Finance Navigator stories
EY Finance Navigator pitching at Demo Day: 5 tips on delivering an awesome pitch
Wout Bobbink, 4 October 2016
That’s what I would call intrapreneurship at its best: on Thursday the 22nd of September the team of EY’s internal startup the Finance Navigator had the opportunity to take the stage at HighTechXL’s Demo Day.
And that’s what we did: not once.. not twice.. but three times! If you want to know what it’s like to pitch for an audience of a 1000 potential customers, perform a Dragons’ Den Q&A session moderated by former Dutch prime-minister Mr. Jan-Peter Balkenende and receive 5 tips & tricks on delivering your best pitch ever, then I would suggest you keep on reading!
Demo Day 2017, taking place in Eindhoven’s epic ‘Klokgebouw’ (a former Philips factory) was kicked off in the morning by the Innovate EY Demo Day where 5 EY internal startups pitched their success stories to about 200 colleagues and an investment panel to convince them of their companies’ potential in order to raise an investment. Solid as a rock, the Finance Navigator’s team lead Alexander Matthiessen owned the stage and closed his pitch with a clear message:
‘The world around us is changing, we can either change with it or stay behind. What do we choose?’
After Alex and the 4 other EY teams finished their pitches, it was up to Finance Navigator’s chief of sales Lars Vereijken to further convince the investment panel during a Q&A session led by former Dutch prime-minister Jan-Peter Balkenende. Alex and Lars switching on stage surprised Mr. Balkenende, but Lars being fully prepared, won the hearts of the audience with his witty response to Balkenende’s doubts:
‘Well, someone has to do the hard work, right?’
After that Lars answered several questions coming from the jury and the audience about, for instance, a break-down of the investment need and how the Finance Navigator can be linked to other EY services.
With the Q&A session and an award ceremony EY Demo Day came to its end and was followed by the HighTechXL Demo Day: a celebration of high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship where HighTechXL participants, alumni and corporate startups pitch their products and businesses.
The Finance Navigator was the only EY team that was invited for a pitch at HighTechXL Demo Day, meaning that chief marketing Wout Bobbink got the opportunity to pitch for a 1000 potential customers. He seized the opportunity with both hands and nailed it:
‘Only 10% of all startups succeed… but you know what happened to startups that have used our prototype in the past? They raised 10 million euros in total!’
In short: the Finance Navigator’s team knows what it’s like to be on stage pitching for large audiences… and that is why we thought we should share our experience.
If you want to know how YOU can deliver a killer pitch as well, then please take a look at the 5 tips underneath the following video. And if you want to see what a great pitch looks like, then check out the recording of Wout’s pitch in the video below.
Tip 1: a good pitch does not only consist of a good story!
A good pitch consists of three interrelated elements: 1) the story, 2) the pitch deck, and 3) the delivery. All three are equally important (okay.. we do admit the story and the delivery are crucial, but nicely designed slides can turn a good story into an amazing story!) and all take at least as much time to master.
Tip 2: tailor your story to the audience and use the pitch canvas.
Most of the times you do a pitch you will face a different audience and each audience requires a different story line. For instance, Alex’ pitch at EY’s Demo Day was an investor pitch, while Wouts pitch in the afternoon was a sales pitch; different audiences, different goals (e.g. raising investment vs. boosting product sales). The Pitch Canvas© can help you identify which elements your pitch could/should contain.
Tip 3: if your story is good, a pitch deck can make it amazing!
Try to strengthen your story making use of a good pitch deck. 3 tips: 1) use LITTLE text, 2) MANY visuals, 3) and go easy on the clicking (more clicks means a more complex presentation and therefore more practice hours, while it doesn’t always improve your presentation). If you’re working with a designer and you want to have many options for customization, then use Powerpoint. Want to make something slick yourself without too much hassle? Haiku Deck could be a solution.
Tip 4: it’s all about delivery.
Even the best stories and pitch decks won’t save you if your delivery sucks. We don’t know the exact percentage, but a big chunk of what you’re saying comes from non-verbal communication. We all know we should make eye-contact with the audience, try to walk around and make gestures (but not too much!) and play with intonation, but what many people don’t know is that the last few minutes BEFORE you go on stage can have a large influence on how the audience perceives you as well.
The last 5 minutes before you go on stage, try to stand in the most confident posture you can think of, even if you don’t feel confident at all. This boosts your testosterone levels and will increase your chances of success. If the science behind it is right or if it’s just a placebo effect we don’t know for sure, but hey.. for us it helped! (want to know more on this? Google for Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk)
Tip 5: practice, practice, practice…
Very cliché, but the funny thing with clichés is that they’re most often true… practice your pitch on your colleagues, your grandma, your boy/girlfriend, or maybe even a stranger in the bus. All should be able to understand your story.