Storytelling is key when it comes to presenting tech, says Andrew Richardson, who appears on stage in his biker leathers while pitching his motorcycle tech business.
Gateshead-based Realsafe Technologies developed RealRider, an app that detects whether a motorcyclist has had a crash and then alerts the emergency services. It was prompted by cases of bikers ending up nowhere near their vehicles after a collision, making them difficult to find.
“People relate to stories and they can get on board quicker, so I start with something like ‘I’m out riding on a Sunday morning, I lose the front end of my bike, etc’,” Richardson says. “People instantly see me as a rider and they connect with the business. You don’t always know who you’ve got in the room when you’re talking tech, so if you start using abbreviations they’re not going to get it.”
While the rest of the pitch should run through the problem, your solution, the USP, market, track record and the revenue model, many entrepreneurs forget to address ‘the ask’ in their pitch. “What are you asking for and what do you want investors to do – that’s very important,” says Richardson. “If you can see that you’re running out of time then make sure you get to the ask.”
Pitch, pitch, pitch; practise makes perfect
He generally starts to write a pitch several weeks in advance and believes you can’t rehearse too much. “Pitch to family, friends, colleagues and then find somebody senior to give you some pointers – it’s difficult but the more you do it the more confident you become,” he says. “I run it though in my head right up until I’m about to pitch.”
Although he does tend to wear his biking gear, he suggests mirroring the audience you’re pitching to and dressing accordingly. You could also find out something about your audience to make yourself memorable. “At Pitch@Palace I addressed Prince Andrew directly, because I knew William and Harry ride, and said I understood he must be a worried uncle when they’re out riding,” says Richardson. This can also be useful when going in front of investors rather than at large events. “If you’re going in front of an investor who doesn’t invest in what you’re doing then don’t go,” he adds.