One of the most difficult — though often one of the most important — tasks for entrepreneurs and others looking to start and operate a business is raising money. Those who have mastered this step usually have one thing in common: they have learned how to “speak” like investors.
That, says Jason Tagler, is the reason he created a free online, self-paced learning resource for CEOs to develop their presentation pitch. Originally called CEOPitchCoach, Tagler is relaunching the program as PitchCreator this spring.
“PitchCreator is like the Rosetta Stone for entrepreneurs because it helps them learn the language of investors,” says Tagler, a private equity investor at Camden Partners.
Tagler, who has helped take 10 companies public and estimates he’s seen more than 1,000 CEOs pitch their companies and ideas, says very few know how to do it effectively. In fact, he noticed that most of the less successful people suffered from some common problems that could be overcome with the right resources and a little coaching.
“I realized that there are basic components that are applicable to every investor pitch in all situations, with very few exceptions,” he says. “So I created the ‘Foundation Pitch’ framework that is available for free on the PitchCreator website. Similar to painting by numbers, it is designed to help you create a solid first pitch as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
From that point, Tagler says, the next step is to work with an instructor or advisor at a university, an accelerator program, an angel investor or mentor, to perfect the pitch and get funded.
The next step for PitchCreator, he adds, is bringing on multiple instructors in the second half of 2017 to lead live presentations and workshops that build on the self-study program, through several learning program partners. These include the University of Maryland and UMBC, the University of Baltimore, and Loyola, accelerators and co-working spaces, such as ETC and Betamore, and angel groups, like the Baltimore Angels.
“My goal for PitchCreator is to help entrepreneurs in the Baltimore area learn how to pitch investors and raise money for their businesses,” says Tagler, “thereby impacting Baltimore’s start-up ecosystem, Baltimore’s economy, and ultimately, Baltimore’s job creation potential.”