Open Coaching

Sponsored by the global law firm

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One hour of free coaching for your company. Or just watch and learn.

NOTE: The next Open Coaching session will be January 9. If you join Startup Money Meetup, you’ll email notifications of the next sessions.

What is Open Coaching?

A learn-by-example format Steve has perfected over the years to deliver the most benefit to the most entrepreneurs with a wide range of pitching experience. In a three-hour Open Coaching session, Steve coaches three companies, giving each an hour of his undivided attention, exactly as he does in private sessions with clients. Members of all three companies stay and watch throughout the whole session. The learning is richer because sometimes it’s easier to absorb the lessons when it’s somebody else in the hot seat.

Plus, the session is open to ANY entrepreneur, no matter what stage, to come watch, observe, learn. Although most of the dialogue is between Steve and the pitching company, observers do get a chance to comment and ask questions.

Part of the fun is watching Steve work with companies he’s seeing for the first time—coaching “without a net.” 

Another benefit is the networking effect: random entrepreneurs discovering common interests and connecting. 

Open Coaching is a real eye-opener for first-timers. Learning from real-world examples, being coached by an expert, is the quickest way to learn how to put together a great investor presentation. Experienced entrepreneurs gain just as much, gaining new insight into their own company message and learning advanced presentation techniques. The discussion gets intense, often delving into questions of strategy and financial feasibility, not just slides and story.

Everybody comes away with new ideas (and lots of notes). 

Duration: always three hours

  Open Coaching on a winter day

Open Coaching on a winter day

If you want to be coached

Venture companies from any industry (including life sciences) are welcome. I do need to approve you first, but I'm screening mostly for stage because if you're too early, it doesn't work. Pre-revenue is ok. If in doubt, just send me your stuff. I'll confirm with a time slot.

You will get one hour of coaching, as if we were in a private session. 

To apply to be coached, email me at Attach something (slides, execsum, etc.) to show me where you are now with your company. If you have your info on, that's the easiest — tell me and I can see it there.

Let me know if you're preparing for a venture fair or pitch competition (like MADV or PACT or Angel Venture Fair) and I'll give you priority.

If you’re being coached, I do ask that you commit to attend the whole three hours. 

If you want to observe only 

All entrepreneurs are welcome, no matter what stage your company. Also all venture investors, mentors, and advisors to start-up companies are welcome. 

If you're service provider, ask me first. 

Just be sure to register.

  It's your turn!

It's your turn!

A Word from Our Sponsor

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All of these workshops and coaching are free, thanks to the law firm DLA Piper. 

DLA Piper is one of the biggest law firms in the world, a leader in corporate and start-up law. They believe in investing in the long-term growth of the Philadelphia entrepreneur community. That's why they provide all this training to help entrepreneurs raise money for their companies.

For information about legal services tailored to entrepreneurs, contact

Fahd Riaz


Private Coaching

Steve offers private coaching to companies preparing to pitch to investors or deliver an important talk. Companies engage Steve directly. Organizations such as incubator programs and "boot camps" can hire Steve to do any combination of workshops and one-on-one coaching with their members.

Steve — Holy shit! I was skeptical about spending so much time with you but I am so glad I did and sincerely want to thank you for your patience and insights.

Much to my surprise (because I thought it was already pretty decent) I think that this presentation is now vastly more clear, to the point, and compelling. Your thoughts were very focused and helpful.

Thank you so much!
— Stu Strumwasser, President & CEO, Snow Beverages (New York, NY)

Venture Fair Coaching

I've been closely involved with the regional angel and investment community for over 15 years, in particular the annual Angel Venture Fair held at the Union League in Philadelphia, and the quarterly Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures events held at the Philadelphia Country Club.

Angel Venture Fair (AVF)

I'm the Head Coach for the 2018 Angel Venture Fair (sponsored by DLA Piper, Philadelphia). If you're preparing for Selection Day or for the Angel Venture Fair, this is where you learn how to get help with your presentation.

But we're offering more than just coaching! I've been part of AVF for nearly it's full history. I'm eager to share with companies all kinds of advice about how to make the most of the whole experience. It's not just a bunch of pitches, it's a community, a network of people who want to help entrepreneurs be successful. 

 If you're preparing for Selection Day or for the Angel Venture Fair itself, read the Angel Venture Fair Help Page.

Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures (MADV)

I'm both a judge and coach for Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures hosted by Temple University's Fox School of Business.  I help prepare qualified companies to present at the quarterly events by ensuring that investment materials are comprehensible, defensible and compelling.


I was having trouble explaining my complex financial services business to investors. Steve helped me discover what my business is all about at the core, and then distill it into a concise value proposition. Now, when I describe what I do, they get it.
— Bill Walsh, CEO, Total Worth Financials