“I enjoyed the online bootcamp and found the ‘Pitch canvas’ very useful”

Bertil van Vugt
By on October 21, 2015

Recently we organized an online ‘Pitch your Inclusive Business’ bootcamp on the IB Accelerator platform and the three best performing participants won a personal coaching session with pitch coach David Beckett. One of the three winners is Rocio Perez Ochoa of Bidhaa Sasa (second person from the right in picture above). We contacted Rocio to hear what she learned during the bootcamp.

Pitch to investors bootcamp home

How did you experience our online’Pitch your Inclusive Business’ bootcamp and what are your main take-aways from the materials?

“I enjoyed the online course and found the ‘Pitch canvas’ a very useful tool. I don’t think I would have been able to write the 500 word pitch without it. The videos were clear and useful. I particularly like the ‘Power of 3’ rule (video below), I tried to use it all the time in the written pitch and now I use it when I’m training staff. I also liked the idea of memorising the first 60 seconds of a presentation to help with nerves.”

After the bootcamp you had a one-on-one session with pitch coach David Beckett. How did that conversation go and how did he help you to improve your pitch?

“The session was very good. I had sent beforehand a longer pitch I was preparing for a conference presentation in November. David had good feedback on the content but also suggested ways to prepare the presentation itself and then give it. Using post-it notes for preparation so the structure is clear in my mind. I now also try to change my position on the podium to mark the different parts in the presentation.”

Can you tell us more about Bidhaa Sasa, the company you are setting up?

“Bidhaa Sasa is a distribution and finance company targeting the rural consumer in Kenya. We sell on credit household goods to rural families, mostly small holder farmers. We are offering solar solutions like lamps and systems and small appliances like radios and phones. We also sell efficient cook stoves.

We are positioning ourselves as a service company and for this we offer credit to all our clients, we deliver the goods to their doorstep, we install the solar systems and we manage the warranties.”

Can you describe the problem you are trying to solve with Bidhaa Sasa?

“Today there are many gadgets out there that could help ordinary rural families to improve their quality of life. Goods like solar equipment for lighting and electricity, water filters to drink clean water, and stoves for healthier cooking do exist. However we feel that most companies are focused on the technology and very few even admit there is a distribution problem.

Our vision is to help rural families to improve their quality of life. We set up Bidhaa Sasa to make such technologies available, accessible and affordable to the ones that most need them. We believe there are three main problems to solve:

– The lack of availability and access to these technology goods in rural areas: even when users are aware of the existence of solutions they would not know how to get them.
– The lack of financial solutions for rural families to pay on credit for these goods: often new technologies are not really affordable to the average user and waiting for prices to come down or a random subsidy is not an option for the ones that most need the goods.
– The lack of services to deliver the goods to where they need to go and to maintain them when in place: rural users are not savvy consumers, they are not even familiar with concepts such as product warranties or pre- and after-sales services.”

bidhaa sasa

Clients of Bidhaa Sasa checking out some of the products.

On your website you say that you are using the ‘Lean Startup’ method and other books to create your business model. How’s that evolving?

“We rigorously follow the book by Blank and Dorf: The Startup Owner’s Manual. I also find the Lean Startup is the closest thing to a scientific method to doing business and as a ex-scientist myself I feel at home with it. We spent some 6 months running Customer Discovery that helped us narrow down our Minimum Viable Product (MVP). We are now in the middle of Customer Validation and are focusing on testing our MVP and most crucially our sales process.”

How will the Bidhaa Sasa model work?

“We are the distributor/retailer so we don’t involve independent third parties in our model. However we do heavily rely on our customers. Having happy clients that can create word of mouth effect is our end goal. We are experimenting with direct selling techniques and in particular with the “Tupperware model”. Our clients are grouped and have a leader who is incentivised to encourage all in the group to pay on time and to recruit more members for further groups.”

Are you currently fundraising? If yes, have you already used some of the learnings of the bootcamp during your pitches?

“No, we are not fundraising at the moment but when we do I hope I will be able to use the learning from the bootcamp. One aspect I would like to know more about is how one should tailor the pitch to a specific investor. They come in so many flavours these days that I doubt one pitch will be sufficient for all. I imagine an impact investor wants to learn about Pain/Gains in detail while a VC one may be more focused on the Business Model and the traction. I assume it will be a matter of emphasis in the pitch.”

Visit the venture profile of Bidhaa Sasa.