How to Pitch Your Start-up,
step-by-step.

Brought to you by 42PLUS1.

You want to create a thriving start-up that is set to reach unicorn status and disrupt the world; or at least the market you’re in! And you want to achieve that while being unsure on how to present and sell your idea to people?!
“Pitch, please!”, is what a lot of c-suits, university students and investors will kindly prompt you to do. So… let’s get started.

A pitch does not come in a “one size fits all” style. There are distinguished types of “pitches”, aka, presentations. A pitch in the end of the day is a combination of the words speech and presentation; or should be, I am no linguist, but I do know pitching.

This act can take place on the sidewalk, in a crowded conference room, or for the romantics out there… in an elevator. You might be given a stage and the spotlight, or solely a quick glance. It can last from 10 seconds or 1 minute to 3 or even 20 minutes; up to an hour. And you need to provide your listener with what they expect to hear + a little more; for good measure!

So for example, your Twitter pitch could be something in the lines of: “We are Amazon for XYZ”, or “We are Airbnb for co-working spaces”.
It used to be 140 characters, but now it’s 280, which trust me, leaves enough breathing room for you to play around.

In my humble opinion – after failing at a dozen pitch competitions and then succeeding in an equal amount of those – you should start with your Elevator Pitch. Once you’ve scripted that, then extract a simple yet catchy abstract of that and your aforementioned Twitter pitch will be compact yet informative.

The Elevator Pitch

Anyone can argue that “their method” is the best. I am undoubtedly going to do the same, but I am working with you in mind. You, my friend, are reading an article on how to present your start-up. So, guidance and structure are what you most need at the moment. Creativity and intelligence will be given a chance to shine, surely, but to help you set the ball rolling, a set of specific tips and guidelines is a must.

 

One of the most highly respected entrepreneurs to have dealt with this situation is Geoffrey Moore. In his book “Crossing the Chasm” he presents us with a simple yet effective template anyone can use to create an elevator pitch, in a minute!

 

Here, I’ll prove to you how easy it is to use this template by presenting… DoggyPizza. An Idea I’m forming “as we speak”. If it can help me convey the mission and vision of this “start-up”, it can definitely work miracles for you!

  • For… busy dog-owner professionals,
  • Who are dissatisfied with… the nutrition solutions they have for their pet, when at work,
  • Our product/service is a… pizza delivery app, for your pet.
  • That… can deliver a healthy meal to your pet when you’re working.
  • Unlike… pizza delivery services and pet-food businesses of the past,
  • Our product/service… can always reach your lil friend (through the doggy door).

See?! You know what “I’m selling”.

An app, you can use to remotely deliver a “pizza” to your beloved pet, even when you’re at work.

You know who I target: Busy dog-owners.

You know why we are better than the existing competition:We combine the benefits of “pizza delivery” with the nutritious food of a pet store.

Here is a proper broad table you can follow:

  1. For (target customers)
    2. Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
    3. Our product is a (product category)
    4. That provides (key problem-solving capability).
    5. Unlike (the product alternative),
    6. Our product (describe the key product features).

 

This is how you can create your very own Elevator Pitch!

Now… forming a simpler yet descriptive version of that and having it serve as a “Twitter pitch” doesn’t seem that chaotic.
Am I right? Perfect, let’s move on.

The Competition Pitch

This is where things start to heat up and get interesting. In order for you to be asked to present a “competition pitch” you have probably applied in a competition. During the application process there is an 89% chance (a random statistic I only now generated, yet pretty close to the reality) that you were required to provide an elevator pitch. Thank me later.

Now you need to come up with a fancy PowerP… Presentation!

While your time on stage can vary from 2 minutes to 20, it doesn’t really matter. You need to present the same aspects of your business. All of them, no matter the time. Of course, the more time you’re given the more in detail you can go.

Your Competition Pitch should span for 10-20 slides, with 15 being the silver lining you’re aiming for.

PRO TIP: You (we) don’t want your slides to include ALL OF THE WORDS you are going to say when presenting. While it makes it easier for you to present, it leads to a boring presentation that underestimates your audience’s intelligence. You think I am too strict?

“We CAN read. Why are you reading to us whatever is written in the slide?” said a juror to me in 2015. Oops.

Go by the 10-20-30 rule:“Keep your pitch to 10 slides, present for no longer than 20 minutes, and use a font of at least 30 points.”

Now… what should you include in that presentation?It’s easy! 1-3 slides will be your introduction and outro. Boom. Done.
For the “main body”, you need to invest 1-2 slides per “bullet”. Which bullet you ask? The ones in the Elevator Pitch Template! You have already answered these questions! Cool, I know.

Some simple math dictates that: if you have 2 minutes, you talk for 20 seconds per slide/bullet/topic. If you’re given 15 minutes you can spend up to 1 minute per topic.

Outside of transcribing the elevator pitch into a presentation here; this is the standard pitch deck outline:

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Market Analysis
  • Business Model
  • Competition
  • Marketing Plan
  • Founding Team
  • Fundraising

 

PRO TIP 2: It’s always smart to use ….hmmm 10-20% less time, than the total you are given.Why? Because I’ve tested it, it works! It speaks confidence, it allows for more time for the QnA and even if you … “fail” at something, you have just enough time to remedy the situation.

PS

I only now did I realize that I did not mention the following:

Rehears! Rehears at home as if it’s a stand-up show, a theatrical play or your job interview for a coveted position.

Make sure that you can deliver the whole presentation in 80% of the total time given. In addition, ensure that you spend adequate time on each topic and that no part feels sluggish.

 

PRO TIP3: Present only the most basic/core numbers regarding your market and especially your predicted cash flow, in the main presentation. Keep it lean. Keep it short. Keep it fun.

Then, when you’ll be questioned on your decision to forgo including all the numbers your competitors did during the QnA, hit them back with this answer:

“I’m glad that you are asking. [hit the Esc key] We have included a thorough analysis of the economics here. It’s a “hidden slide” because we wanted to preserve the flow of the presentation while maintaining the ability to provide you with ALL the information during the QnA.”

 

THIS LAST BIT, is pure gold.

That’s all for now folks!

The next step is an Investor Pitch.
This can last up to an hour.

Once you’ve successfully pitched on all the previous levels 1 to 10 times, you are bound to receive an invitation for one of these meetings.
This is a whole other story, and we are going to analyse that in a future article.

I believe that the information provided here is enough to get you started!
You can now create a(ny) pitch. Would you like to receive some feedback on your material once you’re done? Wouldn’t it be amazing if that feedback was to come from experiences and renowned industry leaders? It would… I know… If only I could help you reach these people and convince them to invest the time to take a look at your business and provide you with some invaluable feedback.

OH WAIT! We have launched the 42PLUS1 Pitch Award! Outside of the opportunity to win $2millions in funding and an invitation to the coveted DxPx Conference on Diagnostics, Digital Health, Precision Medicine & Life Science Tools, you can take advantage of the opportunity to get feedback.

Additionally, the finals take place at the DxPx Conference, a World Series of Industry & Investor Partnering Conferences focusing on Diagnostics, Digital Health, Precision Medicine & Life Science Tools, where you can network with 100s of investors.

Step 1: Apply what you’ve just learned to your business.

Step 2: Apply for the next 42PLUS1 Pitch Award.

–> The finals for the 2021 Event are taking place on Nov. 16th in Dusseldorf Germany.

You can find more information about the 42PLUS1 Pitch Award HERE and everything about the DxPx Conference HERE.

 

Until we meet again,
take care,
Chris.