I had the pleasure of being part of yesterday’s CN Tower tech entrepreneur elevator pitch event: The Startup Festival Elevator World Tour. What a great event it was! And the pitches were done in THE most impressive elevator in North America – with over 350 attendees, 100 pitches, 12 elevator judges and the Nulman Duo (father and son, Andy and Aiden) doing the thing only the Nulman know how to do.
A question that kept coming up was: “So, what’s the best Elevator Pitch?” And truth be told, the best elevator pitch is the pitch that gets you that second meeting, the one you need and want! It’s the pitch that helps build a relationship with your interlocutor. The one that creates a “connection” between you and the person you are pitching to. That’s the best elevator pitch!
Obviously, some people are way more agile and comfortable pitching to people they don’t know, as easily as they are telling the story to someone they know intimately. Have you ever heard our Venture Partner and EiR Patrick Lor pitch? He is amazing, he gets to the core of the message extremely fast and efficiently and he gathers interest in a blink of an eye and quickly connects with his interlocutors. He has the ability to pick up someone else’s story, drill down to what’s important, what really matters, and within minutes, Pat regurgitates a business pitch better than the original one! That type of skill set isn’t given to everybody and most of us must really work hard and repeatedly understanding what really needs to be shared, at what stage and how to share it while in a more comprehensive “story-telling” format.
But when you are in an elevator, with two camera crews, two investors, a by-stander and 58 seconds to pitch there isn’t much room to “story-tell” so it’s important to come across with the right level of detail, but not to enough to drown your interlocutor, and the key elements that will capture his or her imagination.
Here are a few key elements that should come across:
1. Skip the kind intros, jump into the heart of your pitch;
2. What are you offering? Describe the product or service;
3. What is the obvious pain or huge opportunity you are addressing;
4. Why this matters and who will pay money for it (business model);
5. If you have traction (customers) now is the time to name drop;
6. A 2-liner on what makes your team amazing;
7. Closing remarks. Answer the question: “Where is the magic?”
* Obviously, knowing who you are pitching to helps. By doing so, the inside knowledge or intimate understanding of what makes your interlocutor tick, allows you to instantly focus on the right interest cords. Knowing who you are pitching to basically increases your chances of building trust and interest quickly.
Of the 100 pitches, 6 finalists chosen by the elevator judges came up on stage and did a second pitch to the full crowd who then choose the best pitch of the day. The finalist were:
And I must admit, the winner, which was chosen by the crowd voting via SMS, did a fantastic job and simply nailed it in 40 seconds: Mejuri
At the end of the day, everybody should have a strong, clear pitch and should ready to share it at any moment. This pitch should be shared with your employees, investors, partners, clients, distributors, the pitch should be part of how you introduce your company.
Congrats to the Entrepreneurs, and a big thank you to Microsoft and the other #StartupFest sponsors, as well as to Phil Telio and his team, for a wonderful and utmost valuable event.
Check out Rob Lewis blog post on Techvibes: The International Startup Festival Brings New Meaning to ‘Elevator Pitch’ with World Tour
And don’t forget to register for the Startup Festival 2013 event, July 10-12th in Montreal.