This post will NOT do justice to the amazing day we had yesterday.
While I didn’t win the Best Pitch contest we certainly presented ourselves well and made some good contacts. Natalie showed excellent networking skills and got Bob to accompany a group of us out for drinks afterwards where we all had a great discussion on Angel / VC Investing in the current economic climate.
This meeting was more important than it might first seem because Bob is an investor and director of a company in the online event registration space. He gave us lots of good information on other players in the industry and his outlook for the prospects for this market. In general, he thinks many of the players have hit a plateau and are waiting for one company to start acquiring all the smaller guys and take a run at Active.com (the massively overvalued industry leader in the space). He wondered aloud if we were the company to do that(!) and certainly didn’t try to dissuade us from participating in this industry in spite of the fact that we might give his investment some difficulties.
One of my take-aways from our meeting is that our unique leverage model of using social networking tools to provide us instant connectivity to a large base of customers will help us avoid the stagnation some of the other players are experiencing. Another take-away is that while there are lots of little competitors in the online registration space, our value proposition for our customers is different enough and the market is large enough that we have lots of room to maneuver. All good.
The final piece of good news is our investment business model i.e. the amount of money we need to raise and the expected returns for our investors over a period of four or five years matches or exceeds the very high bar set for sophisticated angel or VC investments. I’m starting to feel much more comfortable with the entire VC funding model (which more experienced angels also follow) and can now throw around terms like Internal Rate of Return, Non-participating Liquidation Preference and Full Ratchet Anti-Dilution Protections without a completely blank look on my face.
Now, back to working on the business plan and investment presentation…