First attempt: Ingenia and Recombo 2004

As an inexperienced EVA I decided to focus on both Recombo 2004 and Ingenia pitches.  Their format and the visual aid used by the speakers made it a lot easier for me to follow the pitch.  I’m assuming this format also makes it easier for any potential investor to get the most out of a 12 minute pitch.

Recombo 2004: MacPhee seems very confident about his company’s potential and shares his vision for the long-term.  He identifies key players in the team he’s assembled and highlights they’re relevant experience.  For now, I am impressed with the business model that was presented.  The speaker describes the company’s specific goals and the strategies to reach these goals. He uses clear graphics and relevant examples to get his point across.  MacPhee mentions some of his clients and key partners but also takes the time to mention the competition he is facing.  Furthermore he seems to give a realistic view of the company’s path to success by identifying the challenges that need to be dealt by the company in order to reach the described goals. MacPhee mentions the positive feedback he’s received from publishers/clients and shares his desires for the long-term.
Ingenia: Materi gives an overview of her presentation before she starts her pitch per say.  She describes her company’s activities in detail.  Shares the company’s success to date and briefly mentions the type of team members she is working with.  Materi emphasizes her own personal experience in the field.  She shares the type of clients she works with.  Materi clearly identifies some of the challenges faced by the company and discusses the approaches the firm will take to tackle these. She specifies the market the firm wishes to tap into and describes the logic behind choosing that market.  Furthermore she highlights her personal experience with this market.  She shares Ingenia’s main goal.  Very clearly describes the type of investment needed and the percentage of return that is expected.  Materi seems a lot less confident when discussing the potential challenges.  Some of the language used, such as “we think we can” and “ this will be tough”, is likely worrisome for a potential investor.  Overall, I feel more substantial facts about the firm could have been shared within the allotted time.

If I had the required funds and had to make a decision between both firms, I do believe I would go forward by granting Recombo another chance to further discuss investment potential.  I believe it will be interesting, however, to do this same comparison once I have more experience as an EVA.  The outcome could very well be the opposite.


1 davidp { 09.19.08 at 9:19 am }

Thanks for this analysis, Fetya.

One of the seemingly unspoken parts of the pitch analyses that have been posted has been the appeal of product over service pitches.

For these two companies, I think we can imagine a technology product having more appeal to venture funders than a purely service business, for the multiplier effects that kick in when products get widely distributed. It’s likely easier to see the return on investment in a tangible product, than in a human-powered service that requires more and more people to scale to the market.


2 Crystal Pullman { 09.20.08 at 3:26 pm }

Fetya, I also found Materi’s uncertainty about their challenges uncomforting. She was certainly very confident and passionate in the beginning, though I got a bit confused in the Success to Date slide when she seemed to jump from talking about work they had done, to talk about herself. I was also a bit uncomfortable when she spoke of herself ‘as a bit of a Guru’.

I also like the Recombo 2004 pitch, although I was feeling for Macphee at the end when he was running out of time and still had ground to cover (such as the potential figures for the business). He seemed much more certain of what the company was facing and what they would do in light of that as opposed to hoping to make it work despite the competition (such as Materi).

I agree with you as well that I think I, as an EVA, would invest in Recombo 2004 over Ingenia. (A side note – did Recombo – as mentioned in the 05 video – go IPO? My partner has worked for IPO startups, and it seems that once in that phase, the company really gets going! It would be exciting to see these videos and then learn that in face Recombo did go IPO.)

3 Laura Macleod { 09.21.08 at 10:04 am }

Fetya and Davidp

David’s observation about products versus services clarified for me one of the reasons I didn’t chose to analyze Ingenia. At base, I found the idea of investing in consulting services too unappealing. Too intangible and way too dependent on individuals. What if Materi became unable to work? How do you build succession into a consulting model?

But then again, I wonder if this is an increasingly anachronistic attitude. There is lots of talk in the textbook industry about how we don’t sell books, we sell educational solutions – while some of that is just marketing gobbledy-gook, we have expanded beyond just the book to offer a much wider range of services, including tutoring, software, and access to library-type collections.


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