A friend of mine pointed out the Canadian Innovation Exchange event happening in Toronto to myself and another entrepreneur and suggested we might consider attending. There are some really good looking sessions there from some good VCs who are no doubt looking to increase deal flow a little. For companies that are selected to present, you also get a 10 minute pitch and a 3 minute one on one meeting with each of the investors afterward.
What's not to like, right?
A lot. The model for this conference is that the VC community builds deal flow by holding a beauty contest and charging entrepreneurs to pitch. It's a dutch date with a miser, which is a bad basis for a relationship.
To my friends in the Canadian VC community, for whom this conference and others like it have been a fixture for many years, I say this: In any other business, prospecting isn't a profit center. The model wherein aspiring entrepreneurs pay for the right to talk with you is one you probably ought to consign to the trash heap of history as you think about reforming your business. And yeah, I know you've dropped the price to $495 for "early bird" registrants this year, but why not just abolish the practice altogether?
To aspiring entrepreneurs who want to talk with any of these investors: pick up the phone and call them. Investors will take your call without asking you to pay for the privilege. If your idea is any good, you'll get a meeting. The same 10 minute pitch you were going to give on stage at the CIX can be delivered in person, and the bonus is that you'll get more than 3 minutes of feedback.