On good pitches

Modelling what already works well is a good way to learn.

In that spirit, I am sharing 5 observations on presentations from the recent Techsparks 2015 event where I saw the top 10 startups present.

  1. I have not been a big believer in the 3 minute pitch sessions. Much to my surprise, almost all the 10 startups were able to give a convincing presentation in less than 3 minutes. Whether you need it or not, it is always useful to have one 3 minute version of your idea ready and well-rehearsed.
  2. Almost all 10 founders started with a strong intro with a simple format — “I am _________, founder of _____________”. Seems simple, but powerful when consistently practised!
  3. The most memorable ones did the following consistently:
  • started with a small story on how big / bad the problem (they are solving is) and then went on to visualise how with their product/ service could make it better — and by how much!!
  • used numbers / data to explain the story
  • clearly explained how they were solving the problem and what changes for the customer (time, cost, experience) after the problem is solved.

4. Out of the 10,

  • I remembered at least 4 on the strength of their presentations.
  • Did not remember much of the 3 from the remaining 6.
  • The three I remembered from the 6 which did not make a great presentation, had something that makes a presentation irrelevant — evidence of traction (millions of transactions, lacs of customer traffic, 100’s of marquee global clients).

5. The ones which had more to share on what they have done already were easy to remember than the ones which talked about what they were going to do. As the saying goes, you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do!