Learning to “Pitch” in the Big Leagues.

My first Grabba blog, and first ever published blog for that matter… Hopefully the internet proves to be a forgiving place…

Erlich: The OG Pitch-Man

This week the Grabba Team came together to formulate our pitch deck for the big event on December 20th. That big event is the CUNY Startups’ pitch-day in which the culmination of our development, strategy, and implementation over the past months will come to light in front of a 5 judge panel.

If successful, our team will receive $4,500 in condition-free funding to be used however we see fit. That money does seem like a humble amount, but as most startups will agree, every dollar counts.

In order to develop a top-notch pitch platform for our 3 minute presentation, the boys and I had to apply trial and error strategy that stimulated some unconventional thought.

After multiple trips to the drawing board, we ended on a pitch that was streamlined, story-driven, and attention grabbing.

With that in mind, we found 3 major trends for developing a solid overview of what Grabba has to offer both users and investors.

  1. Metrics, metrics, then some more metrics.

During our review of our pitch decks, we realized that we need tangible numbers in order to show our audience that the idea behind the app was legit (i.e. giving the “proof in the pudding”). Not to sound crude, but we realized after the first deck it sounded like we were blowing smoke up the audiences’ collective asses.

Finding this proof turned out to be more difficult than assumed and we realized quickly that we needed a healthy mix of hard data and reasonable expectations.

Our immediate option was using sites like IBIS World to get a feel for how big the US Parking industry is and where we see ourselves within that industry.

To make an analogy, we used that trusted data as the ice cream of our validation sundae (if you can’t tell it’s a Saturday night at 6 pm and I’m HUNGRY). The cherry-on-top was the modest assumptions we made about our role in the coming months and year.

It sounded much better to say we see ourselves making upwards of 250k within the first 6 quarters when having data that showed the value of the Tri-State area parking industry at 1 billion dollars+ annually….

2. Channel your inner Homer (not the yellow drunkard).

When it comes to story-telling and cuisine, the Greeks have done it right. I don’t know what it is about those Mediterraneans, but they have a knack for making octopus palatable and characters both heroic yet relateable.

With gyros and the Iliad on our minds, we decided to create an epic tale about the treachery of parking in NYC and how four young heroes provided an option that many before them had looked over.

This story-styled pitch immediately created an identifiable feel to the presentation. Instead of seeing a generic slide titled “Avoid Parking Headaches”, the audience could now connect to stories of parking tickets, getting stuck in the winter, and other mayhem.

3. Know thine audience.

After meeting with Pete, an advisor at CUNY Startups, we came away understanding just how important it is to know your audience.

Our original pitch included extensive design features, in-depth competition analysis, and country-wide infographics. It took Pete to say “we *the judges* understand you are students with limited resources who lack experience” for us to understand how we need to angle this pitch.

Here we were trying to claim we are on track to become the next unicorn of Wallstreet, when in reality, we just need to be reasonable with ourselves and the judges. By being forthright, we are able to demonstrate that we have faith in ourselves but understand our current boundaries towards expansion.

This will also be important down the line because creating realistic pitches allows for valuations to be given with attainable goals attached (aka avoiding any hostile takeovers).

With a good pitch in hand, the weight of our success fell on the designated pitch man (cough cough* me).

I’ll need to extensively practice the presentation and make sure I’m well versed on applicable research data so that I can make the presentation flawless while being able to answer any curveball questions.

18 days and counting until our first major test and I’m hoping the resulting meeting will conclude with champagne and fun rather than tears into beer.

We’ll have more updates in the coming weeks.

Krop, out.

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