Monday 25 April 2016

Guest Blog: Don’t Pitch Me Your Problems

The impending doom of your cash running out is something most indie developers have experienced at one time or another. Each game always takes more time and resources than anticipated. Always. What’s a developer to do when the cash is running out and the game simply needs more time to bake?

Ah, funding to the rescue! Those mythical people, companies, or organizations that give you money when you need it. Yeah funding! And said developers go on the hunt for funding.

As one of those mythical beasts that actually funds game studios, Execution Labs listens to countless pitches. Some we chase after, some came via referral of one of our existing portfolio studios, and many many more come to us “cold”.

Regardless of source, most developers frame the discussion in the context of their cashflow problem. They've got a great team, and a cool game, but dang, if only they had more cash… their monthly burn rate is x, and they only have y left in the bank, which is not enough to  cover the anticipated z many more months of development. What about marketing? Oh no, nothing budgeted for marketing. Nothing.

Then comes the question, like a shy boy asking a cute girl on a first date: “Are you interested?”

Am I interested? Interested in what, exactly? Your cashflow problem? Fuck no! I am not interested in your cash shortages and lack of budgeting skills.

It sounds ridiculous, and yet it happens all the time. Developers are heads down making awesome games, they look up, and crap, money is almost up, and this is a serious problem that needs fixing, so they go out and try to find someone to help them solve this problem. Generally speaking, developers are good at solving problems.

The challenge is, no one invests in problems. No one.

Is this just a matter of perspective? Or spin? Sure, in some ways it is. So spin it! If you are pitching investors, you need to pitch an opportunity. An opportunity to back a high potential studio, a ground breaking game, a shot at a massive hit, etc. Of course, that can’t be smoke and mirrors; it really does have to be an amazing opportunity. If it is not, then don’t bother chasing investors!

Investors are happy to pile their money into great opportunities.

What opportunity are you pitching today?

Jason Della Rocca – Co-Founder, Execution Labs

Jason will be one of the speakers at the brand new Pitching & Funding Workshop taking place at Develop:Brighton on Tuesday 12 July. 

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