Why it is Ok to Pay to Pitch

So lately there has been some hubub about startups paying to pitch, and how it is evil and blah blah blah.  David Cohen and Brad Feld went so far as to challenge a company to split fees and make it free for startups.

Alright, take a step back.  A crowd is pissed because an organization is solving a problem (sounds like a startup to me).  The price is too high and they think a group is being taken advantage of (oh, yep, I fully get that one, an extension of spec work).

Ok, we have that defined.  Price is too high and a group is being taken advantage of.  Got it.

I would never participate in one of these pay to pitch events. It goes squarely against my bootstrapping roots. 

But can we put away the pitch forks?

I’ve hung out with my fair share of angel investors and have yet to meet one that has said “you know, I just have too much money, I just want to write a check.  Know anyone?”

It just never happens.

I wrote “How To Pitch an Angel Investor” last year, stand behind my thoughts.

Putting on a quality event takes a ton of work.  A. Ton. Of. Work. By bringing out the pitchforks scares away the folks that are, at the base, trying to help startups.  I personally don’t like events like TC50 that pass on high costs to the investors.  The startups go in with a ‘we are hot shit’ attitude and expect the investors to be horny college girls just waiting for the opportunity to throw off their clothes.  Plus they charge startups to pitch in the demo pit (after campaigning they hate events that have startups pay).   Not my scene.  I am not the biggest fan of DEMO because I think they are too much and attract some skeezy startups.   There is a space for both though, and I am glad they are there.

If an organizer said “costs to put everything on and pay one employee an minimal salary, split between all the startups that want to join together to have the event,” and had a track record of great events, I would have no problem whatsoever.  Would you?

Down pitchforkers, down.

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