Written by: Nitah Onsongo
July 10, 2015
It was a great opportunity to get to network with Lankan Angel Network (LAN) though Mr Jeevan Gnanam, the founding director who is also the CEO to Orion City, a company in Sri Lanka. LAN has about 70 members with a few of them being overseas. The Lankan Angel Investors run an incubation center where there are pitching sessions from upcoming young entrepreneurs every 2nd Thursday of each month. We were privileged to get a chance to take our GSL students to witness the entrepreneurs pitching to the investors. 8 LAN investors were present and 7teams presented each allocated 5minutes of presentation and 5minutes of questions.
Our students appreciated getting to attend the session and comparing themselves to the entrepreneurs who presented. They also got to network with the entrepreneurs. Some of the teams about 3 were able to get investors interested in their ideas.
There was a noticeable trend in the questions investors posed on the teams after their presentations. Listed below are some of them:
1. Do you have a budget?
2. How much funding do you want from us?
3. How much more time do you need before your systems are up and fully functional?
4. Have you heard of so and so? They run the same application/system in the USA etc
5. Is your prototype working?
6. What do you need the funds for? Is it completing development? Marketing? Or launching?
7. Are you going to be working full time on this product if you get funding?
8. Have you talked to any customer who is willing to pay for your application/product?
Some teams were well equipped with clear precise answers while for others it was evident they had not done thorough work. The teams that attracted investors interests were those that had answers to all the questions. Additionally, their public speaking skills were polished i.e.
1. Their problem statements were coherent and well scoped/quantified.
2. Whoever pitched was audible and clear
3. Their presentation slides were well put together
4. They also dint bore the investors with too much repetition
5. The teams looked knowledgeable on their finances
6. The teams had a paying/willing customer
7. They had prototypes; more than 70% of development completed
8. Had a launch date
9. Had NUMBERS
10. Had a project plan and timelines
11. Had citations
12. Had answers to all questions asked
13. Gave a good first impression to a number of the investors
What was catching was also the fact that all teams had some similarities. In that all involved USSD applications, web applications, location based systems and android/ios platforms. The teams wanted funding mainly for marketing purposes using billboards, posters, websites and sms. Teams were also well balanced in terms of skill sets. Overall, it was a good networking event not only for the students but also for us the instructors. We hope our students got to have a preview of what Demo day would be like and gain the confidence to keep working and do better than what they saw.