GREENSBORO, N.C. — The competition was tough and lightning-fast Wednesday night as entrepreneurs had as little as two minutes to pitch to investors.
Competitors from across the state spent the evening in Greensboro hoping to grow their businesses with some financial backing.
“I’ve been preparing for this for weeks. I’ve been running my presentation, it’s only two minutes, but because it’s only two minutes you got to really nail it. There’s not a whole lot of room for missteps and making things up,” said Amy Pruitt, an entrepreneur.
Launch Greensboro brought back their annual pitch competition, also known as Capital Connects. The event serves as a bridge between investors and startups.
“When you are a startup company the first capital raise is just the beginning. There’s multiple iterations of this, so it’s really important to get comfortable doing that,” said Clifford Thompson, chair of the Launch Greensboro advisory board.
By getting more comfortable, Thompson means putting time constraints on entrepreneurs’ pitches.
The competition was divided into two tiers: a two-minute round for early-stage businesses and a six-minute round for investor-ready businesses.
“It’s nerve-racking. I practiced a lot. I practiced in my sleep. I literally practiced in the car driving down here; I was using my phone to go through the presentation,” said Ron Arnold, CEO of Threat Sketch.
Arnold started Threat Sketch almost a decade ago, but it really started to take off five years back.
“It’s 10 times harder and three times more money than you expected, but you know it’s a joy to do this, and it takes a special breed to be an entrepreneur,” said Arnold.
Arnold runs a cyber risk management company based in Winston-Salem. He says these venture capital events help create a space where an entrepreneurial ecosystem can thrive.
“If we didn’t have events like this I don’t know how I would reach the investment community, because going door to door would just take forever,” said Arnold.
Arnold says what he sees happening in the Piedmont Triad is motivating.
“It’s great to see an entrepreneurial community in the Piedmont Triad. That’s something that’s very new, and it’s so much richer than I could have ever imagined,” said Arnold.
Arnold won the six-minute pitch competition and walked away with the $7,500 prize.