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Randy Manion: Good morning everyone. Sorry for the technical difficulties this morning. But I think we're ready to go. We'll just wait a few minutes to allow those attendees to get back logged into the system. We are recording today's webinar and so all phones have been muted for that purpose. And we'll just wait 60 seconds here and then we'll get going.
Okay good morning or good afternoon wherever you may be. And welcome to the third webinar 2017 DOE Tribal Energy Webinar Series: Pitching Your Projects. I'm Randy Manion, today's webinar chair and manager of Western Area Power Administration's Renewable Resource program. Let's go over some event details before we get started.
Today's webinar is being recorded and will be made available on DOE's Office of Indian Energy Policy and Program's website along with copies of today's PowerPoint presentation in about one week. Everyone will receive a post-webinar e-mail with the link to the page where the slides and recording will be located. Because we are recording this webinar, as I mentioned all phones have been muted for this purpose. And we'll answer all of your questions at the end of the presentations – at the very end of all the presentations.
However you can submit a question at any time by clicking on the question button located in the webinar control box on your screen and typing your question in. And if you've entered your audio pen when you joined the webinar at the end of the webinar you can raise your hand and I'll unmute you so you can ask our panel your question directly. We'll try to keep the webinar to no more than two hours. I know we're running a little bit behind. But we'll do our best to keep it to two hours.
Our first speaker today is Ms. Lizana Pierce. Lizana is a program manager in the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs currently stationed in Golden, Colorado. Lizana is responsible for managing technical assistance services, implementing national funding and financing programs and administering the resultant Tribal energy project grant and agreements. She has more than 20 years of clean energy technology project development and management experience assisting tribes in developing the energy resources and building their energy vision.
And Lizana with that the virtual floor is now yours.
Lizana Pierce: Thank you Randy and hello everyone. I join Randy in welcoming you to the third webinar of the 2017 series. This series is sponsored by two US Department of Energy organizations: the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, and the Western Area Power Administration. The Office of Indian Energy directs, fosters, coordinates, and implements energy planning, education, management, and programs to assist tribes with their energy development, capacity building, energy infrastructure, energy costs, and electrification of Indian lands and homes.
To provide this assistance we work within the Department of Energy across government agencies with Indian tribes and organizations through the deployment program, again, to help Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages overcome the barriers to energy development. Our deployment program is composed of a three-pronged approach consisting of financial assistance, technical assistance, and education and capacity building.
And this tribal energy webinar series is one example of our education capacity building efforts. This series is part of the Office of Indian Energy's efforts to support fiscally responsible energy business and economic development decisions making an information sharing among tribes. It is intended to provide attendees with information on tools, to resources to develop and implement tribal energy plans, programs, and projects.
It is also intended to highlight tribal energy case studies and identify business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies. Today's webinar – Pitching Your Projects – will provide guidance on how to sell your project idea to individuals and entities, the need to support your project if it is successful. And in the investment world this is known as a pitch. Regardless of the industry the skill of pitching ideas is basically the same.
And in this webinar attendees will receive tips on how to improve their pitch to increase its likelihood of securing supporting, buy-in, and investment, and how to engage your audience and get them interested in how to share project visions and more. The webinar is designed to be a precursor to the 2017 National Tribal Energy Summit taking place next week, May 1st through the 3rd in Washington, DC which will also include a matchmaking session where attendees can pitch their projects to investors, lenders, and project developers.
We hope that the webinar series is useful but welcome feedback. So please let us know. And with that I'll now turn the virtual floor back over to Randy.
Randy Manion: Thank you Lizana. And our two other speakers today include Doug MacCourt and Scott Geary and I'll introduce both of them now. Doug is the senior policy advisor to the director and staff of the Office Indian Energy Policy and Programs. He works throughout DOE with other federal [audio cuts out]. . . . published Renewable Energy Development in Indian Country: A Handbook for Tribes. And it's listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business and Best Lawyers in America for Native American and Natural Resource Law.
Prior to joining DOE Mr. MacCourt was a partner in the Portland firm Ater Wynne where he led the land use and redevelopment practice in the firm's business group and subsequently started and led the firm's Indian Law practice. And then following Doug is Scott Geary.
Mr. Geary is managing partner at Stone Angel Capital with more than 20 years of experience in finance and operations and early career in engineering and particle physics at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Ford Motor Company provided an analytical foundation before he moved into venture capital-backed technology companies in Silicon Valley. Scott ended up in private equity and is considered a functional expert in finance and restructuring.
He has experience in raising multiple rounds of financing from early-stage in angel financing through later-stage institutional financing. Recent highlights include CFO of one of the 50 largest plastic injection molders in North America, chief restructuring officer for a $50 million dollar oil and gas services firm, and chief restructuring officer for one of the world's largest SCUBA companies. And he has held the roles of CEO, CFO, and COO at various times in his career.
He is currently working on several initiatives and healthy communities efforts in Indian Country. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA from INSEAD. And with that Doug give me a moment to get your slide deck pulled up and we'll get started.
Doug MacCourt: Well great. Thank you Randy. This is Doug MacCourt. I'm the senior policy advisor here at headquarters at Department of Energy with the Office of Indian Energy. And good morning and good afternoon to everyone depending upon where you're calling in from. It's an honor and a privilege to participate in the webinar series here. And as Lizana mentioned this special webinar is really designed as a primer for everyone who is – whether you're coming to the Summit or not but in particular for everyone's who's interested in project finance and how to approach the folks with the money.
And so the way we're going to break this down between Scott and me is I'm going to give some fundamentals of the pitch but really spend most of my presentation on the audience you're pitching to. And understanding the difference between who you may be talking to depending upon what kind of investor they are or whether they're a lender. And what kind of financial product may be in the mix whether it's bond or debt, venture capital investment, tax credit investment.
And typically it's a combination of all of those things. So we're going to go over some fundamentals and of understanding who those people are that you're speaking to. But the information is also critical in developing the pitch itself and developing your project prospectus as well as its executive summary. So the information that I'm covering will and should find its way into the pitch that you make at various levels when you're talking to the investing community and the particular investors or finance folks that you're making your pitch to.
So with that we'll go to the first slide. And in some respects this – Okay I think Randy we have the old deck up but that's okay. The first slide that we'll post on our website actually has three fundamental basics of the pitch. And so if you've got something to write with you can write this down now. Otherwise we'll post this version when we're finished. And it comes down in many cases as Scott will elaborate there are more than three issues and ideas that you've got to communicate.
But at a basic level if you're pitching a project concept to investors – and this is a project concept now. There may be other things you're going after financing for. But for projects they will need to know at least the following three things. First, is this the right management team – in other words who's making the pitch – with the right experience and the proper authority to pull the project off? Second, is the project sized and scoped correctly to make the financing work?
And we'll talk a little bit more about what I mean by that as we get further into the presentation. And third, can the folks you're making the pitch to understand the project fundamentals in an executive summary of no more than two to three pages? Because if they don't get it in that amount of time and in that short amount of density you're probably losing them. So with those Randy we'll stick to the slide that you've got up which says before we jump into project finance.
And these are some resources that the Department of Energy has created for searching financial assistance through the Department of Energy. The reason I put this slide in this presentation is one issue that I'm not going to delve into directly in much – spend much time on – is leveraging other resources. And of course that's as Lizana explained a big part of what the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs is all about.
It's getting those resources out to Indian Country and doing it in a way with enough diversity and with enough different objectives to try to address the needs in Indian Country when it comes to energy and related economic development. So we can go to the next slide. And with the next slide we're going to start to dive in to the issues relating to why you're doing this in the first place. And to start off at a high level it's no mystery that economic diversification is key to financial self-sufficiency.
And that's whether you're in tribal government, state government, or in a commercial business. But it's particularly important this notion of diversification because it has various ramifications including building the capacity and building the experience of how to finance run a startup and run a business. Now financing established tribal enterprises is challenging; capitalizing a new venture is even more difficult.
So tribes that are pursuing diversification efforts should expect that initial capital – And again whether you're trying to refinance or put more capital into an existing business or fund a new one will either need to be in the form of significant equity or – and oftentimes both are required. It will require substantial support in the form of guarantees from the existing enterprise cash flow or a general obligation of the tribe.
And the bottom line is it is expensive. And tribes looking to invest in an entirely new commercial enterprise would do well to plan for as much of an equity contribution as they think they can cobble together and afford. Next slide.
So when we're talking about clean energy projects, due to the nature of existing subsidies and existing financing models, the vast majority of these projects have been financed through what we call a tax equity model which is a combination of some amount of sponsor equity. And typically in this case the tribe is the primary sponsor but not always. Second, bank debt, and third, tax equity or monetization of tax credits.
And it's the equity that's really going to be the focus of this presentation. What does that mean and where does it come from? What various sources of it are out there? And how do you actually approach people that have it? Next slide.
So a couple of fundamentals before we dive into that relating to project finance. When the finance package comes together and you bring in the debt with the investment we are primarily talking about nonrecourse debt meaning the lenders do not have any other collateral except for the assets of the project. This is particularly important in Indian Country not only due to the restrictions of alienating trust land and limitations on how you monetize what you're allowed to do in the form of mortgage type guarantees for trusts and other restricted lands.
But it's important for protecting tribal fiscal assets which is of course a key and important objective of any project the tribe is going to enter into. A couple of other notes: lenders loan to cash flows, and against assets. And that is maybe one of the most important fundamentals of this presentation. And that goes for investors as well. Investors do not want to walk away from the deal and rely upon the collateral that's used for security. They're in it for the cash flow.
The last thing any of the finance people want to ever have to deal with is the asset itself. And that's why the money flows to the cash flows and against the assets, and the assets of course being the solar panels, the turbines, and the infrastructure. The loan repayment is from the project cash flows net of operating and capital expenses. And the project cash flows will provide the scheduled debt repayment which includes a number of different buckets. Next slide.
So I'm going to give you a little background on some common debt structures. Many of you may already be familiar with this but you're going to hear these terms and you'll often hear them in the form of questions coming from the investors or the lenders or proposals from the investors or lenders and how they want to complete or envision a total finance package.
A general obligation structure is a promise to pay for all available monies, typically backed by the full faith and credit of the tribe or the other organization providing the obligations. And unsecured general obligation is where you have a promise with no particular revenue stream or bundle of assets that secures the debt. And conversely a secured general obligation is where there is some particular revenue stream or bundle of assets pledged to secure the borrowing. Next slide.
A revenue obligation is where you have revenues pledged to secure the borrowing, but the general credit of the tribe is not. And lenders have recourse only against that stream of revenues pledge, similar to the concept of nonrecourse financing. Asset-backed obligations is a situation where borrowing is secured primarily or solely by one or more specific assets and if the borrower defaults the lender can seize the property and resell it.
Now we all know there are particular complications with that in deals in Indian Country. Nonetheless federal law does allow for the use of assets in collateralization. So the point here is these are – This is a description of various types of obligations, some which you want to protect the tribe against, and some which the lenders and the investors are going to look specifically towards because some have better guarantees than others. Next slide.
A few bond basics. Bonds are more commonly used for long-term financing of larger, more costly capital improvement projects. They typically have longer terms but they can match some loan terms up to 20 years typically. And those longer terms lower annual debt service, but when you look over the life of the financing typically they require a greater all-in-cost of financing. So that may be an advantage to the particular project depending upon how much revenue it's going to throw off.
Now tax-exempt investors are typically comfortable with longer term, smaller size bond deals, but the slight premium on smaller deals in the area of $10 million to $15 million. But again that's going to be an issue for bond investors in the tax-exempt space is the actual size of the project. So remember my first slide. Who you're talking to depends upon how the project is sized and scoped. Next slide.
A few tax-exempt debt basics because this is critically important to Indian Country. Tribes are eligible to issue tax-exempt debt as are Section 17 corporations chartered under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act. Typically and traditionally tribal governments have been limited to issuing tax-exempt debt only if the proceeds of the financing would be used for an essential government function as defined by the IRS. And the IRS has interpreted that very narrowly. Excluding items; the state and local governments can traditionally finance on a tax-exempt basis such as hotels, golf courses, convention centers, parking garages, and related infrastructure. Next slide.
Private Letter Rulings are available for tribal energy projects treating debt as tax-exempt. A note of caution here: the IRS has scrutinized several tribal tax-exempt financing transactions that state and local governments would traditionally have been able to finance on a tax-exempt basis. And as a result tribes are traditionally forced back into either financed projects that would be tax-exempt for a municipality using taxable debt, or obtain a Private Letter Ruling or leverage other funding sources – again the reason why we gave you the resource links to our funding sources. Next slide.
So now we start to dive into what these people are thinking as you approach them with your pitch. And what the pitch is actually all about in terms of the project. We're going to talk a little bit about the lenders' perspective versus the equity investors. Debt providers – banks and bond holders – provide more affordable capital. In other words they're seeking to get a smaller rate of return out of the deal. But in exchange for that they want little or no risk.
The lenders look for contracts that shift risk to somebody with a deeper pocket and a risk appetite such as a utility or a well-established business whether it's the tribe's business or another business that can provide a guarantee. Equity providers by contrast take the greatest risk by getting compensated by getting the cash available after paying project costs and debt. So that includes a higher rate of return or return on investment. Next slide.
Basic requirements of lenders have in these deals is the base case flow model that shows debt will be repaid on schedule and the Debt Service Coverage Ratio requirements are satisfied. That typically requires a set of sensitivity or reasonable downside cases showing the impact on debt repayment and that Debt Service Coverage Ratio if things don't go according to plan. And these models must conform to the cash flow waterfall we call it which is how it goes from gross to net and those Debt Service Coverage Ratio covenants that are in all of the loan agreements. Next slide.
So when it comes to the pitch the project team – the folks making the pitch – have to be able to master this finance language. They have to at least be able to be conversant about it and express it in terms of why the project makes sense. The project team has to be able to clearly forecast future cash generation performance, identifying key project and industry variables that drive those forecasts.
And the important note here: this is not just simple accounting focusing on historical and current performance. This is modeling. And as the last slide showed you it's modeling that includes what happens if things don't go according to plan. Next slide.
So a working knowledge of some of the key industry factors is critical for the project team in making the pitch whether it's a direct part of the initial presentation or the ability to respond and the kinds of questions that people bringing money to the table are going to ask. And those key industry factors include permitting and construction costs and timelines, technology costs and performance, operating costs, regulated utility allowable costs and revenue if that's a factor in the project.
Conversely merchant market price forecasting if that is a factor I the project and sales and fuel contract review and interpretation. This is just a sample of the kind of industry knowledge that the team is going to need. Next slide.
Market trends. Now it can be debated how well the economy is recovered. But as the economy slowly improves credit and capital markets have stabilized. And I think we're going to continue to see that. But in many areas credit is still very tight. Strong tribal credits have access to less expensive bank debt. And what that means in other words is putting for the best credit the tribe has to secure the least cost of project financing.
Lenders providing loans to fund tribal enterprises are increasingly looking to tribal government to guarantee that debt. And we'll talk a little bit more about that and how that usually shows up in the deal as we go forward. Next slide.
So planning the pitch is absolutely fundamental. Identifying the optimal financing structure to fund energy development should be based on a well thought through process and a simple to understand process, and overall capital improvement or economic development. And even if the tribe has sufficient funds to directly invest in a business opportunity borrowing may allow the tribe to earn a higher rate of return on its money that it could get in investments elsewhere.
You know I'm pretty old school and I believe in having no debt if I can, or at least keeping the debt as low as it can possibly be. And fiscally responsible prudent practice involves that concept. That being said and a lot of tribes understand that and a lot of tribal businesses have operated very well on that concept. But that may not mean that the best way to go about financing the project is to use a lot of – is to exchange your own capital for debt because the debt may actually allow you over time to finance the project cheaper and make more money. Next slide.
So again the project – Evaluate the project within the context of the overall capital improvement or economic development plan the tribe has. And if they do not have that we talk to our technical assistance provider. We help tribes with strategic energy planning. Oftentimes a strategic energy plan is not just a simple document that says where's the generation, where's the transmission, and what do you –? You know how are you going to use your fuel resources?
It involves other types of economic development opportunities and activities either supporting that energy or that could be used – that benefit from the energy project such as even a new road across the reservation that may help reduce fuel use and provide access to expand other businesses. And the point here is that having your pitch, having your proposal in the context of a well thought through plan can really help it go forward. And people listening to this are going to want to understand a couple of key issues.
Wil the project generate revenues? Will the project generate enough money to cover the debt service we just talked about? And are there other assets of the tribe that can be pledged to improve the financing terms? In other words make it more favorable for everybody in the deal. Next slide.
The goal of that kind of plan should be for tribal counsel and tribal members to illustrate, explain, and justify the costs and the benefits in pursing an investment in tribal energy and the rationale for the proposed financing structure. Those two key components are essential. Next slide.
A couple of notes on some financing legal issues: it's absolutely essential for the pitch and the proposal to be transparent in terms of the appropriate authorization for the project to go forward pursuant to tribal law required for any borrowing and for any other parts of the deal that are going to be required such as a waiver of sovereign immunity. And that appropriate and transparent authorization is critical for the deal to be valid and to demonstrate how it is done in accordance with applicable tribal law.
We're seeing that lenders' counsel in particular are now scrutinizing tribal law much more closely than they used to. And we're seeing lenders' counsel bringing on Indian law experts to help them understand that. The lenders – the point is – usually want to specify a familiar body of law for the overall functioning of the finance such as laws in the state in which the tribe is located. Oftentimes the laws of the State of New York are traditional done because financing syndicates come out of a lot of big banks based in New York.
The bottom line is you're going to have both tribal law necessary to make sure that the deal is authorized. And you'll typically see another state law for bringing significant resourced governing the transaction and the particular deal points in the transaction. Next slide. Lenders – we've seen this happen with more frequency – may request that the tribe adopt certain laws or code compatible with state law such as an arbitration code or uniform commercial code to govern security interests in personal property.
Now this is not going to be a deal point in a small deal – typically a community scale project. As you start getting into greater refinancing and greater – in new ventures the risk may go up. We're seeing lenders actually move into this area and asking tribes to adopt at least a version of these commercial codes or certain components of them to be consistent with state law. Next slide.
So one last thing that is also very critical is you know not all borrowers wear the same hats. And it's the investors and the lenders and the folks bringing money to the table are going to need to know is the borrower the tribe? And how is that organized? And who is responsible for making decisions? Or is it a tribal instrumentality or authority such as an economic development authority or housing authority? And where does that decision making flow back to – tribal council or has it been delegated to that entity?
It may be – This is a little less common. It may be a political subdivision or an unincorporated instrumentality of the tribe, not a separate legal entity from the tribe. We're seeing more and more tribes move into the area of establishing tribal corporations under tribal law, tribally-charted corporations, or federally-chartered corporations such as the Section 17. And we've talked about that number of times on our webinar series.
And there are times when an LLC or even a state-chartered corporation may be able to create greater access and particularly to state subsidies and state-backed or guaranteed revenues that you couldn't get without a state-chartered entity in the deal. Next slide.
So that is my primer. Again think back to the three points I made on the slide that we'll post. It goes to knowing your audience and knowing a little bit about what kind of money these people are bringing to the table. Are they seeking low risk like debt providers or lenders will? Are they willing to take higher risk and seek a greater rate of return? But also have you worked these fundamentals into your project concept, into your executive summary and your pitch?
And are you presenting it through a project team that can demonstrate without having to go into great detail that they have the expertise and the experience to pull it off? Wrap those elements into your pitch; you're going to be successful. And again whether you're able to attend our National Tribal Energy Summit May 1st through 3rd here at the JW Marriott downtown DC and use this information to think about your project pitch. Or if you're not able to attend the Summit this information is critical for project finance.
And if we don't get time to answer all of the questions today I'm happy to follow up with anybody. You can contact me here by e-mail or the best number is by cell. So I thank you for the time and I'll turn it back to Randy so we can hear from Scott Geary on the fundamentals of the actual pitch.
Randy Manion: Thank you Doug, excellent. And Scott just give me a moment to pull your deck back up. And you're good to go.
Scott Geary: Great, thank you Randy. Doug, that was very informative; thanks so much. I'm coming at this from a slightly different perspective and I wanted to comment just as energy project development is quite complex multidisciplinary in terms of finance, engineering, construction, environmental, _____, and maintenance, et cetera, I look at the pitch also as a multi-phased process. You mentioned a starting point of an executive summary which we typically used to get kicked off.
And it allows you to get in the door to give your pitch. If you make it through the pitch then we get into the complexities and due diligence which tend to focus primarily on the financials. First slide please Randy or next slide I should say.
So what is the purpose of the pitch? I really look at it as once you get in the door you're trying to build a relationship. You want to engage the audience, get them excited. You can start out with a vision. Get everybody open-minded. And remember I have a bit of a Silicon Valley perspective. I've lived out here for many, many years. And you'll see part of this how to pitch is geared towards that audience.
The idea is you need to express your idea and your vision with clarity and focus. Build the relationship, leave your audience wanting more, and try to do it in a concise 10-15 slide deck. The purpose of the pitch is not to close the deal that day. It's not to answer all the questions. It's just to get everybody on board. Next slide.
The common mistakes we see are too many slides, too many details, unsupportable assumptions, and too much criticism of competition, and an arrogance that plays to these. Why your competition is so awful and why you're going to be so much better assumptions, ridiculous growth assumptions or assuming away costs that don't exist, or assuming that there won't be lots of hurdles in your way.
We have a well-known speaker and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley named Guy Kawasaki. He's got a firm called Garage Ventures. And I don't agree entirely with his concept but he has boiled it down. He says when you're doing a pitch it's 10 slides, 20 minutes, and use big font so you can't put too much on a slide. Next slide please.
An outline of a pitch in Guy Kawasaki's opinion or many other folks out here it's broken down into ten components. The elevator portion, problem solution, market, again et cetera. And I'll get into these. I won't read them all but before you get to the pitch how do you get into the pitch room? Next slide.
So I work with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Mississippi. I work with economic development there. They get a very high volume of proposals and it gets difficult to sort through. Proposals come from everywhere and anywhere. They come from friends of the tribal council. They come from tribal members. They come from the public. And it is actually quite overwhelming. Next slide.
So we need to take all of these various ideas and decide who we're going to allow to pitch to us. So we have – I'll call it – an ideal funnel or a proposal funnel that has multiple stages. And at each stage it requires us to put additional time, money, effort, diligence into these things. So we try to screen out poor ideas right off the bat. And as they make it through the process we can commit more and more resources to it. We begin with a very simple intake tool. And I'm not going to get into the details. If anyone has specific questions I'm happy to walk people through this. Next slide please.
In order for us to get to the beginning of the funnel in the evaluation process we have the fill out a simple form online. It's an online screen. Who are you? How did you hear about the tribe? Give us a little bit of an idea of what you're talking about. What stage is your business in? And is it ready for market now or is it a year or two out? We get into intellectual property questions. Try to estimate the market size, and try to understand if there is a valid market, existing competitors, and what do they want to talk to us about?
Do they want an equity investment? Do they want a factory to run out of? Do they want depth, a partnership? Do they want to act as government contracts, et cetera? So we take a look at these – next slide please – and we score them. We score all these different fundamentals. And we say what's important to us at the tribe? I've got 50 ideas came through the door. Where did the idea come from? Who brought it to the table? And that is important. And Doug mentioned that as well.
Where is the deal coming from, and the management team? A lot of times you're just purely looking at economics. Is this just going to be the highest return on our investment? Or maybe it's not the highest return but maybe it's going to drive employment. Or, number five, we're going to be able to utilize unused buildings or right-of-ways or thoroughfares or unused biomass resources, biomass energy projects for example. And then we want to take a look at how risky this is, what stage you're at of course.
Doug touched on the different ownership issues and a big one that's starting to come up now is the social impact. So are we providing economic diversity and energy sovereignty for example on the energy projects? Next slide please.
Back to the outline of the pitch, I'm going to try to run through this relatively quickly. Again this is much more geared towards economic development. A lot of it pitching to equity investors and a lot of what we see out here in Silicon Valley. Where I could I have plugged in examples from an equity pitch that we all are familiar with – AIRBNB. You may not be familiar with the pitch but certainly the company. They have come up with – Well their first pitch was in 2009.
It was a very elegant, simple, successful pitch. And with that I'll go to the next slide and we'll talk about the elevator pitch. If you haven't heard of it what's an elevator pitch? You've got a limited – You've got 10 to 30 seconds to explain to somebody what your idea, vision, and mission is. I like to say if you find yourself in an elevator with Elon Musk and you've got an idea how are you going to quickly get that across? It needs to be short. It needs to be memorable. It needs to leave the listener intrigued and curious. And it needs to be relatable.
I dropped one in here: the Uber of food delivery. If you're making too big of a stretch it sounds tacky but anyway. Next slide please. In this you'll see I've got a couple of things. I've got some taglines and I've got the elevator pitch. Sometimes they can be interchangeable. This actually is from the AIRBNB slide deck. They had a 14 page slide deck. The first one you'll notice they made some – You know what is this? AIRBNB is a fun approach to coach surfing.
Think of it as Craigslist meets Hotels.com but a lot less creepy. Again, a cool alternative to a boring evening in a hotel room. AIRBNB was basically trying to solve a problem with a great profitable solution. Next slide please.
We then wanted to find what is the problem? So what real problem are you solving? Why does it exist? What are your customer pain points? And when possible we like to make that personal. We really like to tell a story. Storytelling is the new form of currency out here. It helps people get engaged. And it gets you to the next level where you can get into the nitty-gritty of financials and due diligence. Next slide please.
In AIRBNB's case the problem – again a very elegant slide deck. Price is an issue. They wanted to do it. Hotels – when you stay in hotels you're disconnected from the culture in the city. And it was very difficult up to that point to overcome that and try to connect with locals and book a local room. So AIRBNB came with a solution. Next slide please.
So in your solutions portion of your pitch deck it's what's your value proposition? What are you doing? You've defined what the customer pain points are. But how do you relieve these? Typically when we think of a solution we think of something that is more convenient, more efficient, or cheaper. Again ideally in this case we're pitching ideas to our economic development group for example.
We love to see anything – anything real, anything we can put our hands on, and anything like sketches. I've raised various rounds of venture capital literally with sketches of products. Don’t underestimate the value in that. Next slide please.
AIRBNB's solution: again very elegantly done. A web-based platform: save money, make money, share culture. They really boiled it down. I wish I was as smart as whoever built this deck. It's absolutely beautiful. Next part of the pitch is the market. Next slide please.
The market is a big one. This is where you show your audience that you really know what you're talking about. You've done the research. You know what the existing market looks like. You know how it's segmented. You know how big it is. You know what business you're in. You demonstrate knowledge of the market. You've defined your market. You understand the total available market size. You understand how big it can get and its growth rates. And you understand where you play in it. You understand the addressable market – the target market.
And you understand how you're going to get into the market. Who are your beachhead customers? Do you knock those down and then start getting the ones next to it? Big on visuals here – I think it really communicates the concepts quickly, easily. And again I think actually this plays into any pitch. And I think it plays in primarily financials as well across any project whether it's energy or whatnot. I do like to do some of the visualizations that we're seeing more and more of. They're very elegant. Next slide please.
Again these are the slides that AIRBNB used to show that there was validation to their market. They noticed by looking at Craigslist for example there were 50,000 listings for temporary housing. And again this was back in the '09 timeframe. And coach surfing had little over 500,000 million users at that time. So there was a need for it. I don't love Slide 5 but again it gets into the market size: 2 billion+ trips books. There's the budget of $560 million, and trips with AIRBNB 84 million. Next slide please.
The next slide we get into the product. And again storytelling: boil it down to a person if you can. We want to know who that customer is and how they value and how they use the product. And why are they going to use it more than once? That's slide Number 6 is what AIRBNB used. Again at this point 2009 it was pretty ahead of the game. It was nice and visual, had great search functionality. It allowed you to move through quickly and book things quickly. And as they went along they built then more features of course. Next slide.
We'll get into the business model. So we want to start thinking about how we're going to make money, a little continuation of the product and who the customers are. Define your customers. Quantify your potential customers, and segment them out from your beachhead customers that you're going to attack and how you're going to start knocking over additional markets. Understand the price points in the market and what customers are willing to pay.
Most of us have seen Shark Tank on TV. They always nail these entrepreneurs on hey you've been around for one month or five years. What's your revenue to date? And if it doesn't meet some acceptable floor, and growth rate and adoption they tell them to go take a hike. So if you have some history that's great. Next slide is actually AIRBNB's slide. So theirs is very simple. They take ten percent commission on each transaction with $84 million dollars' worth of trips. Again they were projecting on a $2.1 billion revenue. Next slide please.
Again following product business, business model, customers. Where are your customers today? And where are they looking? What are the channels your competition is using? And how are you going to be a little more innovative? You may want to repeat some of the same channels but how are you going to do it differently? Tell me why you're going to do it better. Next slide please.
Again big fan of digitalization across the board; I think it communicates ideas quickly. This is competition differentiation. Where do I sit? Where do I exist? You'll notice that AIRBNB used a slide deck that basically said you know we're the most convenient and the most affordable. We're up on the upper right quadrant. I guess this goes back to sort of the traditional BCG matrix with the starts up on the right corner. And also you map in where your competition is. Another way to do it is the matrix on the right, the competitive landscape which is listing all your competitors and different attributes and how you stack up. Next slide please.
Another view, perceptual maps, and consumer perception – what are your advantages and what are your perceived advantages in the market? Advantages: of course patents or intellectual property. Do you have any unfair advantages? Do we have any unfair advantages being tribal entities? Do we have some advantages getting the government contracts? Can we get the –? For example can we get the military to agree to let us product power over the fence and export to them? How do we take advantage of these things? Unfair advantages: again location we put on there, experience. Next slide please.
We'll show AIRBNB's original competitive advantage slide – Slide Number 10 of their deck. What were they claiming their competitive advantage was? They were first to market in transaction based temporary housing. They allowed people with homes to make money. The host didn't have to keep relisting, relisting with Craigslist. It was very easy to use, great profiles, and again eventually feedback profiles as well. And I don't know if you'll agree but looking at this incredibly simple slide deck it's really elegant. It’s a great design. Next slide please.
And that design cascaded over into who's on the team. I think what Doug said is very important. Who's on the team? From an energy standpoint have you done this before? Is there prior success? Do you have expertise? And if so what's the experience? AIRBNB we've got a user interface person who understands how people perceive and how they perceive design and what's friendly. You've got a backend guy who makes it all work. And you've got somebody up front doing the biz dev and branding.
Pulling it back to energy projects in Indian Country if you don't have the right experience try to get someone in the room with you. Try to get them on your board of advisors or board of directors or – Well board of directors gets _____ in Indian Country as well. But team matters. Next slide.
We're coming closer to the end here. Financials – this as I think Doug was saying as well is really audience-dependent. I tend to do and expect a high level finance at this point. And if it passes the smell test if you will then we do a follow up. And then we get into the nitty-gritty. And we get into in the middle section here – If it's an existing business let's take a look at some historical highlights. I'm going to want to get into your financial projects, into your Proformas. The critical assumptions whether it's for startup or whether it's for an energy project.
Assumptions matter. We want to understand that you have any idea what you're talking about. We want to understand that you're reasonable. We want to understand that you understand your cash flow, your burn rate, where you're at for break even in terms of cost and timing. And again to do this right is not trivial. It does require a reasonably high degree of expertise. And depending on how you structure the deal legally and financially it has huge impacts on what these numbers look like. I won't get into the details there. Next slide please.
Just to finish out the presentation that was the last slide for AIRBNB's deck which they were successful in raising money. They're a little too simple there but again it's not an energy project. And then finally next slide: some references here if you're interested in pitch decks. You will Google on Dave McClure's 500 Startups is fantastic. Guy Kawasaki is a real icon out here. And AirBnB pitch deck is incredibly elegant. Maybe not so relevant for energy but really in a way it is.
It demonstrates a clarity of thought. And I think it does a nice job of getting the audience comfortable moving to the next level. The next slide will be a little bit of a shocker. Next slide please. So this is not a slide that you would put in a pitch deck or a slide deck. This is an energy development project. It's actually a real project that I did. This is a personal way that I map out the crazy variables in a project. It's not something I share. But I wanted to point out that an energy development project has hundreds and thousands of variables.
And you have to get them all right. If you get one wrong the project doesn't go. But it does all hinge on the most important piece which is – again as Doug mentioned – the financials. And it's the risk management related to that. And I would like to offer up anybody on the call who's not interested in again the more fluffy pitch deck that we just ran through. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty I'm happy to walk people through how to do energy project development.
If you actually take a close look at this particular slide again you'll notice it's a multidisciplinary approach. You've got your finance. You've got your construction and environmental operations, and maintenance. This happened to be a gas project so it required negotiations with waste management, with the town. And this was also for export so it also required negotiation with SoCal Edison or Interconnects. How a purchase agreement which is what allowed us to move forward on the financing of this.
We basically had a guarantee from a city – in this case the City of Anaheim – that said we will guarantee that we'll buy power from you. We're a good customer. We're rated. And of course that allows you to go get your bond financing and your bank financing and your equity financing. That's about it. We wrapped it up right there. So again I'm happy to walk anyone through the specifics on energy development. And I hope the pitch portion was interesting or helpful.
Randy Manion: Thank you Scott. And let's go into the Q&A portion of the event. Let's see what questions we have out there right now. And I would like to remind everyone you can submit written questions by clicking on the question button in the control tab and writing your question. Or you can raise your hand. There are no written questions at this time. Let's see if there are any attendees that would like to ask our panel a question directly. If you do just click the raise your hand icon and I will unmute you so you can ask our panel your question directly.
And it looks like there is a raised hand. Chu Charn Tan I'm going to unmute you at this time so you can ask your question to the panel directly. Go ahead Chu. Chu Charn Tan you've been unmuted if you want to ask our panelists a question directly. We can't seem to hear you so I'll mute you again. Just raise your hand again if you get your audio fixed. Let's see there may be some other written questions.
Will both Scott and Doug be at the Summit?
Doug MacCourt: Will this is Doug and yes you'll get an opportunity to meet and network and talk to both of us. This year we engaged Scott Geary and Stone Angel Capital to be an integral part of the Summit in helping us prepare the finance tracks. For those of you who have looked at the agenda or those who aren't familiar with this year's Summit we've organized it around the four policy priorities that were prepared and delivered to the Secretary of Energy by the Indian Country Energy Infrastructure Working Group.
And the first of those by priority is access to capital. So Scott has been instrumental in working with his investor and finance industry contacts to pull together not only the finance roundtable on the afternoon of May 1st but each of the financing and access to capital tracks on May 2nd and 3rd. And we both plan to attend the matchmaking or make your pitch sessions. So we're really happy to have Scott here. Scott, anything you wanted to add?
Scott Geary: Well thanks Doug. I appreciate it. And of course I've enjoyed working Indian Country and working on all the important projects related thereof. I would just say we've got a nice lineup of speakers. I'm looking forward to getting a lot of smart, curious people in the rooms, and try to figure out how we can take advantage of this massive market of Indian energy. I really look forward to the networking session Tuesday afternoon from 4:45 PM to 6:00 PM which was sponsored by a developer.
So we'll have some beer, wine, and finger food following some great conversation that afternoon and prior to the event at the Smithsonian Museum.
Doug MacCourt: Great. And Scott for our audience one thing I would highly recommend. Tell your colleagues and our friends in Indian Country and all of the industry folks that you work with we'd love to have you. And it's free to the federal government, to tribes, tribal businesses, and tribal representatives. The only folks that have a registration fee are industry. And what we would encourage you all to do that haven't done this yet is to register. .The National Tribal Energy Summit has a webpage on www.energy.gov/indianenergy.
And you can navigate to that. The actual registration page is firstname.lastname@example.org. And NCSL is the National Conference of State Legislators. And they are helping us once again this 2017 to help us pull off a successful summit. So please if you're interested register. If you have any trouble with that send us an e-mail. We'll get you connected with the right link.
Randy Manion: Okay. Will you be streaming the presentations for those that can't attend?
Doug MacCourt: This is Doug MacCourt again. We will be streaming the plenary presentations on the morning of May 2nd. Due to the fact that these are breakout sessions and four separate tracks we are not going to be streaming each individual track. But we will be streaming the plenary presentations which will include Secretary Perry and our director Chris Deschene as well as a session that I am introducing Senator Hoeven and Senator Udall of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs talking about new directions in energy sovereignty with tribes.
And we will also be streaming the lunchtime remarks from members of Congress and the Senate and the House, but not the sessions. We will be collecting the presentation information from the sessions and ultimately we do a report out. But it's not the same as being there.
Randy Manion: Okay, any tips for pitching to entities not experienced in doing business in Indian Country?
Doug MacCourt: Well Scott maybe I'll take a preliminary whack at that. My first advice is it depends on what you're pitching. If you're talking about pitching an energy project and particularly a clean energy project that uses the kind of financing that I described – the tax equity model, familiarity with that is important as we talked about. But also first it's absolutely essential to understand what specific type of investor you're talking to and you're pitching to. And we covered the issues of a certain background in the fundamentals.
But if you're talking to investors on behalf of a tribe or with an interest in doing projects in Indian Country I strongly recommend that you bring them to the table. And it doesn't necessarily require that if you're with a company – Let's say you're with a development company or you're with a technology company. It's less important that you have experience in Indian Country – although that certainly helps – than it is to have the clear support and fundamentals of the tribe and who's going to be represented in the presentation, in the pitch, and have that be succinct and transparent.
I hope I at least answered part of the question. Scott?
Scott Geary: Sure. Great question. It immediately draws me to one of your slide Doug on the banking side for example. And we will have some bankers at the Summit on panels answering similar questions. 'Cause a bank has to worry about if I'm going – Let's say I'm going to loan money to an Indian entity. How is my loan secured? And is it secured against assets? And if it's secured against assets through – The standard way we do a Uniform Commercial Code 1. We file a lien. But how does that work in Indian Country? And how do I answer that question if I'm not familiar with it?
So I think depending on who the audience and investor is, whether it's an equity or a debt, whether it's a BC or private equity there are certainly plenty of nuances around the legal side of that and the corporate structure and security issues, et cetera. I'd be happy to get into some of those details with anybody maybe off this call. I think it's very specific to who you're talking to and what type of project you're talking about.
Doug MacCourt: That's absolutely right. And again for those of you in the audience that are going to be attending the Summit you'll see us there all three days. Just come up to us, introduce yourselves, and if you're not able to attend send us an e-mail. You've got our contact information.
Scott Geary: And I should say part of this is actually starting to educate the larger ecosystem if you will of these nuances. And can we template this to some degree based on the type of projects so various investors can see okay I've got issue one, two, and three. And this is how they're dealt with. But again we'll have a nice set of representatives at this particular conference.
Randy Manion: Okay and seeing no more written questions and no hands raised I think we'll conclude the webinar today. As this slide states a post-webinar e-mail will be sent to all those that attended the webinar. And those that did not with this link that's shown on the screen that's where the recording and the PowerPoints will be located. And we'll make sure to post Doug's most current PowerPoint that we weren't able to get into the webinar today. I'm also going to go to a list of upcoming webinars.
The next one is Spending Energy Dollars Wisely on May 31st. And with that again I want to thank our speakers: Lizana Pierce, Doug MacCourt, and Scott Geary for doing a great job today. I hope you can all make it to the National Tribal Summit. And with that have a great day. Thank you.
Doug MacCourt: Thank you Randy.
Randy Manion: Bye everyone.
Scott Geary: Bye.
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