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Pitching the Silicon Valley Way
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Pitching the Silicon Valley Way

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How to pitch your business in a way that's memorable for potential investors, new partners and future customers.

How to pitch your business in a way that's memorable for potential investors, new partners and future customers.


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  • Alright everyone.. by now we have completed the most challenging stages in the process and you are soon ready to pitch your idea to the jury. But before you do so we have a few good insights we would like to share with you about how to present your idea to the jury this afternoon. This stage is called PITCH and we will now talk a bit about the art of pitching.
  • Okay now it’s time for you to get to know each other a little better.. When you work as a team it is crucial that you have a good understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are now going to do a quick energizer/teambuilding exercise called The movie trailer of your life ! Find your team mates and stand in a circle (each team form a circle) so you can all se each other. Now you will each have exactly one minute to tell the story of your life from the day your were born till this moment where we stand here today. *the facilitator takes time (1 minute count down, let them know when there are 30 seconds left and 5 seconds left) good idea to use a big count down timer like: http://classtools.net/education-games-php/timer When we are working in a startup team we sometimes experience a lot of pressure and can easily feel very stressed. In those situations it is important that we know each other really well so we can deal with the conflicts in a good way. Going back to the analogy on how entrepreneurs are superheroes – we all have our superpowers and our Kryptonite (the only material that makes Superman weak) when it comes to teamwork. We will now take a second round where to tell the team about the 2 main skills/competences (superpowers) you are bringing to the team + your two biggest weaknesses when it comes to teamwork (kryptonite) - by sharing these strengths and weaknesses you can really improve your team collaboration. Let the teams choose a team captain who will lead the process to begin with *you can take turns..
  • Who knows what an elevator pitch is? The term elevator pitch refers to the situation when you meet your boss at the bottom level of your office building and you have the time span during the elevator ride to the top floor, to convince him or her that you have a great idea. As you can imagine you need to be extremely well prepared to be able to deliver a short, sweet and simple pitch in those few minutes.
  • It might sound tough but reality is that innovators and entrepreneurs are constantly pitching, we have to pitch to investors to get funded, to new partners to build good relationships, to customers so they buy our products, and to future employees so they want to work with us…so you better learn this skill quickly if we you to be successful.
  • Okay now it’s time for you to get to know each other a little better.. When you work as a team it is crucial that you have a good understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are now going to do a quick energizer/teambuilding exercise called The movie trailer of your life ! Find your team mates and stand in a circle (each team form a circle) so you can all se each other. Now you will each have exactly one minute to tell the story of your life from the day your were born till this moment where we stand here today. *the facilitator takes time (1 minute count down, let them know when there are 30 seconds left and 5 seconds left) good idea to use a big count down timer like: http://classtools.net/education-games-php/timer When we are working in a startup team we sometimes experience a lot of pressure and can easily feel very stressed. In those situations it is important that we know each other really well so we can deal with the conflicts in a good way. Going back to the analogy on how entrepreneurs are superheroes – we all have our superpowers and our Kryptonite (the only material that makes Superman weak) when it comes to teamwork. We will now take a second round where to tell the team about the 2 main skills/competences (superpowers) you are bringing to the team + your two biggest weaknesses when it comes to teamwork (kryptonite) - by sharing these strengths and weaknesses you can really improve your team collaboration. Let the teams choose a team captain who will lead the process to begin with *you can take turns..
  • When preparing your pitch we recommend that you use a kisss - you keep it short, sweet & simple. The most typical mistake of pitching is that people fail to keep it simple and they end up delivering an unclear message. You only have a few minutes in front of the jury so you won’t have time to tell them all your great ideas. You only have time to focus on the core feature of your idea – what entrepreneurs call the minimal viable product.   If you can effectively explain what pain you are removing and how your solution does this effectively you have done a great job with your pitch.
  • Okay so let’s have a look at the tasks in this stage – you are going to build a prototype, to prepare your pitch, to practice your pitch and finally present it to the jury.
  • Prototyping is a really important part of a good pitch. By having a simple prototype of your idea it becomes a lot easier to explain what you are doing. A prototype can be any kind of visualization of the idea, you won’t have time to build a very advanced model of the product but that’s also not necessary. As long as you can find a good way to show how the product or service works it’s great! So use your imagination to do a little role-play, make a nice drawing or build a simple mock-up of your idea.   *if you have hired sketchers for the camp you can get them to help the teams visualize their ideas
  • When you are pitching it is extremely crucial that you show your passion for your idea – if you don’t believe in your product nobody else will either.. Here is an example of a guy shows a lot of passion for his company 
  • When preparing for your pitch you also need to find a good way to capture the audience – it is not just what you say, it is as much about how you say it. *content versus Delivery.. You need to show the jury that you believe in your idea and that you have the energy and the skills to become successful innovators.   Here are a few good tips on presentation technique. As I said before you need to express that you have the drive and the passion for your idea, no standing in the corner with you hands in your pockets.. Get out and own the room . You should have a confident upright body position with your hands in a comfortable position above your hips. Avoid standing in front of your prototype or your presentation. Try to get eye contact with people in every corner of the room. If you tend to get nervous and maybe forget your line of thought just take a deep breath and start over – pausing can be very powerful so don’t worry about taking a few breaks.
  • When it comes to structuring your pitch we recommend that you use the fish template to build a good storyline. Start out strong by addressing the problem you want to solve and make sure to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the user and the context of the problem.   Then you explain your solution in short and precise terms – do not go into too many technical details to begin with, just focus on explaining the value proposition for the user and how it works. “ bite into the viewer” = capture the audience “ fill the belly” add information about your solution “ strong flick of the tail” end of in a way that will make the jury remember your presentation
  • Show video by Adeo Ressi on pitching technique (preload the video in your browser before your presentation – then it’s easier to pull it in.: Here is the clip: http://vimeo.com/16447520 or here: http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/03/madlibs-pitch-adeo-ressi-founder-institute/ Let students do exercise: 5 minutes: Students create their own high concept pitch – destilling their startup vision into a single phrase of sentence. The importance of a high concept pitch: how is anybody going to tell anybode about your product if you can’t describe it in a few words? It is crucial to have an easy high concept pitch so that people will spread your message for you..
  • Enabling people to very quickly understand the concept of the product.. by mentioning similar products and thereby providing a frame of reference… It is very common in the movie industry that instead of explaining all the details of a new movie concept you can just say that is like a combination of two well known movies or a twist of another well known movie “Jaws in space = Aliens It’s getting more popular to do the same for tech companies… like Flickr for video = Youtube *see if you can get the students to guess the answers of those..
  • Try to incorporate a bit of storytelling in your pitch – tell the jury a good example of how the problem affects the user today and how you can solve this problem and improve the user’s life quality.. Stories are very powerful when you want to move the audience and make them remember your presentation.   *show video with Jeff Hoffman about being disciplined
  • When you have created your pitch you need to practice – run it through several times and get feedback from your team and maybe also from your buddy team. You only have a short time to present so make sure to practice how to stay within the time limit.
  • Emphasize how important it is to keep the slides simple – don’t put a lot of text on them.. The audience can read the slides faster than you can talk! You want the focus to be on you as the presenter, not on the slides.. Don’t have the slides be your speaker notes, that’s not the point with visual aids, the slides should only help the audience remember your talk.. Be as visual as possible (use pictures instead of words)
  • When it comes to structuring your pitch we recommend that you use the fish template to build a good storyline. Start out strong by addressing the problem you want to solve and make sure to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the user and the context of the problem.   Then you explain your solution in short and precise terms – do not go into too many technical details to begin with, just focus on explaining the value proposition for the user and how it works. “ bite into the viewer” = capture the audience “ fill the belly” add information about your solution “ strong flick of the tail” end of in a way that will make the jury remember your presentation
  • Okay time is running out and it’s time for you to get started – just keep it short, sweet and simple and you will be just fine. Good luck with your pitch!  
  • Transcript

    • 1. ? Where Structure?What? y? How? Deliver By Henrik Scheel www.startupexperience.com
    • 2. l if e O UR ler of Y etraiTh
    • 3. Elevator Pitch
    • 4. Entrepreneurs are always pitching
    • 5. erc is eEx
    • 6. e time to write you“I d idn’t hav rote you short lette r – so I wa a long one…” Mark Twain Famous American writer
    • 7. The tasks to master Prototype Prototype Prepare PreparePractice Practice Deliver Present
    • 8. Prototype Software demo Role-play Video Simple mock-up drawing
    • 9. ENERGY
    • 10. Content VS Delivery?
    • 11. ruc tureSt
    • 12. is eEx erc Mad libs for pitching My company, (Company name) is developing (a defined offering) to help (a targeted audience) (solve a problem) (with secret sauce)
    • 13. The high concept pitchA high concept pitch distills a startup’s vision into a single sentence. “Its Jaws in space!” (Alien) “Flickr for video.” (YouTube)
    • 14. g y tellin of stor tanceThe impor vid eo Jeff Hoffman – Be Disciplined
    • 15. PracticeTrain to stay within the time limit Ask your buddy team
    • 16. DOs and DON’Ts• Be ready to pitch in less than a minute• Don’t ask a VC to sign an NDA• Know your competition• Deliver significantly better value than your competitors• Pitch your team• Don’t overpromise• Ask for a realistic valuation
    • 17. Visual aids Fewer slides Fewer bullets Fewer words Font size +30 Be visualDon’t talk to your slides
    • 18. ng tm eeti ir s et the f 12 SLIDES! gIf you 5 important questions• Is your product a vitamin or a pain killer?• How well do you understand your user?• Who are your competitors?• Who do you have in your team?• How much do you need to raise and how far will it take you?
    • 19. Evaluation criteria lley I n Silicon Va• A team with exceptional people and strong expertise in the business area• Unique business proposals based on a real need, with a differentiated value proposition and the ability to address a large market• Innovative business models and/or technologies• A well defined going to market strategy
    • 20. odGo  lu ck Thanks Henrik Scheel henrik@startupxp.com www.startupexperience.com