A case study on pitching

Insights how a pitch trainer does his pitch for a corporate fintech challenge

When teaching how to do pitching it is important also to be an active pitcher yourself. It is not possible to be a trainer on how to pitch if you don’t do that yourselves. Here is a story of how a subsidiary company of Edale pitched its technology solution to a Stock Exchange in the United Arab Emirates.

Background

There is an old adage that you should never stop pitching and always be closing. Big business has embraced innovation and as part of that you often find a route to market or new clients is through pitching competitions. This is how we did it for one market we are looking to enter with our financial technology solution, bondsmart.

Introduction to bondsmart

Bondsmart is a micro investing platform allows smaller investor to actually be involved in lending to big business. They get access to a secure investment and a better return without the volatility of equities, opaqueness of alternative finance and illiquidity of property. This is democratisation of wholesale debt markets.

The challenge

In July 2021 Abu Dhabi stock exchange along with financial regulator in the UAE launch a competition to find a solution that would help with investor education and financial inclusion for retail investors. On smart saw this competition and went about building its pitch deck and story to develop a suitable solution for Abu Dhabi exchange, ADX.

Bondsmart is a fully operating investment platform but part of the technology included an investor centre where we had built very simple and intuitive user interface to provide details on investments this investment centre would be an ideal solution the ADX challenge. however as it’s only part of our business we needed to suitably package this and also answered the challenge statement and problem that the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange was seeking to solve.

Any pitch usually has core elements in the way that it should be delivered. Those are an:

  1. attention grabbing opener
  2. the problem
  3. the solution
  4. the traction a solution has got and
  5. how the application of that solution to the problem can lead to an outcome for the listener.

Developing the pitch

When starting to build our pitch we went and actually looked at the keywords that were in the call to pitch document. This allowed us to get a clear focus on some of the words and actually phrases that we needed address. Secondly we then went and actually looked at the existing solutions that are available for retail customers and financial education resourecs. We then actually took some screengrabs of their current solutions and use this to actually show the current problem the investors were experiencing when trying to get access to retail friendly investment information.

The Investor Centre engine of bondsmart had been through a lot of research and design to make it intuitive and answer the simplest of questions for investors which is “what would be my return” and “what time period am I investing for”. any additional information had to be simply and visually presented. The human brain read visuals far better than text so we design our solutions to have 50% of the presentation of data in a visual manner.

Combining our simple solutions with the shortcomings of the existing solutions and how they didn’t answer the problem statement allowed us to come up with three slides that pitched to the problem, presented a solution and how it addressed the problem. We focused very little on the product solution. It was about showcasing the problem and effectiveness in addressing it.

The real challenge was then to stitch that together in a short succinct and impacting story. Our full pitch would only have 5 minutes to present the case and it was critical to be able to do that in time and on point. We have a general rule of 1 slide per minute. This is an overestimation of how long you will talk to one slide but it is useful as a rule of firm to ensure an effective design of a pitch deck.

Editing and building this story was actually the time consuming exercise for this pitch deck. We had the materials, we had the knowledge on what the existing solutions were it was stitching it together and doing that in a style that hit the point and actually told it in a rememberable way. Building a few nuggets and sound bites that would really help us to ensure that this solution was pitched in the right way and actually stood above the crowd.

Result

Bond smart successfully pitched and made it onto a shortlist with three other companies that presented in alive pitch-off event via zoom. The judges then made a decision which business to take forward to do a POC (Proof Of Concept agreement)and whilst bondsmart was not the winning pitch we did actually get some positive feedback and a demonstration that our solution had a market.

The good thing with this competition was that we made contacts that we previously did not know and we have further been able to have conversations with those contacts to actually consider whether our solution could be a commercial solution that the business would like to use within their existing technology.

The lesson here is being unsuccessful in pitching does not close down opportunities it actually opens those up and we use them to develop the business. Whilst is not the heart of what the business is designed to do it potentially helps us a client that in using part of our solution gets us a step further into the market and importantly commercialises our solution having a anchor client with a large corporate profile. A pitching competition was a form of business development and market testing. We get real world feedback from people that are involved in our sector.

We see pitching as a great way to get your business known in the market and broadcast your story. It can also be a route to market though it’s knowing where these competitions are and actually being aware of them. However, getting a good pitch takes work and is not a brief exercise but with experience the process does become speeded up.

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