LEWISVILLE – It doesn’t share the same name as ABC-TV’s Shark Tank but the concept of The Board Room is somewhat similar as entrepreneurs pitch their start-up businesses to investors.
"This is called a micro-funding contest," said Charles Horton, organizer.
On the night News 8 attended, Horton was giving a $5,000 grant to the new business with the best pitch.
Three start-ups had to convince him and several other local investors why their product should get the financial boost.
Unlike Shark Tank on Channel 8 though, the Board Room is not that cut throat.
"We try not to make people cry," said Horton.
For seven years, he has hosted these sessions in a converted garage on his large sprawling lot in Lewisville.
Horton is a successful entrepreneur himself who critiques, advises and invests in start-ups with other local business owners.
But he admits some pitches have made him cringe.
“There's been several,” said Horton. “One of our presenters came in and not one single person on the board room - after his presentation - knew anything that he was doing or anything that he said. He was too high level. But that's valuable information for someone who's out trying to raise money."
Nic Dhanam, one of the entrepreneurs competing in the micro-funding contest, said opportunities like The Board Room are important to new businesses.
“It's all about getting in front of people. Even if we don't walk home with the prize today, I was able to talk to a lot of people, express my idea to a lot of people. One of those people might have a connection that leads me to another connection that leads to way more than $5,000,” he explained.
Pitch sessions at the Board Room are not private. Each one is shared on Facebook Live for other entrepreneurs to learn what to do or what not to do when talking to investors.
Andrew Finch brought his wife and three-year-old daughter just to watch in the small audience.
“I'm a flight attendant for a major airline,” said Finch. “In the next two to five years I want to get into life coaching and success coaching.”
Nic Dhanam won the evening News 8 attended. He pitched a smart pill box for managing prescription medication. He said his team will use the $5,000 to take his product to market.
Besides the pitch sessions, Horton said, the Board Room is a lot about networking.
“People have stayed 'til 1:00 in the morning networking,” he continued.
Once a month, the room fills with dreams from people learning the value of believing in themselves.