
First Impressions provides SVASE entrepreneurs with the opportunity to present to and receive formal structured feedback from prominent members of the entrepreneurial and venture funding communities. This is a great way to gain first hand experience on pitching for Venture Capital, make connections with VCs and Angels, and get a clear understanding on how to move your business forward.
"After making my presentation at First Impressions, I got five leads to investors, including three VCs that would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain on my own. I've already set appointments with each of them for follow-on presentations." John Matthesen, CEO, Byte Blaze
The Panel & Audience:
The Panel and audience are drawn from SVASE Charter Members, Legends, Board Members and invited VIP Guests, including Bill Reichert of Garage; Antonio Salerno, Band of Angels; Stewart Sonnenfeldt, Sand Hill Angels; Eric Dunn, Cardinal Ventures; David Aslin, 3I; Ken Brenner, Bridge Bank; Joe Blank, Keiretsu Forum, Jim Chapman, Silicon Valley Law Group; Laura Roden, The Angels Forum; Roy Sardina, Vallence Capital; Jim Simmons, Draper Richards.
SVASE entrepreneurs looking for experience in delivering their pitch, who are prepared to use the suggested First Impressions 10 slide presentation format, and can provide most, if not all, of the required information on their company and business proposition. To obtain a copy of the First Impressions 10 slide presentation, please email Chad Salinas at [email protected].
5.30-6.15 pm: Networking and Finger Food
6.15-8:30 pm: Startup Presentations, Q&A plus feedback
PRE-REGISTERED RATES (All Rates Include Hors D'oeuvres):
Presenting Companies - $125; Invited Members - $49
INVITATION ONLY, WALK-INS NOT PERMITTED
This event is co-sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, www.wsgr.com
SVASE First Impressions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here is a list of sample questions compiled and condensed by SVASE First Impressions Program Chair Chad Salinas and his “official” answers.
Q: What are the First Impressions Timelines?
• Call for Companies – While candidates may forward presentations and Executive Summaries (ES’s) at any time, companies that wish to present at the next First Impressions event should submit materials approximately 45 days before the event.
• Presentation Submission Deadline - The deadline is the 20th of the month preceding the event. Program Chair has been flexible with this deadline in the past, but priority has always been given to those who have met the deadline. Only after having exhausted the current queue of prospective candidates, do the Program Chair and SVASE President consider other prospective candidates.
• Candidate Selection Date – During the last week of the month preceding an event, the Program Chair and SVASE President conduct a substantial and rigorous review of the prospective candidates’ PowerPoint presentations.
• Notification & Registration – All prospective candidates are notified by the first week of the month of the event on their status. In the past, notification and statistics of the review have been sent via e-mail. Going forward, the notification will be augmented on either the SVASE web site or Chad Salinas’ Tech + Finance blog. SVASE asks that all selected presenters register on the SVASE web site and send a confirmation e-mail to [email protected]
• First Impressions (actual event) – The actual event is held bi-monthly on the second Monday of January, March, May, July, September, & November, with exceptions for various holidays or major Silicon Valley events that may conflict with the date.
Q: How do I get a copy of the SVASE presentation template?
A: Send an e-mail to [email protected] . The reason you need to send an e-mail, as opposed to automatically downloading the SVASE template, is that Chad needs to get a sense for how many prospective candidates are interested in the next event. Oftentimes, initial inquiries come from window-shoppers who use Gmail and Yahoo accounts with indiscernible names. Chad still e-mails the template to anyone who requests it even though some have no interest in presenting at an event.
Q: Do I have to use the SVASE presentation template? Can’t I just send you my existing Executive Summary (ES) or a PDF file?
A: Due to the 200+ inquiries for a particular event, Chad does not have the time to sort through the various submissions unless they are in SVASE’s format. Chad receives numerous 2-page Executive Summaries which do not give enough information to review, plus numerous 30+ page business plans which give too much information to review. Lastly, even though most prospective candidates may have an existing investor presentation, it is usually not specifically geared to be delivered in the 6 minutes that First Impressions allows. Lastly, the panels at First Impressions events score the presenters on dimensions taken directly from the presentation template.
Q: How will my company be scored?
A: First Impressions has a Panelist’s Award and a People’s Choice Award. The panelists score presenters quantitatively and qualitatively on the following 8 dimensions:
1. Management Team
3. Market Opportunity
4. Business Model
8. Exit Opportunity
The “Qualitative” feedback is sent to the presenters in PDF format within a few days after the event.
The People’s Choice Award is simply the audience (non-panelists) choice of the best presenting company on the night of the event.
The scores are tallied the night of the event and the winners are announced.
Q: What if I am not selected this time around?
A: Chad has created a priority queue of potential presenters who will be considered for the next event. Chad moves each of the candidates who request to be reviewed to the queue for the upcoming event. These prospective presenters are also given the opportunity to update their template by the submission deadline for the next event.
Q: Why wasn’t I selected?
A: Chad Salinas and Chris Gill, President of SVASE, formally review each candidates’ presentations for each event. Chad and Chris see more good presentations than can be accommodated in the 5 companies per event format. Further, Chad and Chris have to temper the needs of 3 constituencies:
1. An audience comprised of who’s who in the Silicon Valley venture community.
2. An entrepreneurial community that has more business ideas than SVASE has time to look at.
3. SVASE’s volunteers who try to meet the mission of empowering entrepreneurs on a limited time budget.
That being said, the most common reason for rejection is that the idea does not appear to be viable. Lack of viability may have to do with the following:
• Lifestyle investment – insufficient growth potential to allow the venture capitalist an exit opportunity at a high enough multiple.
• Half-baked – the business idea has not been thought through with the rigor that is the norm in the Silicon Valley.
• Me-too business – our audience is arguably comprised of some of the most sophisticated early-stage investors in the world. You need to have a business idea that is unique. You need to articulate your “special sauce” through the template. Each review session witnesses presentations that have not considered switching costs, barriers to entry, IP defense, or competitive landscape.
Q: Can I observe an event?
A: First Impressions has a limited number of “Observer” seats whose availability is only known the week before the event. E-mail [email protected] if you are interested in being attending as an observer. If you can’t be an observer, you may be able to get a sense for the event from Chad Salinas and Chris Gill’s interview on the Hot From Silicon Valley blog.
Q: How do you determine the order of the presenters?
A: The order is determined alphabetically by company name.
Q: How long are the presentations?
A: You have 6 minutes to complete your core presentation. For the next 8 minutes thereafter, the panelists ask questions and give feedback. If the panelists run out of questions and feedback, Chad invites the audience to participate.
Q: Are there any breaks between presentations?
A: We anticipate 1 minute of transition from the previous presenter’s question/answer/feedback portion to the succeeding presenters pulling up his/her presentation. This allows the panelists to finish their evaluations.
Q: How many presenters will there be per event?
A: We provide the opportunity for 5 companies to present at each event.
Q: I heard about First Impressions, can you send me the password to register?
A: No, the password is only given to 3 types of people:
1. Selected Candidates
2. VIP Guests (e.g. VCs or management team members of selected presenters)
Q: Can we meet in-person or via telephone to review my presentation?
A: Given the volume of inquiries that Chad receives, he is unlikely to be able to spend the time required to answer the company-specific questions that come up. Once Chad and Chris have selected the presenters and gotten them registered, Chad may have time to talk on the phone to clarify issues. However, the best way to ensure your pitch is in line with investor expectations is to attend the SVASE Pitch Preparation Workshops, which are held on the 2nd Monday of even number months. These typically sell out, so early registration is strongly advised. Please note that these Workshops are only open to entrepreneurs.
Q: Can I get a confirmation that you received my presentation?
A: If you don’t get an e-mail from Chad Salinas by the 21st of the month preceding the event and you submitted your presentation, please e-mail [email protected]. I don’t believe we have ever had a submittal fall through the cracks, but given the number of e-mails per event, better to be safe than sorry.
Added by svaseinfo on June 3, 2007