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Pitches / Venture capital

This Brooklyn VC will workshop your startup pitch if you donate to charity

Charlie O'Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures is selling his time and expertise on behalf of some good causes.

Charlie O'Donnell, February 2016. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Brooklyn venture capitalist Charlie O’Donnell signed up for four charity runs/triathalons/running-up-steps events this spring and summer, pledging nearly $9,000. And then realized: that’s actually a lot of money!

So he did some problem solving and came up with a solution: to workshop funding pitches for founders in exchange for a donation to his pledges. It’s called Fix Your Startup Pitch For Good, and for $200, up to eight startuppers can pitch him and get live feedback on what works and what doesn’t about their pitch. Onlookers can even come and watch for a $25 donation.

“I have some charities that I love and when they need help, I probably say yes too easily, assuming I can figure out how [to donate] later,” O’Donnell explained via text message Tuesday. “So I went back to, ‘What do founders need help with that I can provide…'” and the answer, of course, was how to best pitch other venture capitalists.

O’Donnell has done stuff like this in the past. He runs a quarterly Not A Pitch event that’s open to the public, where anyone — typically very early stage founders — can come to a venue and pitch him their idea for two minutes. He provides feedback on the idea and the pitch. He does it as a way to be a good member of the startup world, but also for deal flow. He’s taken meetings with people who have practice-pitched him at Not A Pitch, and even funded one of them, although not for the business she originally pitched.

“The only issue with Not a Pitch is that you get like 2 min of feedback, maybe 5 if I run on too long,” O’Donnell explained. “And people always ask to sit down and get more help.”

The nonprofits O’Donnell is raising money for are the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Team for Kids and ScriptEd.

“Generally, I don’t want to ‘sell’ access,” O’Donnell texted. “But if it’s for a great cause, I’m not above it. 😊”

Companies: Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
Series: Brooklyn
People: Charlie O’Donnell

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