Over January, we had the pleasure of hosting Nick Dowling for an internship, here’s what he had to say about the experience:
Alberts has always been a family business stressing their core values of respect and care for over 5 generations. Conscious of wanting to extend on the value of family, the company has been looking at how to integrate the 6th generation – a difficult task with ages ranging from newborns up to young adults about to begin university, like myself. I have long been intrigued by the business space at high school as well as wanting to understand on a deeper level what goes on in daily operations at a business. For the last few weeks, I have been involved in meetings, reviewing pitch decks, and providing an alternative view on various companies, gaining priceless experience for my studies and future work. These are my three3 main takeaways:
Impact At the Forefront
“We often disagree on the proposed success of a business, but that can be a good thing for Venture Capital. However, to invest we must all unanimously agree the business is solving a current problem and having a positive impact for the future”
Before starting, this idea of ‘impact investing’ was something foreign to me, having only studied traditional investing fields eg shares, property, fixed interest, etc. However, it soon became one of the most uplifting and motivating aspects of my brief work at Alberts, due to their stress on its importance. Being a part of a generation so cognisant of issues such as mental health in the current climate or environmental sustainability and its long-term impacts, it was refreshing to solely analyse businesses that had ideas to address these issues in our world. It was inspiring knowing our support would aid these ideas into developing into something that could help countless people across the world.
It is important as a founder, whether in a pitch deck or a meeting, to stress the problem you are addressing and delve into how your solution directly addresses it. In this way, we can see the potential positive impact immediately, and go from there. The impact and positive future effect of the business must be understood by everyone in the team to proceed.
The Importance of a Pitch Deck
“It’s never final, but you will quickly have a first impression of a company based on the look and detail of their pitch decks”
Alberts will review over 4600 businesses annually for a potential investment. Over the past couple of weeks, I have looked at hundreds of these businesses, studying their pitch decks and gaining an understanding of issues and solutions, but also what differentiates companies from an investor’s standpoint. Anyone can look up ‘how to make a pitch deck,’ but your why needs to be highlighted from the outset. Outline the issue, demonstrate the gap in the market, explain your solution. Additionally, being a VC, we need to understand your ability to scale and gain market share by addressing this gap, through a 3/5-year plan with the potential use of funds. Furthermore, although not everything, presentation is key. This is often our first view of your company so ensure it reads well and looks nice to give yourself the best opportunity. Finally, a pitch deck is obviously not as interactive as a meeting. The best pitch decks showcase a founder’s passion for their idea by being unique and personal, rather than extremely formal and distanced.
Be the Expert (but keep it concise)
“It’s more telling that a founder knows their business when they can answer questions quickly and concisely than when they ramble on in detail”
As investors, it’s our job to have bits of knowledge across industries, especially in our four4 focus areas. Before a meeting, we will have read a pitch deck and gained some insight into the business space, but you should know the ins-and-outs of everything in a particular area. Founders should be able to explain their business function to anyone in the street, not just fellow scientists, or athletes or health experts. The majority of a meeting is designed for questions, and it’s important to keep the answers to these concise and to the point so that everyone will follow and understand. In this way, the team is more confident that you are on top of things and across your business space. We already know your idea from the deck, so keep the pitch short and sharp to ensure you have the best chance to answer all our questions in the best way possible.