Every months a group of investors meets at SFU Time Center in downtown Vancouver, for a 2-3 hour meeting, where early stage startups give their pitch in hope that they will find some interested investors. Some startups just want the cash, most companies ask for cash, plus mentorship, others are just in the conception stage and all they want is mentorship.
Typically there are two segments to each meeting. There are 5-minute pitches, for those who do it for the first time. If the 5-minute pitch went well and people found the presenter prepared, then the next time they are given 15 minutes. They also get time to answer questions — typically 10 minutes presentation, followed by a 5-minute Q&A session, where startups get “grilled” a bit, or should we say get a “reality-check”.
Recently one of the meeting organizers, Thealzel Lee, started running prescreen sessions, which allows startups to run their presentation in front of a small expert panel, which give suggestions for improvements and the panel also decides whether the company is ready to do the long pitch, do the short one, or send them home to do their homework.
There is one more nuance to the selection process. A startup that wants to pitch to VanTEC investors group has to find a sponsor investor who either had already invested in the company or considers to do so. This is a great filter, because if a startup can’t find a single investor themselves, chances are that they will waste other investors’ time.
Meetings are held monthly – usually the first Tuesday (but not always) morning of each month between 7:30 and 10:30am. Attendees are charged a nominal $10 to cover the coffee and snacks. Attendance is by invitation only, but if you really want to come and look at other companies present (hint, hint for you entrepreneurs) you will be let in. Most of the attendees are active investors, but there are always a few wannabes and handful of MBA students.
There are two kinds of meetings: Technology startups and Biotech/Life Sciences startups. The two alternate every month, so investors interested only in one kind of startups don’t have to attend every month.
You can read more about the VanTEC group.
If you would like to come and pitch to Vancouver Investors you need to contact Thealzel Lee firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a Biotech/Life Sciences startup and Mike Volker email@example.com for all other startups.