NextNY PitchCamp

After enjoying my last outing with them, I went to another nextNY event this evening. This one was PitchCamp. Keshava recruited several investors and entrepreneurs (including David S. Rose, the pitch coach written up in BusinessWeek) to serve as coaches while volunteers tried their pitches.

The first hour was three companies doing 2-3 minute elevator pitches with feedback afterwards. The second hour was spent with a company doing a 10 minute pitch presentation with PowerPoint, then taking 10-15 minutes of questions from “investors”, before feedback from the coaches. At the end, two of the three elevator pitches delivered a new version of their pitch incorporating the coach feedback, and results were noticeably improved.

I jotted down a list of the recurring questions and advice from the coaches:

  • Know your purpose – why are you pitching? Everything in the pitch must serve that purpose.
  • What is the problem you are solving? To hook the audience, start with a story that describes how it will be used.
  • What makes you different?
  • The Three C’s of Pitching: Clear, Concise and Compelling
  • No jargon – one pitch started with “text mining” and lost half of the audience immediately.
  • End where you want to end – close on a positive note, don’t just fizzle out.
  • Have an enthusiastic attitude e.g. “We’re doing it with or without you – your only choice is whether to jump on the bandwagon now or later.”
  • Stay positive – emphasize what you are, and don’t talk about what you’re not.
  • Show progress. Chart the increase in users. Describe the funding that you’ve raised. Mention the people that you have on board.
  • Identify clearly a community and demographic that you are serving.
  • What is the business model? Where is the revenue?
  • Why will people pay for your product/service?
  • What funding are you looking for, and what valuation do you desire?
  • How will the funding be used?
  • What are the revenue projections? One year, two years, four years after funding?

    It was really valuable to hear these comments, and I greatly admire the volunteers who stood up there and got grilled by the coaches. While I was listening, I was thinking of how I should be asking the same questions of myself in terms of how I present myself to the world and as a job applicant. I think that’s another post, though.

    Technorati tags: nextNY PitchCamp

    Updated to add the nextNY tag and post to the nextNY blog.

  • 5 thoughts on “NextNY PitchCamp

    1. I wish I could have made it.
      The 14 month old really knows how to swallow forbidden things just as you are about to walk out of the house.

      Maybe I can pitch next time.

      Thanks for the notes, I’ll be sure to apply them first chance I get.

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