Colin Barry

FD Optional Panel on Pitching (FD, Tuesday, Week 13 (Part 2))


with Shark Tank's Robert HerjavecDaymond John, and Mark Cuban

We watched excerpts from Shark Tank and discussed/critiqued them. Noam and Deepak Malhotra led the class session.

Robert Herjavec, on being a panelist:
"First of all, this is the longest I've ever sat in one place without saying something."

On the introduction:
-- Capture the imagination of your audience immediately. (Rob)
-- Don't give out data at the very start --- peoples' eyes glaze over
BUT if you can't touch/see the product, you need data early. (Daymond)
-- If you have a less tangible or B2B venture, you need a more eloquent/emotional pitch. (Rob)
-- Captivate, but don't stretch the limits of credibility. It took MSFT 10 years to get to $50M in sales. (Rob)

-- Are you pitching a company or a product? Probably you want to start a company. (Noam)

On confidence and lack thereof:
-- "If you bring up bad news upfront, it's not bad news. It's just a data point." (Rob)
-- "Venrock has a set of 25 evaluation criteria for pitches --- 12 of the 25 data points are decided on between when you walk in the front door and when you say the first word." (Rob)

On Mark Cuban's impromptu 24-second shot clock in the Origaudio episode:
-- Shockingly similar to traditional VC term sheets --- no-shop clause, exploding offer. (Noam)
-- Cuban tries to turn an auction into a negotiation. Terrible for the entrepreneurs. Best response: find a way to keep Cuban in the auction. "Mark, I am flattered by your offer etc. but I think you wouldn't actually want me to take a deal like this if I was running a business with your money."

Why Daymond offer to buy entrepreneurs out for $300K:
-- Thought they'd be bad partners/managers.
-- Intended to take licenses and distribution agreement and run business himself...because he'd probably end up doing that anyway.
Takeaway: Think about how some offers reveal the motivations of prospective investors. (Noam)

The best entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, according to Mark Cuban:
-- Know product, company, and industry cold.
-- The real test is Q&A, not the pitch. It reveals whether you were willing to do the prep work.

The best entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, according to Daymond:
-- 100% commitment, long-term strategy, scalability.

The best entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, according to Rob:
(1) Captivate me (because I have a short attention span).
(2) Humble arrogance.
(3) Know their numbers.

Generally, good presenters take control of questions. Polite; usually humorous.

Al (one of the entrepreneurs in the next season):
How did you prepare?
Five hours a day in the mirror (really?). But also, it's my life. Of course I can answer questions about it.