Tips for companies making a 15 minute pitch

By April 28, 2010Uncategorized

I have been listening to 15 min startup pitches at the UK and Ireland Tech Tour for most of yesterday and some of the presentations were better than others. Below are some observations on what made I thought characterised some of the good ones and some of the bad ones.

Before I get onto that I want to comment on 15 minute pitches generally. They are a format beloved of investor events and conferences generally, but often disliked by entrepreneurs. Investors like them because they can see four companies in an hour and if you come to one that doesn’t fit your focus you don’t have to wait too long for the next one. Entrepreneurs are less enamoured because it can be hard to fully explain a business in fifteen minutes. I think the trick is to treat the sessions as opportunities to whet the appetite of VCs rather than make a complete case for your business. Give enough facts to demonstrate the excitement and address the most obvious concerns and then leave it there.

Things the good presenters did:
– Get up and move around
– Be funny
– Be interactive
– Do something cool – e.g. one got an iPad out, which is still retry unusual in Europe
– Be lively
– Use pictures
– Tell a story
– Be specific and avoid broad brush generalisations, particularly about 
your market – success in startup land is about doing one thing well
– show their company has momentum
– Don’t read from the slides
– Don’t say ‘umm’ too much

that said the most important thing by far is to have a great business!

  • RichardForster

    if Disqus had a like this button, I'd “like” this post.

  • Thanks. I will get the Facebook 'like' button on here soon

  • “can be hard to fully explain a business in fifteen minutes. I think the trick is to treat the sessions as opportunities to whet the appetite of VCs rather than make a complete case for your business. Give enough facts to demonstrate the excitement and address the most obvious concerns and then leave it there.”

    – That is sales. It think, isn't it always sort of sales? Selling your dream. And a great sales guy is a great narrator, capturing peoples attention. My father is great at that!
    – Thus, I would move 'tell a story' more up to the top, especially begin your pitch with a little story. Why did you made the product. Funny story about the eureka moment or the founders. Recent customer story to highlight the problem(s) you are solving.

    It is the lube for the slides afterwards, it's more pleasurable; the charts, the mind maps, numbers, competitors, outlook. It tends to fit better and doesn't seem thrown together.

    my two cent.

  • I agree Michael, and might take your comment and others to write a fuller post on this topic.

  • Don't forget to include related posts from others (ie cdixon, bfeld, avc, hornik (ventureblog)). Will get you some RTs.