Over the last few months, as part of our ‘Pitch Perfect’ series, we have brought you a number of insider tips and tricks to help you on your way to pitching victory.
Whilst we hope these resources will prove to be useful – and something you can refer back to time and time again (hit that bookmark button stat!) – we know there is nothing like seeing a successful pitch yourself to learn from and be inspired by.
And yet, for most entrepreneurs, the first pitch they are ever privy to is their own. (Or the car crash collection from the latest Apprentice candidates.)
With this in mind, we have pulled together some of the most inspiring startup pitches to guide you in your own quest for success. All of these entrepreneurs help bring the abstract to reality and show what a great pitch looks like. No half-baked ideas or cheesy one-liners here (nudge nudge, Lord Sugar).
For further ideas on how to deliver a knockout pitch, have you read Pitch Perfect (Part One): How to Create a Successful Sales Pitch; Pitch Perfect (Part Two): How to Give an Inspiring Investment Pitch; and Pitch Perfect (Part Three): How to Secure Media Coverage for Your Startup?
Perfect Pitch #1: That’s Suspicious Behaviour
TSB is a mobile app that helps people report suspicious behaviour and unusual activity in their neighbourhood. At the start of the pitch, founder Brigette Kidd requests to see a show of hands in answer to the question, “Have you ever heard of Neighbourhood Watch?”. When she follows this up by asking the audience to “Keep your hands up if you’ve ever used it” (most hands are lowered), she has – 30 seconds in – ticked two of the major aims of a pitch: she has set out the problem she is trying to solve, and she also has a captive audience. With their full attention earned, Kidd is then able to expand on the issues at hand, before going on to present her solution.
Kidd’s pitch works because she gets the audience on side: she appeals to them on an emotional level but does not lose sight of the details she needs to cover. She maintains her energy and enthusiasm throughout – even including some well-thought through humour at the appropriate moment – but does not allow her personality to outshine her product. Little wonder that TSB won ‘Best Presentation’ at the LAUNCH Festival and secured a $50,000 investment from MailChimp.
Takeaway lesson: Grab the attention of the audience from the word go and you’ve won half the battle. Ensure your pitch will keep a captive audience attentive with appropriate humour and ongoing energy.
Perfect Pitch #2: Yext
Watch the pitch that earned Yext $25 million: www.ustream.tv/recorded/2163590
In this pitch, Howard Lerman of Yext – a pay-per-action phone call service – uses a story to illustrate how his company will help local businesses who would prefer “calls, not clicks” (catchy and memorable). Having set up the ‘why’, he goes on to illustrate the ‘what’ by telling the story of Frank’s auto-repair in Alaska. Lerman shows how Frank can customise his profile to receive only relevant calls, and then does a live demonstration using information the audience has decided on.
Lerman’s pitch works because he shows how Yext plans to solve a problem. His demonstration brings the business to life, showing how the idea realises itself in the real world. By involving the audience directly in this (asking them what information to ring Frank’s auto-repair about), Lerman cleverly captures their interest as they await to see if it really will work.
Takeaway lesson: Show, don’t tell, how your product or service works. Use a story to bring the problem – and your solution – to life.
Perfect Pitch #3: SoMoLend
For serious inspiration, look no further than Candace Klein. As the founder of SoMoLend – a web and mobile-based peer-to-peer lending platform – she has raised over $1.2 million in cash prizes from 27 pitching competitions. The secret of her success is her ability to outline a problem, then sell her solution and competitive advantage, leaving the audience in no doubt about what her company does and what issue it solves.
Klein’s pitch particularly works because she is in complete control of her presentation. There is no question that she cannot answer about her business, industry and competitors, and she is able to recite information – with passion and accuracy – at the drop of a hat. By using phrases such as “for the first time ever”, she excites the audience about what is new and different, and her closing statement, in which she addresses the specific groups she is targeting, is especially clever.
Takeaway lesson: Know your material like the back of your hand and deliver this with confidence. Finish your pitch strongly and sum up who should invest, and why.
To put your pitching skills to practice, why not launch a crowdfunding campaign – a wonderful way to spread the word about your startup. Crowdfund Campus’ live domain and Sandpit platforms both provide safe environments in which to launch your business. Contact us today to find out more and book a free demonstration.