Startups want to launch with a bang, and what better way than to launch in front of 500+ entrepreneurs, students, and startup community members? Attendees may not realize what goes into each Technori Pitch, and startups who are thinking about doing it have reached out to me asking: What exactly goes into a Pitch? Is it worth doing?
My startup, matchist, launched last month at the October Technori Pitch. Since our target market is entrepreneurs and developers, we could not imagine a more qualified audience for the launch. You can see the matchist pitch here. Now I’m here to answer your burning questions:
How long did it take to write your pitch?
The first time around, I wrote the pitch in about an hour and matchist Co-founder Tim Jahn made the slides (probably another hour or so). After some revisions, we practiced individually and got together to practice for a few hours about a week before the event.
There is a mandatory session for all teams presenting about a week before the event, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We arrived on Tuesday night at Catapult and listened to Brian Burkhart of Square Planet talk about what makes for a great pitch. Then, all of the participating teams pitched in front of each other and we critiqued each other. Now, I thought our pitch was awesome, but Brian tore it apart and made us realize that it was, well, crappy. He and the other teams gave us great feedback, and we left the session energized and ready to rewrite our pitch.
The second time around, with a clearer idea of what our pitch should be, it took only about an hour or two to re-do everything. I can’t stress how valuable it was to get critical feedback on our initial pitch. We were so entrenched in the story that we didn’t realize we were missing the whole point of our pitch and not being totally genuine in the process. Brian’s critique was a game changer.
Did you have your pitch memorized? How long did you practice?
Tim and I practiced individually and met up a couple of hours before to practice together (disclaimer: we both have a lot of experience and enjoy public speaking). I memorized my portion for the most part, while Tim’s style is more laid back. Do what works for you!
Were you nervous during the pitch? Was it hard to answer questions in real time on stage?
No! It was a blast! The audience picked up on our jokes and seemed to be emanating energy as well as support. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to know the questions/reservations people have about your business. So those real-time questions are not scary at all. In fact, we have answers to them that we could recite in our sleep. While it may seem unpredictable, you really know what people are going to ask (otherwise you shouldn’t be pitching your business!).
What happened after the event?
We hung out for a while and got some business cards from folks interested in the business. It was less interest initially than we had hoped.
Were the other teams competitive?
One of my favorite parts of this experience is the feeling of family you get with the other startups presenting. We’re all on the same team and instead of being competitive, we all rooted for each other and cheered during the presentation. Maybe it’s a Chicago thing, but we definitely felt and still feel a connection with the people who went through the experience together.
What was the ROI?
It’s a bit early to get an exact revenue number (our sales cycle is longer than 3 weeks), but we can attribute about 3 developer signups and 5 client signups to Technori Pitch. I’m sure signups from Pitch will continue to trickle in since not all entrepreneurs need a developer right then and there. I’d say it was definitely worth it, considering how much work we put in.