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What Investors Look For When Evaluating Your Pitch: Samih Toukan When evaluating any investment, there are many things to look for, but it can be divided into the following categories.

By Samih Toukan

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When evaluating any investment there are many things to look for, but I can divide them into the following categories:

1. The Problem And Solution

The first thing we look at when evaluating an investment (but not necessarily the most important thing), is the idea and the product. What problem does this product aim to solve? Or what value does it add? Does the product or solution proposed solve that problem and to what degree? Would there be a big market for this product or idea?

2. The Business Model And Strategy

If an entrepreneur is able to present a good product or solution, it is important to be able to present a well thought-out strategy and roadmap for execution and achieving growth. Which markets are to be targeted? What is the business model? How would we sign up customers? How would we monetize the product? What distribution channels are to be used?

3. The Entrepreneur And The Team

This is for sure the most important criteria; ideas and products can change, but the abilities of the entrepreneur to execute and lead is most important. We usually like to invest in projects that have more than one co-founder. We look for a strong team in place with a good track record in execution. We also look for things like energy level, motivation and passion for the product. We favor entrepreneurs that take the bootstrapping route and [who] are willing to go through difficulties in the short-term in order to build a long-term business.

4. The Preparation

When we are presented with a pitch we assess the level of preparation and effort that has been put into the pitch, and this includes the presentation itself and the research done in the background.

5. The Financials

It's very important for us that the entrepreneur presents and fully understands his financial numbers and projections, and is able to defend their assumptions of the business model presented.

Samih Toukan

Chairman, Jabbar Internet Group

In the year 2000, Samih founded and became the CEO of Maktoob.com, the world’s first Arabic email and largest Arab online community with over 16 million users. In 2009, Maktoob was acquired by Yahoo! in the largest technology acquisition deal in the history of the region.

Following the acquisition, Samih became the Chairman of Jabbar Internet Group (Jabbar.com) a group that founded several leading Internet companies including souq.com, the Arab world's largest ecommerce site. Jabbar today is one of the leading investors in Internet and technology companies in the region.

Samih holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of London and a Masters in Management and International Business from HEC University in France. He has several years of experience with Andersen Consulting in technology consulting, systems development and Internet services. He co-founded Business Optimization Consultants in 1994 and Maktoob in 2000.

Between 2003 and 2005 , Samih was appointed by the Jordanian government as a member of the board of the Social Security Investment Fund (a fund of several billion Dollars). Today Samih is an active investor, investing in many startups in the region and around the world. He also acts as a mentor to many entrepreneurs. Samih is also a founding investor in Oasis500, Jordan’s leading startup incubator.

Furthermore Samih is the Chairman of the board of UnderMyOliveTree, a non profit organization focusing on education support for the unprivileged, and an investor and a member of the board of Ruwwad Micro Venture Fund, which provides grants for entrepreneurs in marginalized communities in Jordan.

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