Finalists in the inaugural East of England Investment Catalyst will get expert help to hone their pitches from ‘The Geek Whisperer’.

Adelina Chalmers will offer one-to-one advice to companies selected for the Investment Catalyst programme, which is giving East Anglia’s most exciting tech firms the chance to present to an audience of the country’s top investors at a special event in London in November.Known as The Geek Whisperer due to her ability to help technical people communicate effectively with non-technical audiences, Adelina has worked with some of the biggest names in the Cambridge tech cluster, including chip design giant Arm and crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom.

She said: “I’m looking forward to getting hold of the finalists’ pitches and giving them specific advice about how they can improve. I like to look at a pitch, and often I present back to the company their own pitch with my changes, so they can immediately see what could be changed or made clearer.

“When investors give companies feedback, if the first question is ‘what problem does this solve for the customer’ it means the pitch essentially failed.

“Many tech start-up founders believe this means the investor doesn’t understand their idea from a technical point of view, but actually it’s usually the first sign the company doesn’t have a fully-formed plan, and if they can’t address this question right from the outset, the pitch fails.

“For me that’s key to a great pitch – identifying a very clear problem you can solve, and show us the potential customer is willing and able to spend money to solve it with you.

“Timing is also very important, because you can have a great idea but you have to be confident the market is ready for it. If you had tried to set-up YouTube in 1994, before the advent of smartphones and broadband, it wouldn’t have been the phenomenon it is today.”

Adelina, who also runs the Cambridge Billion Pound Scale-up Challenge programme with Cambridge Wireless, can’t wait to meet the companies selected for the Investment Catalyst.

“I’m looking forward to the Investment Catalyst because I love seeing new technology coming out of the start-up community and working with entrepreneurs to help make their businesses successful,” she said.

The Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor has organised the Investment Catalyst, working with partners Anglia Capital Group, Barclays Eagle LabsInvest EastNew Anglia LEP and Price Bailey.

It is aimed at high-growth companies which have already raised funds and are now targeting Series A type investments to help accelerate their development.The application process is open now.

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