Pitching Your Startup? Burn Down The F*cking Village.

If you’re like most companies, when you pitch you probably say something like, “ACME is a mobile app that lets you purchase all of your TNT and dynamite needs for catching RoadRunner.”


“ACME makes it easy to catch Roadrunner. We have a full-service digital solution that gives you access to RoadRunner’s whereabouts at every step in her journey.”

Sound familiar?

Keyo did this too. Keyo is a Fintech startup I’ve been working with for the past month. When we first started, here’s how CMO Caye Polanco pitched their company.


Pretty “just okay”, right? And that sucks because at its core Keyo has amazing technology, and an insanely good value proposition, and I think they are going to change the face of payment transactions.

But they need to communicate that in the right way. That’s why I introduced them to a psychological business approach I call The Superhero Strategy.

The Superhero Strategy

Think of your product/service as a superhero. In order for a superhero to save the day, 2 things need to be there:

  1. A Damsel In Distress, and
  2. a village on fire.

Without these 2 key elements, there’s just no need for the superhero — your company — to exist!

Batman would come to Gotham and Gotham would be like, “What the hell are you doing here? We’re good, dude. And why are you wearing that ridiculous outfit?”

That’s how YOUR customers will react if you try and save the day too soon.

That’s why you need a Damsel In Distress, and you need to set the village on fire.

In fact, burn it to the f*cking ground.

The Damsel is your target customer. The village on fire is the #1 problem your target (and still prospective) customer faces. It’s the thing terrorizing their day-to-day. It’s their Joker.

Articulate this problem in an impactful, clear, and concise manner. If you don’t — and if you don’t do this first — then you’re Batman trying to save Gotham on a sunny day.

Remember in Dark Knight Rises, Batman went away for like 10 years because Gotham was safe without him. It’s only when Bane began destroying everything did Batman return to save the people.

To make this actionable for YOUR business, here are the 4 steps to the Superhero Strategy.

STEP 1: Identify the damsel in distress > your target market.

STEP 2: Burn down the village > articulate the #1 problem.

STEP 3: Use Your Superpower > convey the thing that makes your company awesome.

STEP 4: Save the day > explain your product/service and how it solves the problem.

The Superhero Strategy works in both B2B AND direct to consumer environments. It works in one-sided, two-sided, and even three-sided marketplaces.

I’ve been working with Keyo to develop their pitch, using The Superhero Strategy along with my other processes. The result? They were recently featured in ChicagoInno and the story they wanted told was put forth in that article. Last week they told me they used their new pitch for the first time on a B2B prospect and converted them to a customer IN 5 MINUTES.

As a company that has a 2-sided marketplace (which can feel excruciatingly painful to communicate), they told me it’s been “a night and day” improvement in how they message their brand to both end users and B2B customers.

Superheroes like Keyo don’t mess around. They save the day, but only after they find the village and (metaphorically) burn it to the f*cking ground.

Hi, I’m Rajiv ‘RajNATION’ Nathan, I’m the founder of RajNATION Innovation. Feel like your story sucks? I work with growth-focused startups like Keyo, Capital Construction Solutions, and more on pitch and story to help you raise venture capital and acquire customers. Visit www.rajnationinnovation.com and holler at me. I also host the Discover Your Inner Awesome Podcast — real convos with entrepreneurs, founders, artists and musicians to bring you the real side of success.