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Here’s How to Pitch Investors Smarter (Hint: Only With This Tool)

Exclusively at 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, the data-driven quiz that matches you with an investor looking for dealflow at your exact stage


Imagine that you’re talking to an investor about your ground-breaking product or service. The conversation is going well and you seem aligned on market size and growth strategy. But then you hear it. Two letters, one syllable. “No.”

Before you spiral into self-doubt, consider whether you’re having the right conversation. Sure, you’re an entrepreneur in search of funding from an investor who seems interested. But what if, instead of a cold pitch for cash, you talked to an investor who wanted dealflow at your exact stage? And that investor gave you actual business feedback?

For the first time ever, we’re using a proven tool to match entrepreneurs with investors for more productive networking at 36|86. The VIRAL (Venture Investment-Readiness and Awareness Levels) Pathway is a framework developed by our friends at Village Capital, a Washington, D.C.-based VC, to help entrepreneurs and investors use the same language to find common ground and mutual opportunity.

For 36|86, we’ve turned this framework into a fun interactive quiz, the VIRAL Pathfinder, to help you discover how ready your startup is for investment. Act now and buy a festival pass to get the most out of this opportunity.

To start, you’ll answer questions like “are you more like Steve Jobs selling Apple II out of his garage or Steve Jobs when he launched the iPhone,” and you’ll get a number that corresponds to the growth phase of your company, from idea to exit. These questions are designed to get to the core of your team’s experience, product or service value proposition, target market size and business model, among other categories.

Once you’re in Nashville for 36|86, you’ll have all the designated meet-ups you need with investors, based on your VIRAL number. Since investors take the quiz, too, you’re guaranteed to have no-fuss matchmaking.

Did we mention this works? As Ross Baird, CEO of Village Capital, explained, 92% of startups who have used VIRAL said the framework made them better prepared for investment.

TheVIRAL Pathfinder quiz uses the same language and measurements as VCs to determine where you are in your path and how the right investor can help move your business forward. No need to swipe right.

And there’s more! For the first time, we’re offering multi-tracked programming at 36|86 for entrepreneurs at all stages. While you’re free to attend any session that sparks your interest, your VIRAL number will point you toward panels and workshops designed to meet you where you are and take your business to the next level.  

If you’re ready to know your number—and grab a front seat to all the other awesome things on stage at 36|86—get your pass today. From there, you’ll be prompted to take the VIRAL Pathfinder quiz.

Some quick fine print: you MUST take the quiz to participate in investor matchmaking at 36|86. And you MUST have a 36|86 pass to gain access to the quiz. So go ahead and buy your pass now so you don’t have to watch others snatch up valuable investor connections you could have made while you sit in your coworking cube hunched over a computer.

Get a pass. Find your number. Move your business forward. Only at 36|86.


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Watch: Ross Baird of Village Capital on investing in Tennessee startups

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