Perfecting a startup pitch may seem like a daunting task for most, if not all, beginning entrepreneurs. However, effectively pitching your company is a deceptively simple undertaking that falls under the "so-easy-it's-hard" category. In the post below, previous Founder Institute Directors J. Ramphis Castro and Marcos Polanco describe a simple outline any founder can follow to articulate what their company does in a clear yet impactful manner.
The following blog post, "The Foolproof One Minute Startup Pitch Formula", was originally published on Mindchemy's blog, and has been republished with permission.
There is no shortage of startup contests where competitors have one minute to pitch their companies. Yet there are just a few resources for learning how to put that minute to best use. We mindchemists came up with a foolproof formula when we put on the Startups on a Global Stage event back in 2010…here it is:
Did you know that [CUSTOMER CATEGORY] experience [MASSIVE PAIN]? This is a [MARKET SIZE] billion dollar opportunity in EUROPE alone. [PRODUCT NAME] is a [PRODUCT CATEGORY] that [VALUE PROPOSITION]. Unlike other alternatives we, [KEY DIFFERENTIATOR]. The team includes [CREDIBLE TEAM BIOS] and we make money by [BUSINESS MODEL]. In essence, we are the [WELL-KNOWN ANALOGUE] for [ANALOGUE PRODUCT CATEGORY] and our vision is to [HOW WILL THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT? WHY DO YOU CARE?]. We have already [EXECUTED MILESTONES] and you must be involved because [INVITE!].
Do we get points for originality? No, actually we are blatantly lifting from the excellent Pitching Hacks and throwing in some elevator pitch wisdom from Crossing the Chasm. Rather than explain in detail all that happened there, let’s illustrate the formula with examples:
- Startups on Global Stage - We have met dozens and dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe who are unable to get their companies onto the world stage given the lack of ecosystem of partners, investors and talented collaborators. Startups on a Global Stage is an event series that enables local entrepreneurs to pitch successful angels, venture capitalists and mentors from around the world. Unlike other alternatives, we utilize two-way video streaming technology to habitually expose entrepreneurs to industry-leading resources. Our founding team includes Marcos Polanco, a former Silicon Valley startup founder and former successful economic development policymaker, and Ramphis Castro, former software entrepreneur and now attorney with an intellectual property focus. In essence, Startups on a Global Stage is an American Idol for entrepreneurs, and our vision is to liberate the business aspirations of our best, young talent. We have already organized two events, and you venture capitalists should participate because we are enabling you to access a new source of dealflow.
Let’s take a look at another:
- Clearshore - Did you realize that aerospace engineers are retiring at twice the rate that new engineers are entering the field? According to analysts the lack of clearable talent is causing the United States to slip in its competitiveness and is threatening our technological edge, a key federal priority. Clearshore is an nearshore R&D outsourced based in Puerto Rico that delivers a 40% cost advantage while bringing to the aerospace industry the talents of the #15 and #17th largest engineering schools in the country. Unlike Indians, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and are clearable. Our team includes Marcos Polanco, who as a policymaker negotiated the creation of 1,700 aerospace jobs in Puerto Rico, Chris Stahl, who has won $3B in federal contracts as a contract capture consultant, and Tito Montilla, who has raised over $100M in capital with a 5X return to investors. Clearshore generates revenue from fees and additionally from the sale of R&D tax credits unique to Puerto Rico. In essence, we are positioning Puerto Rico as the India for the $60B federal R&D market, and aim to establish Puerto Rico as a recognized innovation hub. We are currently negotiating R&D outsourcing agreements with local universities and you, Mr. Investor, must be involved because of your expertise in the financing of federal contracts.
Using this pitch template, you will cover all your bases. Importantly, you will demonstrate, based on the team bios, that you are the right team to pursue the opportunity. You will assure your listener that you are moving fast, based on the milestones. You will give them a shorthand way of remembering the pitch (e.g. American Idol for startups), and you will close with a personalized touch that specifically invites the listener to be part of the vision…whereas no one likes to be sold, everyone loves to be invited.
There you have it, founders. Use your minute wisely.