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.
If you want candid pitch feedback and advice on direction, I'm running some small group sessions with 1 company at a time per hour for a charity donation. 10 total slots available. https://t.co/y8gCYCapFU
— Charlie O'Donnell (@ceonyc) January 8, 2018
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.”
“Generally, I don’t want to ‘sell’ access,” O’Donnell texted. “But if it’s for a great cause, I’m not above it. 😊”
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