ETEC522’s Pitch Pool

ETEC 522’s “Pitch Pool”

With respect to ETEC 522, the brilliant part of the 12-minute pitch is that they amount to perfect learning objects. They are condensed venture diamonds with all their important facets on display. From a due diligence perspective therefore, every single facet is an opportunity for further scrutiny – is it real or is it actually flawed

With this in mind your instructors have assembled a “pitch pool” of real-world 12-minute educational venture pitches as learning resources for this course. These pitches have been acquired from ventures representing many dimensions of the learning technology marketplace, collectively providing a unique, fascinating and enormously authentic window into the universe you are studying. Like Reality TV, shows that depict real people in real (though sometimes implausible situations), these are real people exposing the souls of their ventures (and themselves) for your edification and viewing pleasure. Some are new, some are older. Enjoy them and pay close attention to what they say.

This year, the pitch pool may contain more than one presentation on the same company. One of our objectives was to show you how companies grow, change – perhaps struggle – over time. For “second” pitches, we allowed the presenters to give you a “customer” pitch – the kind where you are facing the executives of a major corporation and get less than 15 minutes, as the executive of your own company, to convince them to buy into your vision (and give you the big deal you’ve worked so hard for). In other cases, the CEO was interviewed by one of us.

Successful companies often go through rough patches in the early days (and these are all early-stage companies or new organizational ventures) so letting you see the trauma, the shifts in direction and the (hopeful) take-off into positive earnings of these firms is a big part of what we’re trying to do with the pitch pool.

An “investor” presentation like this typically follows these rules:

  • A maximum of 12 minutes in length
  • Covers the opportunity or gap in the market the company is trying to fill
  • Discusses the products or services the company is filling that gap with
  • Explains why someone will buy from the company
  • Tells you where the buyers are to be found and which subset the company will go after
  • Describes the business credibility of the company’s leaders and advisors
  • Discusses competitors the company faces
  • Talks about partnerships the company may need
  • Explains what the investment proposition is, i.e. the financials of the company and how much the investment will return, when and how.

Some of the CEOs were uncomfortable discussing financial data about their company for the purposes of our course, so we let them skip that part of their presentation if they wanted to.

We chose many of the presenters from New Media BC, the industry association that looks after British Columbia companies in the learning technologies sector, because the diversity of that community gave us enough examples to choose from.

Each of the pitch pool entries has a video segment, showing you the person giving the presentation and, in a few cases, their presentation slides side by side.  There are also a couple of interviews in the pitch pool that discuss organizational ventures in public sector organizations such as universities. These would be considered primarily intrapreneurial ventures.