Demonstration Stations by Shalom Lloyd

On the 4th of March 2019, we had our ‘Demo Day Pitch Selection & Practice’ which was aimed at giving all SLP fellows the opportunity to hone in on our pitches through constructive feedback with the added benefit of receiving this feedback not only from each other but also tips from experts – all in a friendly and semi-informal environment.

As fellows (and one of the joys of SLP) we have so many different businesses which are all at different stages – the diversity is refreshing. Majority of us however are or will soon get to the stage where we would need to pitch our businesses to potential investors – so the demo day was ultimately to get us close to being ready for our ‘demo days’.


Guidance given by Wen and Steve was pretty clear and straight forward and having the SLP handbook made planning that much easier. My plan was to make the class and interactive, fun but somewhat relaxed – although taken seriously. I had prepared email to fellows, agenda and email to guests quite a while before hand so that all I had to do was copy and paste. During the class before, also confirmed that majority of the fellows would attend the class (room of course for last minute cancellations).

There is a lot of chasing particularly chasing fellows to send their pitch decks through – Planning made the class easier to run for me

Arriving earlier than everyone else helped set-up and testing of audio (with Marco joining via hangout)


With the word ‘practice’ one could assume that attendance would be lower than usual however, the class was well attended by both fellows and guests.

The Guests

My intention during the planning stage was to seek guests who not only were seasoned in terms of pitches but those who could also double up as potential investors. They had to have start-up interest or experience and be open to the diversity as opposed to sole interest in Tech start-ups for example.

Being proud of SLP and wanting to bring in guests who had not heard of SLP, I was and believe other fellows were pleased with the guests:

  • Darren Johnson; Chief Operating Officer – Listed Equities; Impax Asset Management

  • David McQueen; Speaker, Facilitator, Presenter and investor 

  • Foluke Akinlose MBE FRSA; Founder – The PRECIOUS Awards

  • Jack Duckett; Associate Director for Consumer Lifestyles Research; Mintel Group Ltd

These amazing guests gave up time and added value which I believe was truly appreciated by fellows.  More importantly, they were extremely impressed with SLP, the calibre of fellows and the business diversity + pitch quality overall

The Day

The class was relaxed but structured and I got a kick out of keeping to the 3-minute pitch time. Our timing was a bit off and as class CEO, I left my pitch until last which means it was rushed – lesson learned – you are a fellow too and must comply with your own plan and rules as a fellow.

The question and answer session after each pitch as well as the general feedback session was welcomed and appreciated.

The calibre of feedback and the engagement of the guests was brilliant.

Lessons Learned

The right guests are critical and ensuring that invited guests are relevant means more interaction and engagement.

Key take aways:

  • Let people know the problem (WHAT); Your solution (HOW) and your Unique Selling Point (USP) and of course start with your WHY

  • Your slides should be simple, tell a story and take the audience on a journey

  • Create a narrative that grabs your audience emotionally

  • Know the market, competition, number and any assumptions around the numbers

  • And finally, practise lots and enjoy it

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