All the hard work you've done in the past couple of months, and you're now down to the most nerve-wrecking moment. All 10 minutes of it.
I've watched and judged hundreds of pitches, and pitched at competitions and to investors myself, so I know what you all are going through. Here are some key tips I thought I'd share!
Yeap. That's me.
1. Tell a story
I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times. However, what does that mean?
Imagine two people pitching the same idea:
Person 1 says: “Do you love to travel but struggle to track your logistics? If you struggle to track your logistics when you travel, use our app.”
Person 2 says: "Last December, my family and I went to Istanbul for the first time where we traveled to 3 cities. It was a beautiful country, and we enjoyed our time at each destination, but one thing that spoiled the trip was the logistics. We had a spreadsheet that tracked expenses, we kept a paper folder to track hotel bookings and itineraries, and each hop from point to point was troubled with anxiety.”
When you start with a story (and make it a personal one!), it helps you connect with your audience.
People are likelier to be able to picture themselves in that situation, and will likely nod their head relating to this.
As part of telling the story, make sure you highlight the pain, amplify it, then start to introduce your solution.
But don't spend too much time on your story at the expense of your actual pitch!
2. Make sure you highlight your traction and market insights
Anyone can talk about the market size, and how the TAM, SAM and SOM is a certain number. It's just statistics and research work.
But if you can tell us about the number of users or customers you have, the potential partners you've had meetings with, or even just the actual people on the street you've spoken to, it will really make your case stronger and your capabilities more credible!
3. Figure out the best way to showcase your prototype
If you have a prototype, take some screenshots or video and include it in your pitch slides.
If it's a physical product, you can also hold it up and show it. Do not dedicate more than 30 seconds to show your prototype!
But you can definitely put a placeholder during your pitch to say "We have built something, this is what it looks like, and we can show it to you later if you are interested".
4. Practice your pitch, then practice it again and again..
This is a no-brainer but I have to state it since many people don’t do this. It's awkward, especially if you have to rehearse in front of your friends, parents, or teachers. You may feel judged. But you know what's worse? NOT rehearsing, and then fumbling in front of more people.
There’s a misconception that you can wing it, or you can follow cue cards. You can use the slide as prompts if you need to, but it’s better you can do the pitch without your slides — then you’ll own your messaging. (P/s: Yes, if you do need cue cards, we won't stop you).
Please also make sure your slide deck is not overly wordy, as your audience will likely focus on reading rather than listening.
5. The Wildcard Question
Last year, our finalists were asked this - "Why are YOU the best person to solve this problem."
I don't know if this will be asked again this year, but I think it's still good for you to give this some serious thought.
What do you have that a 40 year old would not? Why should an investor give you USD 10,000 instead of an adult?
I would also recommend you watch this video: Watch this
Finally, here are some pitches you can check out!