The perfect pitch: An entrepreneur’s secret weapon?
As entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley swap tanning stories. Kipp wonders what venture capitalists in the UAE look for in a perfect pitch? Tailored suits, well-gelled hair and full-on make up?
November 22, 2011 3:58 by Eva Fernandes
If looks could kill, could they also sell?
The New York Times last week flagged up a rather amusing albeit thought provoking exchange on a popular forum in Silicon Valley for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. An unnamed user asked, “Should I use spray-on tanner before a V.C. pitch in order to seem more relaxed and less needy of funding?” So far the question has had more than a 1,300 views and received 20responses.
The top response comes from Michael Wolfe the chief executive of Pipewise, an enterprise start-up:
“It is sorta a rookie mistake to show up at a VC meeting without at least a spray-on tan. If it is a top-tier VC I’d even recommend a tanning booth or a trip to a legitimate beach to show a deeper level of commitment.
You will also want to bring your spray on tanner to launch conferences and other industry events where you may encounter VCs. You can get tanner in small bottles so you can carry it onto a plane and not have to check it in your baggage.
When I’m deep in fundraising mode I rarely even leave the house without my tanner, especially if I’m going to Rosewood or Il Fornaio or somewhere where VCs are unavoidable.
You didn’t ask about teeth-whitening, but that is simply a given.”
And as satirical as Wolfe comment really is, we can’t help but wonder at the shred of truth to the issue; after all we can’t help but repeat the NY times reference to the appearance of Groupon founder Andrew Mason, who apparently showed up to a conference ‘lathered in bronzer.’
That looks inspire confidence and creates very particular impressions, is an undeniable fact—but here at Kipp we can’t help but think that it is a pretty subjective and cultural question. While entrepreneurs at Silicon Valley may spend hours under the sun, would it be too much of a stretch to imagine the opposite happening in India-the home of a booming ‘fairness’ industry?
All of this got us thinking about the UAE. If you were to pitch your business idea to a VC, what couldn’t you leave the house without? From our experience in the region, we’d like to start the list with: an impressive phone, car, impeccable and a bit excessive make up (for the women). As far as clothing is concerned, the added benefit a particularly ethnic (cough, abayas) attire could provide is undeniable, as is the disadvantages other particular ethnic attire (that involve a dupatta). Over to you to Kippers, tell us what is most likely to evoke confidence and funding from a VC.