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Tim Kilroy Analytics - LTV - Boosting Profits - Digital Marketing

August 6th, 2013

I was just asked to apply to present at a VC summit by It sounds good - 50 companies - 200 investors - but there is  $1585 "presentation fee". This seems silly to me, but wanted to know if other people had engaged in these "pay to pitch" kind of opportunities before and if they have been helpful.


David Fox

August 6th, 2013

If the fee is meagre, we've found it can be a decent opportunity to hone your pitch, pick up some technique, and practice in front of a crowd. They'll sometimes provide you with a "pitch coach" and PR assistant, which can be helpful.

But when it comes to this topic, I  especially like Greg Costikyan's quote here:

>> That room of 200 people is maybe 25% other entrepreneurs waiting their turn or listening to other pitches to get a better sense of how to polish their own, and maybe 50% service folks who actually want to sell you stuff, and maybe the other 25% are investors of one kind or another. Of whom the vast majority would never invest in whatever it is you’re pitching. And of the handful who remain, almost all are so junior that unless they go back foaming at the mouth with excitement, it doesn’t really help.

James Bond CTO at SupplyBetter

August 6th, 2013

If you pay me $1000, you can pitch to me ;-)

Tico Ballagas

August 6th, 2013

This question is very timely for me, as I just received an email from the Keiretsu Forum asking for $6K to pitch.  Based on the link above I found that Jason Calacanis declared jihad against Keiretsu.

Fred Wilson has a more balanced (albeit short) piece on the matter:

I guess if it were a success-based fee, I would consider it.  But $6K up front seems pretty egregious.

Chaminda Wijetilleke COO at EquityEats

August 6th, 2013

HI Tim, I am not familar with the summit, but seems suspect that they want you to pay to present. Moreover, i think an investor would want to see companies based on some sort of screening process, rather than the company that just paid to pitch. My two cents. Chaminda

Chayim Kirshen DevOps Focused Software Professional

August 6th, 2013


It sounds similar to some of the pay to pitch events I've seen in NYC (full disclosure, I'm in Toronto). At least in my experience, pay to pitch doesn't happen. I'd stay away from that sort of thing, it seems very, very fishy.


August 6th, 2013

Tim, These guys send out emails to everyone. These events from YoungStartup are not that great - and I have attended from investor perspective. We have never "paid to pitch" and it has worked for us. Best, Susie

John Rodley Technical co-founder with exits

August 6th, 2013

I'm late to the party here, but great link David.  Free is ideal, but having hosted events myself I'm more in the camp represented by Graham Lawlor of UltraLight Startups who notes in a roundabout way that space, food, beer and publicity aren't free.  Organizers shouldn't have to subsidize the event out of their own pockets.  That said, 10-50$ is okay, 1500 is way off.  Those guys are in it to make money from you, not for the satisfaction of seeing promising startups hone their pitch and get funded.

Todd Ellermann Experienced I.T. Leader, CTO, and Creative Entrepreneur

August 6th, 2013

If you are looking to refine your strategy and get real world feedback these can be useful. If you know what you are building and what the business model is, I have found these to be distracting and unlikely to yield capital. In the travel industry there is a specific conference: Phocus Wright. The key there is about getting buzz for your already built product not actually finding funding, but it is proported to be a chance to compete for funding. -T

Alan Peters VP Product and Technology at BusinessBlocks

August 7th, 2013

My two cents: pay to pitch is bad news.  Investors worth their salt have ways of screening deals without needing to charge to see if you are qualified.  Some people assert that pay-to-pitch is a way to get in front of investors if you lack the social capital.  Personally, if I was an investing, I would be disinclined to invest in companies that don't have those connections, aren't scrappy enough to find them, or whose elevator pitch isn't so compelling that I don't want to hear it regardless.  

Side bar: Kieretsu Forum charges 6k to pitch.  A while back I finagled my way to a couple free passes to sit and watch the pitch sessions.  The pitches were average.  And my impression was that he Angels were more interested in networking with each other than they were in investing.   They had time to kill and perks to trade with each other (who wants great cal/stanford football tickets, who wants to get in on sharing my plane, etc), and the pitches seemed like dinner theater.  Or maybe gladiatorial entertainment.  

Steve Brett

August 7th, 2013

I thought I replied yesterday, but my words may be lost in cyberspace. To briefly recap:

As the marketing guy (pitchcoach for my clients) who has been to more than a few meetings with investors, I'm not big on the pay to pitch model either. As others have mentioned, the organizers make money and the pitchers...not so much.

In ANY meeting, you really have to have all your materials ready - you know Guy Kawasaki's thoughts on the pitch deck, right? - from the idea, to the advantage, to the financials, to the offering. If you're presenting to a big group with dozens of other firms competing for their attention too, you'll need a killer show. Hard to do.

In  my experience, I've never seen serious money or backing come out of a big show like that. Targeted networking and one-one-ones and sit-downs with the reps of investors groups have been more effective for raising money and support.