Pitching is a form of art. While some love it, others start to sweat just hearing the word. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to pitch at the drop of a hat; during a networking event, your neighbour’s BBQ party or, yes, in an elevator. You never know who you’ll meet there and how they might be able to turbocharge your business.
After two weeks of validating and pressure testing ideas during the bootcamp, the SheStarts founders pitched to an impressive judging panel, consisting of the BlueChilli leadership team and representatives from the SheStarts corporate partners – some of the most senior executives in Australia. The founders had 5 minutes to communicate their vision, the opportunity and their solution. The stakes were high, with $100,000 in pre-seed funding, access to BlueChilli’s 8-month accelerator program and the opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking documentary web series on the table. Looking back on their experience, Lauren Meyer from Shark Share Global and Xiao Han Drummond from Refni shared with us their insights on how they kept their cool before the big day.
What do you need to deliver a great pitch?
Founder of Refni, Xiao Han focused on two key things to make sure she was prepared for her pitch….
“This is the actual content of your pitch, such as graphs, tables, designs. You need to find quality data and do proper research (primary over secondary) and analysis to show you know what you are talking about. For things you don’t know – point them out, particularly any risks and potential blind spots. I used a number of templates to help order my slides and make sure I covered the key points.”
When you do a pitch, you need people to understand where you are coming from, how you landed this idea and why you’ve decided to pursue this idea.
“For the SheStarts pitch, I realised there were 2-3 key events in my life that really changed me, and edged me toward creating Refni. I ended up starting and ending my pitch using two of these stories to connect with my audience and to remind them of Refni’s overall social mission.”
Co-founder of Shark Share Global, Lauren had to pitch alone as her co-founder, Madi, had just left for a 2-month voyage to Antarctica as a part of her research project. Whereas the similarities between being a scientist and a co-founder might not be be apparent to everyone, Lauren told us her scientific background helped significantly when preparing for her SheStarts pitch:
“Fortunately, as a research scientist we get to practice presenting to an audience all the time. Pitching a business to investors and presenting new research at a conference is not all that dissimilar. You have a short amount of time to convey your work, and the key is to be engaging. Presenters get easily bogged down with minute details and numbers, but forget that they are sharing an idea with people.
Before any presentation, I take a step back and remember why I truly love my research, or in this case, my product. This way, when I start pitching, what comes through is my passion and excitement for my work, and this becomes contagious. This will naturally translate into a captivating and confident presentation, and your enthusiasm will resonate, regardless of the audience.
“Pitches and scientific presentations are also about opening the door for discussing your work. By engaging with a level of relatable enthusiasm, people will naturally want to share in what you are doing. This encourages open dialogue, which is key, and may provide a second chance during the question time if you miss an aspect of the pitch delivery.”
For more tips on pitching, check out this blog.