How These Founders Crafted a Pitch That Had Investors Fighting to Put Their Money In
Orri Bogdan and Chaim Weinerman, co-founders of VAE Energy Spray, share how they won big on 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch.'
Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch is the show where contestants get into an elevator and have just 60 seconds to pitch their business to a video camera. A board of investors is watching, and if they like what they hear they open the doors, and the entrepreneur steps into the boardroom to try to seal the deal. If they don't like what they hear, the entrepreneur gets sent back down.
In this ongoing article series, we're celebrating the entrepreneurs who walked into the boardroom and came out with a win and sharing their tips for pitching success.
Who are you and what is your business?
I am Orri Bogdan, a co-founder of VAE Labs with my partner Chaim Weinerman. Our first product, VAE Energy Spray, uses our patent-pending energy blend to deliver a cup of coffee's worth of clean, focused energy in just three sprays. We went on Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch and got a $100,000 investment.
How did you prepare for the show?
The biggest thing for us was preparing for the 60-second pitch. It's difficult to paint the full picture of our product and its benefits in just 60 seconds, so we had to be very succinct. Once we had something nailed down, we practiced nonstop for weeks up to (and including!) filming day to make sure we didn't mess up once we got to the elevator.
What did you think was going to happen? What was different from your expectations?
We honestly had no idea what to expect. Although we had been on Dragons' Den this experience turned out to be completely different. Not having the guaranteed time to talk about your company is very nerve-wracking, and we were super curious how they'd react to our product. They ended up loving it, which was awesome, and from there the nerves were gone and we had a great time talking with the investors about our company.
Why do you think they opened the doors?
We'd worked on our pitch and practiced it a ton before coming. Once the countdown began, I put all my energy into just being as confident and clear as possible. We ended up having about five seconds to spare, and when I looked at my co-founder's face, I knew I'd done a good job.
How did the negotiations go? Would you do anything differently?
Negotiations went well. I think Nicole might have initially given us a thumbs down but ended up loving us and the product, so that was a quick switch. We really wanted Kim to come into the deal as well, but she's not a caffeine user, and I think we didn't fit her investment thesis in the end. Overall, I don't think we would do anything differently. We ultimately landed on a great deal on our terms with some amazing investors — an awesome outcome for an early-stage business like ours!
What do you plan to do with your investment?
We'll be launching VAE online in November 2022, and the money we've raised will mostly go toward inventory production and marketing for the launch. We are also planning on bringing VAE to retail stores next summer, so we are budgeting for that as well.
What did it mean to you personally to get in the doors and walk out with a win?
It was an incredible feeling. Chaim and I are not big fans of going on TV, so it took a lot from both of us to make it happen. The scary thing about Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch is the downside — you can easily come in and not get a deal, or even worse, go up the elevator and get the red light at the top. After Marc made his initial $50,000 offer, we both felt so relieved, and while we didn't get the $400,000 we asked for, they agreed with our valuation, and we got two incredible investors to join our team.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
I would say that you should only apply if you're extremely confident about what you're building. This is a tough game, and we saw a lot of entrepreneurs leave the show without a deal. If you have total confidence and are ready to put it all on the line, then this is the show for you.
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