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The “Good Enough” pitch with Gregg Barcus

You have just designed the most awesome product of all time. You have put together a lean and brilliant team. Now it’s time to go out and pitch your company. How do you go about it? This was the topic of discussion during the lunch hour presentation on Tuesday at the Gravitate in Valley Junction.

As part of an Expert Advice series hosted by the West Des Moines Business Incubator, Gregg Barcus shared the basic principles of what goes into making a “good enough” pitch.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the presentation:

Articulate the opportunity

A good pitch deck will focus on what’s important to your specific audience.

“You have very limited time to describe what you’re doing to people,” Barcus said. “You need to focus on what problem you’re solving because you only get one shot with most audiences.”

If you’re reading, you’re not listening

Barcus says to avoid using long sentences in paragraphs to keep the audience focused on what you’re saying rather than reading a powerpoint and not paying attention to the pitch. He recommends using pictures and graphics as opposed to text whenever possible.

No one cares about your technology

“Technologists tend to love to talk about their technology,” Barcus said. “And that is the fastest way to lose an audience. Non-technologists are going to lose interest and other technologists are thinking about ways you’re doing it wrong and they would have done it differently.”

Engage your audience

Delivery is equally important to content said Barcus.

“Pitching is not just a presentation of facts. Pitching is about engaging your audience,” Barcus said. “If you don’t do that, nothing else makes any difference.”

Watch the video below to see Barcus’ entire presentation.

Previous Coverage

Gregg Barcus teaches a new generation of entrepreneurs at Venture School – July 26, 2018

The "Good Enough" pitch with Gregg Barcus | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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