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October 15, 2010 / TechFemme

Mastering the 90 Second Pitch

I went to a workshop for creating and mastering the perfect Elevator Pitch on Friday that was sponsored by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, The Launch Pad at the University of Miami and Venture Architects.

It was a great place to get started on a pitch, or to refine one that you already thought was solid.  I realized quickly that my startup pitch was lacking many fundamentals.

Melissa Krinzman from Venture Architects told me, and a room full of about 30 other entrepreneurs, the key elements of a solid, successful 90 second elevator pitch (yes, that’s quite a long elevator ride).  Some basic takeaways:

Anatomy of a Good Pitch

  1. What is the Product? Build as much of it as possible first.
  2. What does it help the Customer do?
  3. Show a Prototype (if applicable)
  4. What’s the Big Problem or Opportunity?
  5. Show Traction – what have you been doing?
  6. Show Social Proof – do you have a band of users/believers?
  7. Describe your Team – any street cred? what have you done in the past?
  8. Why are you interested in this particular Investor?
  9. Call to Action

But there are also intangibles during the pitch that Melissa says are important too, such as:

  1. Engagement
  2. Likeability
  3. Confidence
  4. Concrete Idea

Most of the value came towards the end of the session when Melissa gave us some insider tips when pitching to Investors, such as:

  1. When you create a potential investor list, make it personal – find out everything you can about them and how / why they are relevant to your idea/business/pitch.
  2. Meet with your least likely investor first so that you make your mistakes with the investor you probably weren’t going to get anyway.
  3. Don’t hand out anything before or during the pitch or they will stop listening to you and focus on the handout.
  4. Bring samples (if applicable)
  5. Have a memorable follow up
  6. If they aren’t interested, ask them if they know other investors who might be interested in what you’re doing.
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