How to Judge Startup Pitch Contests


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How to Judge Startup Pitch Contests

  1. 1. How to Judge a Startup Pitch Event David Teten // @dteten
  2. 2. Don’t Take Notes! Download detailed slides at:
  3. 3. Judging businesses on stage is a performance art.
  4. 4. Investment Search Process (# Companies) Angel groups using Gust[i] Typical entrepreneur Profiled initially 20,850 ~3-6 Target Selected 1,315 ~3 Met 1,047 NA Due diligence 577 2 Invested/launched 541 1 Deals as % targeted companies 33.5% (2.1% of submissions) 33% [i] Available at , as of twelve months ending March 17, 2010.
  5. 5. Based in part on VC Investment Risk Assessment Types Of Risk Risk Assessment Product risk • Does it work? Market risk • Adoption? • Size? • Timing? Competitive risk • Existing and potential competitors? Financing risk • Can the team raise money? Execution risk • Business development, operational and sales skills? Team risk • Breakup risk? Exit risk • Out of angel investors’ control
  6. 6.` Get the logistics right • Speak into the microphone. • Arrange screen so you can see it without pain. • Pick the seat by the moderator, and/or closest to the audience. • Research the audiences and the companies.
  7. 7. Master your elevator pitch. • Stage, focus, check size • Discuss your personal area of responsibility at the firm.
  8. 8. Choose and demonstrate a personality • Honest • Personable • Resourceful
  9. 9. Meet the players • Get the business cards / contact information for the other speakers, moderator, and sponsor From
  10. 10. It doesn’t matter what you say if you’re funny© 2016 David Teten. More at • Speak truth • Draw analogies • Use graphic language
  11. 11. Get emotional
  12. 12. Always be helpful • Make pivot suggestions • Talk about unsolved problems
  13. 13. Cold call the audience • Mention fellow judges • Mention the sponsor • Mention anyone in the audience
  14. 14. Further reading How to judge startups • 13328.asp • speaker-and-judges/ How to speak on a tech panel •
  15. 15. Further reading How to moderate a panel • • • • • • • How to be a great conference speaker • • • And many books on this topic available on Amazon
  16. 16. David Teten • Partner, ff Venture Capital, early-stage technology venture capital fund, one of the best performing seed- and early-stage venture capital firms in the U.S. • Previously serial entrepreneur and technology investment banker • Advised clients such as Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group, Icahn Enterprises, LLR Partners ($1.4b fund), Birch Hill Equity Partners (C$2B fund), and other institutional investors • Harvard MBA 1998, Yale BA, both with honors. • / @dteten
  17. 17. Any questions ? Sign up for updates: Twitter: @ffvc
  18. 18. Disclaimer © 2016 David Teten. More at A representative of ff Asset Management, LLC d/b/a ff Venture Capital (“ffVC”) is providing this presentation for informational purposes to the intended audience. Nothing in this presentation shall constitute an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security in any jurisdiction nor should anything in this presentation form the basis of, or be relied upon for, making any investment decision. Nothing in this presentation constitutes professional and/or financial advice of any kind (including business, employment, investment advisory, accounting, tax, and/or legal advice), nor does any information in this presentation constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto. This presentation and the information contained herein are provided “AS IS”. ffVC makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) with respect to the information contained herein (including, without limitation, information obtained from third parties) and expressly disclaims any liability based on or relating to the information contained in, or errors or omissions from, these materials; or based on or relating to the recipient’s use (or the use by any of its affiliates or representatives or any other person) of these materials; or based on any other written or oral communications transmitted to the recipient or any of its affiliates or representatives. ffVC undertakes no duty or obligation to update or revise the information contained in this presentation.