7 Ways to Get the Most out of Venture Atlanta 2018

Advisory Board Member, Matthew May, Share Tips for Presenters, Investors, and Attendees

Matthew May, Venture Atlanta Advisory Board Member and Acuity Co-Founder and COO, has been heavily involved with Venture Atlanta since 2012. From years of attending Venture Atlanta and leading company coaching, he knows how to get the most out of the event. Here are his top tips for presenters, investors, and attendees.

1 – Presenters: Don’t talk theoretically.

“Many people make the mistake of talking about theoretical use cases. I always tell presenters to switch from talking about potential use cases to talking about the present and the specific clients they’re already working with. There’s a subliminal message when you’re talking about what your product could do versus what your product is already doing.”

2 – Presenters: Authenticate yourself.

“You’re going to have ten different opinions about what should be in your pitch, and that feedback is valuable. At the end of the day, however, you have to be authentic to you, so digest that information, take the most important pieces, and then make it yours. The worst presentations I’ve seen are when it’s obvious that people try to take every piece of advice and they lose themselves in the process.”

3 – Presenters: Be memorable.

“I try to remind presenters that people are likely to remember only one or two things — and to be honest, two things is generous. So I always tell them to think of the one thing they want people to remember and then focus on making that thing really memorable. There was a woman a few years ago named Hannah who happened to be from Savannah. We told her that no matter what she did, she had to end her presentation with ‘I’m Hannah from Savannah—come talk to me.’ It worked. There were hundreds of attendees at the event that year, but EVERYONE remembered her name.”

4 – Investors: Talk to your contacts before heading to the ATL.

“Call one of your contacts in the Southeast and do pre-due diligence on the companies. You’re coming into town with a very specific goal in mind, and this will help you be the most efficient with your time and make the most out of your trip. My second tip: Rely on the Venture Atlanta coaches. Each VA coach has 8 or so companies that they work with, so they’ll have a preview of at least a quarter of the companies presenting.”

5 – Everyone: Get to Know the Presenting Companies.

“Each year I put together what I call my “VA Cheat Sheet” — a list of the must-know info about each of the Presenting Companies. Here’s an overview. It’s a handy resource, and it helps people get matched with the funding and projects that really matter to them.

6 – Everyone: Don’t miss the Startup Showcase.

“The Startup Showcase takes place during the Cocktail Party and will feature 34 startup companies to watch. It’s the biggest lineup of Showcase Companies we’ve ever had, and it’s definitely the best networking event of the conference. It’s also just really great to have so people and ideas all together in one room. If you skip out on this, you’re making a big mistake.”

7 – Everyone: Use the app.

“The app will be your go-to guide for all things Venture Atlanta 2018. But did you know that you can set meetings in advance using the app? Knocking this out ahead of time can help you get more meetings, enjoy the conference, and get the ROI that will make the experience truly worthwhile.”

Bonus tip: There are still a few tickets left for VA 2018. Register here to secure your spot before tickets run out. You can also follow Venture Atlanta on Twitter or LinkedIn or with the app and myself for updates.

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