Jason Weiss
The Startup
Published in
4 min readMay 18, 2020


The Ultimate Pocket Elevator Toolkit

“So, what do you do?”

As an entrepreneur, you’ve been asked this question hundreds of times. But let’s be real — have you thought much about what you say?

Most entrepreneurs spend a tremendous amount of time working on their stage pitch or formal pitch with slides, but little to no time preparing for the informal elevator pitch you make regularly. Of course, you have an answer and some form of pitch — but it’s often uninspiring, ineffective, and without a strategy or goal. I believe this is a huge missed opportunity. A simple, focused elevator pitch can do wonders to open doors, get that follow up meeting, and build meaningful relationships. And the best part is that it usually takes less than a minute! I know some startups who have gotten investment from investors who saw them pitch on stage at an event, but I know many more who have gotten investment that began from informal networking and casual pitching.

In this blog, I’d like to share a simple formula with 5 steps I’ve developed for making the ultimate “pocket” elevator pitch that can be used and adapted for any person, anywhere, and anytime. This can be used for any kind of company — startup, service provider, agency, or anything else. The ideas here are based on my own knowledge, experience coaching over 500 startups from Israel and across Europe on fundraising and pitching, and insights working with top entrepreneurs who have raised hundreds of $M.

Let’s go!

Step 1: One Liner

Write out your company one liner in a twitter-ready format. This one liner should be concise, simple enough that even your grandma can understand, and exciting.

Let’s use Uber as an example. Here’s what I would say:

“Uber revolutionizes traditional taxi transportation with an on-demand car service connecting riders with drivers everywhere in a fast & secure way. ”

Step 2: Problem/Opportunity

What is the problem you are solving or the opportunity you are addressing? Write a few key points out or in a one liner showing the pain.

Let’s go back to Uber for this one also. “Uber solves core points for the rider — supply, accountability for the drivers, customer service, and ease of pay. For drivers, it provides safety, choice, information, and more business.”

Step 3: Benefits

Write out 3 core benefits your solution brings to your customers. Ideal benefits to speak about include:

  • Price — how much cheaper is your solution than existing ones or competitors? Can you save your customers money somehow?
  • Speed — Is it faster to set up or get results?
  • Internal Results — What can you measure that is valuable? Such as providing better data, more security, insights, tools, or other.
  • External Results — do you help your clients do something better with their customers? Such as to sell more, market better, hire faster, or similar benefits.

For these benefits, use numbers to show meaning — such as “30% cheaper”, “3x faster”, or “30 additional sales leads”. Stay away from fluffy general descriptions.

Step 4: How

Write 3 core “how” answers — how are you able to produce those results? What makes your startup best positioned to lead and accomplish the benefits? Ideal answers can include:

  • Team — Such as education (“we have a team of top PhDs in machine learning…”), experience or similar (“We have over 40 years combined experience in the field”).
  • Technology — What is special or unique about your tech — but make sure this is explained in a simplified way, such as “We have 4 granted patents on our computer vision software”.
  • Partnerships — Significant partners such as corporations, strategic companies, advisors and others that provide validation to your team and increase the likelihood of success.

Step 5: Put it Together

Nice! Now that you have identified all the parts for your pocket elevator pitch I recommend organizing in a simple bubble format like the image below.

Now, you’ve got the toolkit for a powerful, impactful elevator pitch you can use anywhere and with anyone. Depending on the situation you are in and how much time you have, you can pull different parts here to make any length elevator pitch. It can look like this:

  • 10–15 seconds (typical for first answer about “what do you do?”): Your one liner + 1 benefit
  • 15–30 seconds: one liner + 2 benefits + 1 how
  • 30–60 seconds: one liner + 2–3 benefits + 2–3 how + problem/opportunity

With the steps in your pocket, you’re ready to nail your elevator pitch. But once you make a good first impression, how do you successfully manage the follow up process? Stay tuned for the second blog focused on strategies and real email templates for follow up.



Jason Weiss
The Startup

I write about entrepreneurship, startups, innovation, personal growth and high-performance. Passionate about sharing practical ideas and wisdom for life.