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Why You Should Never Pay to Pitch, by Sajad Ghanizada

Posted by Amity Sims on 2013-09-23

Founder Insight gives you feedback from the startup trenches.

In this post from his blog, Sajad Ghanizada shares critical advice for new entrepreneurs: Don't pay to pitch. Ever. He says, "One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received from a mentor within my network was, 'If you can’t get accepted to pitch at a free event…there is probably a legitimate reason that reputable venues have passed you by and it isn’t because you haven’t slipped them enough cash".

Below, Don’t Pay To Pitch. Ever. has been republished;


"As a first time entrepreneur, I find myself making mistakes all the time and seeking advice often (but not enough).

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received from a mentor within my network was, “If you can’t get accepted to pitch at a free event…there is probably a legitimate reason that reputable venues have passed you by and it isn’t because you haven’t slipped them enough cash.”

He’s right on the mark. I get invited to pitch events maybe once a month throughout the east coast, most of them cost a moderate $50-75 which I assume is to cover costs.

But once in a while, I receive an email for an event that seems more like a Nigerian 419 scam than a selective pitch event. Angel Venture Forum in the Mid-Atlantic region stands out as the most costly of the pay-to-pitch schemes. Apply and if you’re selected to present, for a cool $1,500 you can pitch 30 angel investors from 24 groups. No guarantee that they’re actively looking to invest.

You should easily be able to find a warm introduction to any of these 30 investors outside of AVF. If you can’t find an introduction, can’t get a meeting or an investment, don’t think that throwing away $1,500 is going to change any of that.

I don’t know of any events like this on the west coast but I would love to hear from you if you’ve had any success at a pay to pitch event.

For those who’ve shelled out the money and received nothing, I can be a shoulder to cry on. Reach out to me."


Sajad is a graduate of the Washington DC Founder Institute and the Founder of EventStir, a crowdfunding platform for events. To hear more from Sajad, follow him on twitter @TheRealSajad.

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