Hard to imagine creative types putting together a persuasive pitch to a bunch of business suits?
Three moviemakers sold their current projects to the Venture Connectors in Louisville, Kentucky recently, and their presentations were as good as any Demo Day showing.
Here’s what IT, health and biotech entrepreneurs can learn from these creative class of businesspeople.
1. Use any cool factor you can find
This was an easy one for the writers and directors. Two of the three used the promise of walking on the red carpet as a reason to invest. Even people with years in banking and real estate business might still feel the pull of bright lights and famous people. If you can’t offer a moment in the spotlight to potential investors, think about access to other high-profile events in your industry, or even face time with smart people in your field.
2. Dig until you find an interesting data point about your business.
William Mapother (you may remember him from “Lost”) presented Slated — a film investment marketplace. It’s a combination of Kickstarter and AngelList. Actors, producers and investors can all create a profile page with information about current projects that need funding and projects they are willing to fund, respectively. People applying to join the site have to be approved by two current members.
As he discussed possible acquirers, Mapother mentioned the obvious — a movie studio — and two not-so-obvious — Amazon or Cantor Fitzgerald. Amazon has a great existing platform to get into the original content business and Cantor Fitzgerald explored a film futures market in 2010. This small data point made the whole pitch more compelling.
3. Don’t forget the visuals.
Split is the world’s first romantic comedy about bowling with a woman in the lead role. Writer/director/producer Jamie Buckner had done his market research:
- Frequent filmgoers in 2011: 4.2 million women vs. 3.3 million men
- More than 2 million annual dues-paying members of the U.S. Bowling Club
- $325 million in equipment sales alone
What made his pitch great was the video on his Kickstarter page and his list of supporters. The video gave the audience a great preview of the film as well as highlighted the range of people and associations already on board: Ebonite, ESPN Films and the Lebowski Fest, which was born in Louisville.
4. A bulleted list can’t compare to a personal endorsement
Each presenter had done the requisite homework and dropped lots of names: Weinstein Company, New Line Cinema, Lord of the Rings, Pulp Fiction, Mad Men, Community. Each had Kentucky ties and previous investments from people in the room. Kimberly Levin and Kurt Pitzer, seeking money to finish Land of Tomorrow, even got a verbal letter of recommendation from a member of the audience who took advantage of the one-minute announcements to say he had already invested in the film. This man’s business focus was real estate — not movies — so his endorsement made the possibility and even the practicality of investing in a Hollywood blockbuster seem that much more real.