What is old is new. Entrepreneurs are stil being asked to pay to pitch. It’s WRONG.
Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post about a Boston group trying to charge entrepreneurs $4500 to pitch venture capitalists at an event. Many in the startup community were appalled by this especially folks like Jason Calacanis who created the Open Angel Forum specifically to create an event where entrepreneurs could gain free access to investors.
To quote my partner Seth:
THERE IS NO CIRCUMSTANCE IN WHICH ENTREPRENEURS SHOULD PAY TO PITCH THEIR BUSINESS TO PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS.
PERIOD. END OF STORY.
Microsoft, who had been a sponsor of the Boston event, terminated their relationship after the pay-to-pitch arrangement was publicized. I thought all of this activity would die, but it’s 24+ months later and it looks like the idea has been resurrected. And it makes me just as sick today as it did then.
Venture Summit | West, being held February 13th is an event looking to make money off of entrepreneurs who need to raise money. The price? $1585.00. I suppose the good news is that if you apply and don’t make the cut, they don’t charge you. But $1600 bucks to pitch VCs? This is completely backwards and distasteful. They also offer startups a ticket for $400 if they just want to come and network with the VCs at the event.
They are charging the VCs to attend ($500) and they have a bracket for “others” at ($700). So at least the investors are not getting a free ride on the backs of the entrepreneurs, but can we finally be done with trying to make money off of startups that don’t have any cash? Come on folks, create a business model where you can make some money but NOT charge the entrepreneurs. My bet is that many of the VC attendees have no idea this is even going on.
Lastly, if you are trying to raise money, do you homework. You have many other outlets to meet VCs, including OAF, and simply going to VC websites and finding email addresses. There are events all over the place where you can network and / or pitch. Even online.
I hope that companies aren’t taken in by their slick marketing materials.