As a serial entrepreneur, to say that the early phases of my investor deck went through years of iterative growing pains is an understatement -- I still have the Dropbox to prove it. I know many startup executives share my woes and agree that the fundraising process is a major time-commitment and pain point, especially when freshly embarking down the path.
"I wish I had this when I was raising money for my company."
That quote is from Kristen Valdes, CEO, b.well Connected Health, and when I hear it, needless to say, my interests are truly piqued. She's talking about Pitch Creator, and it's the most common feedback seasoned entrepreneurs give about their online course (called the, 'Foundation Course') -- which is claimed to be the fastest and most efficient way for entrepreneurs to learn how to create a pitch to investors.
Inspiring the Perfect Pitch
Pitch Creator is an online education platform founded in in 2015 by growth equity veteran Jason Tagler. The project started out as Tagler's volunteer passion project to help entrepreneurs in the Baltimore area learn how to pitch investors and raise money for their businesses; thereby impacting the Baltimore's job creation potential, economy, and start-up ecosystem. Since then, Pitch Creator has expanded to online courses, which are used by universities, accelerators, incubators, and angel investment groups across the nation. The company is run by a volunteer team of advisers and instructors and all profits are reinvested back into the online courses to improve learning outcomes for student entrepreneurs.
Tagler started Pitch Creator by giving in-person presentations and quickly realized there was no curated and organized source of information to teach entrepreneurs how to pitch investors. Through trial and error over multiple years he developed a learning framework (that he describes as similar to 'painting by numbers') to make it fast and efficient for an entrepreneur to develop a pitch to investors. Tagler says,
"If you think of the process of creating a pitch to investors as a continuum from 0 to 100, our goal is to accelerate you to at least 50 as quickly and efficiently as possible with our self-study materials and then you will be prepared to work with an advisor/instructor to go the rest of the way to 100 [getting funded]."
Adaptive Learning Framework
One of the advantages of the Pitch Creator Foundation Course is that it works for companies of different stages -- and the testimonials on the Pitch Creator Success Stories page show that. The online course was first developed for the later-stage companies and then adapted to earlier stage companies, which are especially predominant in Baltimore.
"If you've ever pitched or never pitched, you can always get better." -- Chris Sleat, CEO, Workbench Platform
What Tagler is most excited about is that multiple universities are now using a specific version of the online course at both the undergraduate and graduate level -- and adopters already include Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Loyola University of Maryland, University of Delaware, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the University of Baltimore.
"I reviewed Pitch Creator's online, self-study Foundation Course and I was floored." -- Jim Kyung-Soo Liew, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business
The courses highlight a variety of differentiating advantages that have long-term benefit for the students:
- Educates student entrepreneurs how to create both a "Read Me Pitch" and a "Listen to Me Pitch" -- both of which are critical to maximize chances of raising capital.
- Saves students time while creating a pitch and learning through leveraging the building-block approach.
- Flexible learning framework which can be used for companies of varying stages.
As a result of the above, the students are able to absorb and apply what they've learned to multiple businesses in the future, creating life-long skills as a result.
Where it would have been nice to take advantage of a resource like this while I spent way too many hours figuring this out 'the hard way', I'm grateful -- and the entrepreneurial and educational impact here can be profound. It's exciting to think about startups being borne at a faster rate and that their time can be allocated to the things that matter most -- running their company. Go get em'.