Yours truly live on stage at LeWeb in Paris pitching “Gauss — The People Magnet” (Image CC @francois_tancre)
How to Pitch Your Startup
I see a lot of startup pitches and pitch decks. And most of them suck. So let me share some basic knowledge to help you avoid my rookie mistakes and to help you massively improve your pitch before you reach out to investors, before you start raising that funding round.
As you probably know, I’m passionate about pitching – because we SUCK at pitching here in Europe! So when the new Cologne-based incubator STARTPLATZ asked me if I would be interested in getting involved in a new program to help our regional startup entrepreneurs becoming better at pitching, I wasn’t hard to convince.
The Rhineland-Pitch is a pitch competition event held at STARTPLATZ every last Monday of each month that aims to heighten the quality of our regional startup pitches by providing intensive training to the applicant entrepreneurs and letting the winners pitch to a select and exclusive audience of entrepreneurs, press and investors.
A week in advance, all applicants get a one hour intensive crash course on pitching and after a rapid-fire elevator pitching session, the winners get an additional and immediate four hours of individual pitch training from yours truly.
At the end of the individual training sessions there’s immediately another selection process where the entrepreneurs present the pitch they’ve prepared and the best get invited to the Rheinland-Pitch event the following Monday.
So what do you win except for the glory? Well, a chance to pitch in front of and meet with investors, get critical feedback – AND a video of your final pitch to boot! (So you better make your performance count!)
And it’s all for free! So apply now for the next Rheinland-Pitch May 27th!
Pitchcademy is a new service that teaches you how to pitch like a pro. Record a video of your pitch directly in your browser, get reviewed and scored by a network of professional coaches within 24 hrs. Rinse, lather & repeat!
If you’re a startup entrepreneur, chances are you’ve already been to a lot of pitching events and you may even have pitched investors yourself already. You may have noticed that most pitches at these events – especially if you’re in Europe – suck!
Now take a minute and think about your own pitch: Are you completely confident that your pitch doesn’t suck? It’s always the others that suck – riiiiiiiiight?
Well, Francis Dierick and I certainly have made our fair share of bad pitches. We’ve been around. But along the way we picked up a couple of tricks on how to improve our pitches and learned a lot. At least enough to win several competitions and get invited to events as pitch coaches.
So we thought that we should share the secrets we picked up. We think everybody should have the chance to nail that perfect pitch. That’s why we decided to introduce Pitchcademy.
Pitchcademy teaches you how to pitch like a pro. Record a video of your pitch directly in your browser, get reviewed and scored by a network of professional coaches within 24 hrs. Rinse, lather & repeat! Try it now for free!
Oh, and this week I’m also in Stuttgart Nov 17-18 scaring the bejeezus out of young entrepreneurs coaching startups at Startup Weekend Stuttgart. See you there – And don’t forget to grab your ticket for Startup Weekend Cologne before we sell out too! :)
“Startup Weekend is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington, USA, that organizes 54-hour weekend events during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, and/or presentation by Sunday evening. Startup Weekend has grown into an organization with a global presence. As of October 2012, 672 events had been held, involving 57,000 entrepreneurs across more than 300 cities in over 100 countries, and over 5,000 startups have been created. The Kauffman Foundation, Google and Microsoft are sponsors.”
1.) It’s just a whole lot of damned good fun!
2.) SWAMS has got to be one of best Startup Weekends anywhere
3.) I recently founded Startup Weekend Cologne so I had to attend a Startup Weekend as a requirement – Stay tuned for more!
James Digby (@digbyj) kicking it all off:
Then the awesome legendary Steve Blank (@sgblank) made a cameo appearance and I just had to ask him if he invests in European startups – On which he retorted I should first take some of his classes. Hah, so we meet again, Steve! I think I’ll have to take you up on that one! :)
Easygiving.co winning the grand prize for thinking big; A non-profit charity where 100% of your donations go to the cause:
And of course I couldn’t help pitching myself and accidentally ended up winning the Startup Weekend Spirit award for our team http://lunchroulette.co for completely p0wning the judges and capturing the audience but also by telling the story of the learning made, how we invalidated the business model of some other guy’s idea I had originally joined, how the team then collapsed and the idea owner going home, leaving us basically a couple of hours on the last day to come up with this.
Almost exactly one year after i presented Lunch Roulette at Startup Weekend Amsterdam, I was visiting the new Facebook HQ in Menlo Park and found out that they had implemented some of the ideas for their staff internally.
Hah! Even the logo looked uncannily familiar! I’ll take that as validation, thank you.
See for yourself:
Internal Facebook memo on the wall at the HQ in Menlo Park, June 2013.