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The Pitch returns with a new season now from Gimlet Media
Josh pitches Sheel once more as we go back to our roots and take you behind-the-scenes of our show.
You’re listening to The Pitch. I’m Josh Muccio. In this show, we bring you behind the scenes so you can learn from the investor and founder conversations that normally happen behind closed doors. But today, we’re doing something a bit different. Many of you may remember an episode we did called Josh Pitches Sheel, episode 12.5. Today, we continue that story and bring you behind the scenes of our show. I’m looking for ways we can push the limits of what’s possible.
SHEEL MOHNOT: Nobody is going to say yes.
Obviously, not everyone’s on board. So to catch you up to speed, back in episode 12.5, we were struggling with how to make ends meet as a show. Trying to figure out whether this show will always have a niche audience or if we’ll ever go mainstream. Our solution at the time: to embrace our niche audience and offer additional products for our listeners. Here’s what happened after that episode aired: one, we launched our pitch coaching bootcamp for founders and two, we changed the format of our show so that everything happens live–with the investors and founders in the same room.
This has become so much the norm that it’s hard for me to imagine ever going back to the way we did things before. But now, we’ve hit another wall. Maybe the wall isn’t real, but in my head, it exists. I feel we’ve got to keep moving forward and innovate on our own success or if fear will slowly dissolve into something people don’t care about anymore. But I think I know what to do. And just like every startup that comes on our show, it all starts with an idea.
MUCCIO: Hey, hey. You ready?
MUCCIO: I’m actually going to propose, Sheel, that the next thing we do is we start planning our first event in San Francisco.
MOHNOT: Ooh, okay. I like that idea.
MOHNOT: Well, tell me what the event is.
MUCCIO: All right. Well, let’s lay a foundation here first. So this is actually not entirely my idea.
MOHNOT: You didn’t come up with the idea for hosting events?
MUCCIO: No. So, as you know, I spent a lot of time listening to the audio every minute, every second, every nanosecond of the show. And one of the things that’s really kind of started to bug me if, I can be honest here, I feel like having an investor on the show and then talking and then recording this whole thing–at the end, the only payoff that we have is, yes, I think I’d follow up or yeah, I think I would have another meeting with the founder. I actually feel like that’s inauthentic. I feel like it’s fake. Actually, what really bugs me is when investors use the word ‘would.’ As in, yeah, I would follow up. As if the whole episode recording is for show and that it’s not real. I want to hear the investors say, “Yes, I’m going to follow up,” or, “No, I’m not interested in the start-up.” And so, I want to fix that.
MOHNOT: I mean, in general, investors never commit to anything. They’re always slow to commit. Always. So.
MUCCIO: Does it bug you? Or is this just me because I’m so into the audio?
MOHNOT: Probably bugs you more than me because it has nothing to do with our podcast. It’s just always the case that investors are never committing to anything.
MUCCIO: All right. So here’s my thought. Here’s my pitch on what I think can fix this problem. So here’s what I propose: we do a two-day event with ten founders and five investors. But here’s the thing: the five investors–I want to find five people who are willing to, in a one hour conversation, make a verbal commitment of, “Yes, I want to invest, and here’s how much money I want to invest,” or, “No, I’m out.”
MOHNOT: Okay. I think that’s pretty hard because investors often want to do more background research and sort of take their time. I mean, I like the idea but I don’t know that it would actually work.
MUCCIO: That’s been my opinion all along. That’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
MOHNOT: I mean, I think what’s going to happen is nobody is going to say yes.
MUCCIO: Well, actually, I’ve already got someone who said yes.
JACOB CHAPMAN: Yeah, absolutely. I think you can make good investment decisions and sort of a compressed time for it.
CHAPMAN: I think, one of my strongest one or two companies, I made that investment decision over the course of just a couple hours.
MUCCIO: Here’s my thought: if we’ve got one investor who said, “Yes. Yep.” It’s possible we can find four more. And here’s why–
MOHNOT: Oh, we’d definitely find more.
MUCCIO: No, here’s what Jake did say: pending due diligence, so just like Shark Tank. Like, you can’t expect every deal to happen after it happens on the show. But it is–
MOHNOT: Well, supposedly, only if third of the deals that happen on the show actually happened in real life. So Shark Tank is not reality, right? Like, it’s just totally made up.
MUCCIO: And I do want to say, we don’t want to be Shark Tank. We’re not trying to add fake reality TV drama, but I think if we can find investors who are willing to take this show serious enough to say, “Yes, let’s do it in in an hour. Let’s see if it’ll work.” We do one event, and maybe some of these investors say, “Yeah, I’d like to keep doing this.” Then I think overtime, it allows listeners to get familiar with the investors coming on our show, the investors getting more comfortable overtime, and more stuff happens on the show, and hopefully, it just makes everything we’re doing better.
MOHNOT: Cool. Sounds awesome. I’m in.
MUCCIO: So that’s my thought.
MOHNOT: Yeah, makes sense.
MUCCIO: Are you going to be able to be an investor on this show? If you can’t do deals outside of 500 Startups and you’re just doing FinTech, are you going to be able to be on this panel that’s making commitments by the end of the show?
MOHNOT: Maybe not. Actually, I probably can’t. You’re right.
MUCCIO: What do you think about that?
MOHNOT: It’s okay. I can still help out. I don’t need to be an investor on there.
MUCCIO: Yeah. It’s going to be kind of a challenge if–obviously, the next goal is to find five, four more investors who are on board with it but, yeah.
MOHNOT: Awesome. Let’s do it. I’m excited about this.
When we come back, I’m going to share something that makes me very uncomfortable. As I answer the question, how much money do we make from this show? But first, I’d like to introduce a new sponsor on our show, DesignCrowd. For proper introduction, here’s the 44-second elevator pitch from Alec Lynch, the founder of DesignCrowd.
ALEC LYNCH: DesignCrowd is an online marketplace that helps businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world. Outsource and crowdsource, custom logo graphic and web design ideas from designers around the world. Here’s how it works: a business comes to the website and posts a brief describing what they need, for example, a logo design. We then open that up to our 500,000 designers from around the world, who within a few hours start uploading designs. And over the course of 5-10 days, a typical project gets 60 to 100+ designs from which the business can then pick the best design. This process is faster, cheaper, and much more creative than the traditional process and ways of getting a design.
Head on over to designcrowd.com/pitch and show your support for our show. And get up to $100 to use on your first design.
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And we’re back. This is from a recent chat I had with Sheel. We’re halfway through the year and reflecting on how the year is going so far.
MUCCIO: So Sheel, the last time we did a Josh Pitches Sheel episode, we talked about our own internal struggles as a podcast. How we are–trying keep the lights on, per se. And, so, like, what we were struggling with last time was specifically the advertising side of things. And actually, we’ve kind of figured that out.
MOHNOT: And we’ve sold, like, so many ads that it’s hard to even get on the show.
MUCCIO: Okay, here’s some numbers. Projected sponsor revenue for this year, 2016 calendar year, is 33k.
MOHNOT: Pretty sweet.
MUCCIO: Yeah. So that’s exciting.
MOHNOT: And that 33k is already booked?
MUCCIO: Oh, no. We still have availability for this year. Let’s see, 25k of that is either already sold or booked for the year.
MUCCIO: And then the other thing we addressed is the pitch coaching. We started in March, we brought on Andrea Barrica and we’ve got 4,400 in revenue there so far this year, projected around 13k. In total, for the year.
MUCCIO: But even when you look at all those numbers–so let’s say, $46,000 in revenue for The Pitch for this year. That’s just so small. That’s just so tiny.
MOHNOT: Yeah, we’re tiny.
MUCCIO: And I guess, per time spent elsewhere—and I’m sure you feel this way—the amount of money I’m making per hour to do this–there’s a lot of things I could do. I’d been making a lot more money than this.
MOHNOT: Yeah, for sure.
MUCCIO: But I didn’t really get into this for the money. I think it’s pretty well-known that radio and radio journalism is not typically a highly profitable endeavor.
MUCCIO: But I think we got into this for a different reason. And for me, it’s probably more about the impact that we can publish one episode and thousands, tens of thousands of people can listen and be impacted. But I’m curious, what makes it worthwhile for you?
MOHNOT: Yeah, sure. So, I think it’s–I don’t know. I wouldn’t say I necessarily had an idea that strongly of why I wanted to do this or that it would even be a going concern for this long.
I just thought, hey, it’s an interesting idea. Let me try to do it, see how it works. And I’ve liked doing it. But it’s definitely–I don’t have that much time, and it takes a lot of time to do this as, obviously, as you know, probably our listeners don’t have as much appreciation for that–because it probably seems like you just hit ‘Record’ and then you’re done. But it’s a lot more than that. A lot of time goes into this.
MUCCIO: A heck of a lot more.
MOHNOT: From booking people to editing to–all that stuff takes a lot of time. So, I guess for me, it’s still fun. And I just do it because it’s fun, good to meet people. I wouldn’t say there’s been that much for me directly, but indirectly, it’s a fun thing to do. Probably added value to the community, a lot of people have met me and they say, “Hey, you’re the guy from The Pitch, right?” That’s kind of cool.
MUCCIO: So you don’t have any intention of not doing it anytime soon?
MOHNOT: No, I don’t. I enjoy doing it. Sometimes, it does sometimes feel like a chore, though, like, “Oh, I got to get this done.” But it’s been fun.
MUCCIO: The fun part is when you hit ‘Record,’ right? The rest–the logistics, the planning, all those stuff that goes behind the scenes, that’s not as much fun.
MOHNOT: That’s right, yeah.
That’s all for today’s show. Although there is a little bit extra from Jake Chapman at the very end after the credits.
You can find and subscribe to this show in iTunes, Google Play Music, or on Spotify. You can also subscribe by email at thepitch.fm. The Pitch is Sheel Mohnot and me, Josh Muccio, Jacob Bendicksen, Sophie Masure, and Jake Cohn. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor on our show, email sponsor [at] thepitch.fm. The music on this episode is by Tours, Ketsa, Spiedkicks, Dexter Britain, and Glass Lux. Our ad music is by Podington Bear. If you’re enjoying this show, take a minute and tell a friend about us.
CHAPMAN: I think one of my strongest one or two companies, I made that investment decision over the course of just a couple hours.
MUCCIO: Wow. Do you want to name those company? I’m sure listeners are curious.
CHAPMAN: Trustify, actually.
MUCCIO: Oh, no way.
CHAPMAN: Yeah, you had Danny on air.
MOHNOT: Yeah, we did.
CHAPMAN: I think a lot about that investment, actually. Because it’s such a strong company and it’s crazy that we made the investment decision as quickly as we did. But then I think back to the book Malcolm Gladwell wrote, Blink. He talks a lot about–that you can overanalyze things and–I don’t know if I sort of locked into this and could have gone horribly in the other direction or…
MUCCIO: So do you think your firm will be behind you on this on coming on and being a part of our show?
CHAPMAN: Yeah, I think so.
MUCCIO: Thanks, Jacob.
CHAPMAN: Sure. Yeah, good talking to you, Josh.
MUCCIO: See you.
CHAPMAN: Talk to you soon. Bye.
George Li pitches his all terrain electric skateboard to investors. Then Sheel Mohnot and Nathaniel Krasnoff with Wildcat Venture Partners decide whether or not they will invest in today’s…
Josh is a 2x founder turned podcast host and producer. He currently resides in Sarasota, FL with his wife and three kids.