Landing a slot on KCB Lions’ Den can be a game changer for any entrepreneur. Even if you don’t strike a deal with one of the five investors on the show, you still have the opportunity to showcase your company to millions of potential customers glued to their TVs.
However, most people get on the show to hear the coveted phrase: ‘we have a deal’, and the chance to walk away with a life-changing investment.
So here’s some insight into what the Lions are looking for before they buy into a business.
Joanne Mwangi, the newest investor on Lions’ Den, started her company when she was 26. She’s the CEO of Professional Marketing Services Group, an agency that has grown to have a strong presence in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania over the last 14 years.
As an investor, what do you look for in a presentation?
I basically enjoy smart presentations where one has the facts at their fingertips. They must also understand the financials of their business.
But most importantly, I look for an idea that seeks to solve an obvious problem. That’s what entrepreneurs who bank on technology are doing. Like Amazon.
I don’t see why I should still be walking around with a shopping list tucked somewhere in my handbag. I want someone to develop a smart way to do my shopping. I’m looking for some bold entrepreneur to address the work-life balance challenge that women are grappling with. There are so many problems for entrepreneurs to solve.
And the idea must have the potential to create jobs because that’s the challenge most people are facing these days. Presenters who are keen on creating a job only for themselves don’t appeal to me.
What automatically puts you off a presentation?
I can’t stand someone who isn’t trustworthy. These are presenters who consistently give contradictory statements.
Myke Rabar and his brother went from deejaying at house parties to building a multi-million-shilling conglomerate in the Homeboyz Group of Companies. The group has several businesses in the sectors of radio, television, events and software development, and employs more than a hundred people.
As an investor, what do you look for when an idea is presented to you?
An entrepreneur is most likely to catch my attention if they have diligently done their homework and covered the basics.
I’m not interested in concepts that have been gathering dust on a shelf; you must have gone the extra mile and started implementing what you’re selling. From this stage, we can venture into conversations about the product, markets, delivery channels and projected revenues.
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What creates good chemistry between an entrepreneur and investor?
Honesty, trust and open communication are integral to a smooth working relationship between an entrepreneur and an investor.
Whereas investors can give sound advice to grow the business based on their expansive knowledge and experience, this can only work in an open relationship where an investor is constantly updated on the performance of the business.
How much does an enterprise’s social impact affect your decision to invest in it?
If your products and services don’t have any impact on society, then it beats the logic of being in business.
As an entrepreneur, it’s my firm belief that beyond a return on investment, the social impact of an enterprise is critical. Therefore, 40 per cent of my decision to inject funds into a venture is influenced by this core component.