Games Invest: Pitch your company, not your product


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Investors are falling over themselves to invest in games, but UK games companies are failing to get their money. The reason? Too many companies pitch products, not companies.
In this talk, I explain the different stages of a compy, what investors look for and the biggest mistakes that I have seen startups making when talking to investors.

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Games Invest: Pitch your company, not your product

  1. 1. Nicholas Lovell<br />GAMESbrief<br />GamesInvest, London<br />September 22nd 2011<br />RAISING MONEY FOR GAMESPitch your company, not your product<br />
  2. 2. Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief<br />Author, How to Publish a Game<br />Director, GAMESbrief<br />Clients include Atari, Channel 4, Channelflip, Firefly, IPC, nDreams, Rebellion and Square Enix<br />@nicholaslovell / @gamesbrief<br />With Nic Brisbourne of DFJ Esprit, writing 50 questions you should ask when raising venture capital<br />
  3. 3. Subscribe to the blog<br />
  4. 4. Come to my masterclass<br />How to make money from social games<br />Early bird price: £325 + VAT (until 28th September)<br />Bring a colleague for half price<br /><br />
  5. 5. Some definitions<br />
  6. 6. Seed capital<br />
  7. 7. Series A<br />
  8. 8. Series B<br />
  9. 9. What’s the point of a startup?<br />
  10. 10. Steve Blank says:<br />
  11. 11. We used to know the business model <br />Put a game in a box. Sell it.<br />
  12. 12. Now we don’t<br />Platform?<br />Pricing model?<br />Free?<br />Whales and true fans?<br />Conversion rates?<br />TRACTION?<br />
  13. 13. So what is the business plan?<br />I don’t care about your year 3 revenues<br />I care about the levers that will move your business<br />I don’t want a “feature list” that shows that your product has everything your competitors have<br />They’re normally better funded than you<br />I want to see that you:<br />Have identified one to two things that your market really wants<br />That you can show how CPA < LTV, preferably lots less<br />
  14. 14. The biggest mistake I see<br />Pitching a PROJECT, not a COMPANY<br />Creatives pitch businesses like they’d pitch a TV show or game<br />All about making money from the investment, not using the investment to create wealth<br />Corporate types pitch businesses like new divisions:<br />All “risk mitigation” and “competitive analysis”<br />Business plans become arse-covering exercises<br />Show investors a plan that :<br />identifies the market need, <br />shows the funnel that will fuel it, <br />and the levers you need to pull to get there<br />
  15. 15. Why funding is the last resort<br />
  16. 16. Funding is expensive<br />Time<br />6-12 months<br />Money<br />Lawyers, bankers, PR agents, travel expenses<br />Equity<br />25-50%<br />Revenue is MUCH cheaper<br />
  17. 17. Are you funding for the right thing<br />Many funders just aren’t right for your stage of business<br />No matter the stage<br />Too big, too small<br />Too tech-heavy, too marketing-heavy<br />Too domestic, too international<br />Can you take all that effort you would have put into raising money and build a damned product instead?<br />Particularly true for web-focused businesses<br />
  18. 18. So what have I learned<br />
  19. 19. My learnings<br />Start-ups are fun (even failed ones)<br />Although failed ones are *incredibly” stressful<br />Spend as much time as possible talking to investors<br />The more you can learn about how they think, the better<br />Your plan is a guide, not an answer<br />Never be fooled into believing it<br />Know what stage your business is at, and hence what investors will look for<br />Pitch a company, not a product<br />
  20. 20. Thank younicholas@gamesbrief.comFollow my blogwww.gamesbrief.comCome to my<br />