11 point plan for a killer startup pitch (it’s not a TEDx talk)

Richard Lucas April 2017
I received this e-mail a few weeks ago from the organisers of a business plan pitching competition.

Request for help

“Dear startup pitching competition organiser.
My first reaction is  “NOOOOOOOOO”
“I’m too busy. My TEDxKazimierz event is only three weeks away.     There is a lot of great advice on how to pitch available on this top secret website here 

Having said that it’s good to ask for advice. I shouldn’t be too harsh,  I will share my thoughts in a blog post that is available to everyone, based on the hundreds if not thousands of pitches I’ve seen and read and the thousands of hours I’ve devoted to TED and TEDx – in recent years helping many TEDx speakers prepare “the talk of their lives”.

TEDx talks have only some things common with pitching.  Almost always TEDx talks are about an idea, and cover
Why the idea matters to the speaker.
Why the idea might matter to the participants in the event and those viewing on line.
Why the speaker is the (or one of the ) right person/people to talk about the idea.
A call to action – what the speaker wants to audience to do about their idea.
TEDx talk are short, up to 18 minutes. A pitch will often be shorter. No selling is allowed in a TEDx talk though some might argue speakers are “selling” their ideas. There is a lot of information on the TED.com web site here about preparing a TEDx talk. One of the reasons TED and TEDx are so successful  is that we pay so much attention to ‘speaker prep’.
TEDx-s  invest far more time in speaker preparation than any other event  I’ve ever been involved in or heard about.
For those preparing to pitch in Startup Competition, here is some general advice based on my experience. I may be wrong. There are other approaches which for sure have worked.

This is just my take (after nearly drowning in smug patronising BS and often laziness).

In general, your pitch should be grounded in terms of facts: supported by evidence, not your assumptions and beliefs.

Be respectful of your audience’s time and intelligence., Don’t waste their time with information that is not relevant. Don’t think you can BS them.

Do present your data in a way that would be acceptable to a school teacher (cite data sources , don’t show graphs with no axes, give time series and trends).   Showing unlabelled graphs showing exponential growth gives the impression you think the judges are stupid.

Know your numbers.  Be ready with answers to questions like “what do you value your business at” and “what will you do with the money if we invest”. Here are 11 points that make a good pitch for me.

  1.  Start with the problem your products or service solves. Imagine your product is a pain killer. What pain is it helping to kill.  Why is the product or service significant.
  2.  Explain why this matters (not to you, but the clients) and how big the problem/market is locally, nationally and globally.
  3. Give information about sales/clients, (or potential clients you have talked to if you product is not yet shipping) suggesting or proving that clients will buy your (proposed) solution.
  4. talk about markets and clients – say something intelligent about the types of clients you expect to have, which clients are priorities and why.
  5. Describe your business model. How much your product/service costs to make, and how much you are going to sell it for, and how much money you expect to make out of each type of client (estimated life time value of a client). If you don’t know, estimate it or make a comment about it and share your assumptions. “once we have traffic and users we will figure it out” is not impressive.
  6. Describe your sales and marketing processes (how you get your clients, how much it costs you to get clients (cost of client acquisition). If you don’t know estimate it, make a comment about it, show you know that this issue matters.
  7. Competitive landscape (after doing Google research in English) who are your competitors and potential competitors, who are key players in the “Eco System” of your market  and what your advantages are (cost, technology, business model, approach).  It makes you look lazy and ridiculous if a judge finds a competitor you are not aware of by searching on his/her phone while you are presenting.
  8. talk about what you believe are barriers to entry (what Warren Buffett calls “moats”) that make it hard for other companies to copy you or enter your market if you start succeeding.
  9. How will have sustain your competitive advantage over time.  what do you have in terms of cost, technology, business model, approach, or people that will keep you ahead.
  10. Give information about your team, leadership and ownership. What makes them the right people. Who – if any – of your team is being paid,  what your monthly outgoings are, and how you expect to retain and attract talent.  If you have gaps in your team, be upfront. If you haven’t found a CTO yet, you probably shouldn’t be pitching, unless it is a competition where your goal is to find one.
  11. End games/exits. If things work out, what options will investors have for getting a return on their money.
Hope this helps.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 comments on “11 point plan for a killer startup pitch (it’s not a TEDx talk)

  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Valuable posts. Appreciate it!
    comprar cialis sin receta en barcelona
    cialis generic
    farmacia comprar cialis
    [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cialis 20mg[/url]

  2. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Cheers! Helpful information!
    what can increase the effects of cialis buy cialis online cialis tilbud [url=http://cialismsnrx.com/]cialis generic[/url]
    que es cialis y como funciona
    cialis and hip pain
    is it ok to cut a cialis in half
    ou trouver du cialis en pharmacie
    cialis durata 36 ore
    different cialis doses

  3. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks. A lot of information!

    para comprar cialis necesito receta medica en mexico cialis online cialis et mal au dos [url=http://cialismsnrx.com/]generic cialis[/url]
    harga cialis tablet
    cialis 2 volte a settimana
    cialis plane
    posologia cialis 5 mg
    effets du cialis a long terme
    disfunção erétil cialis

  4. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Kudos. Great stuff.
    taking cialis when not needed cialis online cialis drops blood pressure [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cheap cialis[/url]
    cialis dosering flashback
    cialis holland preise
    cialis hipertension
    achat cialis en france livraison rapide
    cialis pay by paypal
    cialis o levitra quale il migliore

  5. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    With thanks, Fantastic information.
    daily cialis blood pressure cialis 20 mg cuanto tiempo dura el tratamiento con cialis [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cialis without a doctor prescription[/url]
    le cialis ou viagra
    pmp steroids cialis 10
    cialis 5 mg cp pellic
    cialis con alcool
    cialis varje dag
    cons of taking cialis

  6. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You mentioned it terrifically.
    tempo cialis faz efeito cialis 20 mg cialis how many can you take [url=http://cialispego.com/]cialis 20mg[/url]
    comprare cialis in rete
    can you take cialis and antibiotics
    prostate removal and cialis
    como funciona el cialis de 5mg
    cialis in uae
    melange cialis et levitra

  7. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Superb information. With thanks!
    cialis blurry vision cialis 20 mg site pour acheter cialis generique [url=http://cialismsnntx.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    kebaikan cialis
    cialis kaufen ohne rezept erfahrungen
    how much is cialis in usa
    quel risque de prendre du cialis
    effet indГ©sirables du cialis
    cialis 5mg manipulado

  8. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  9. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Kudos! A good amount of posts.

    cialis caixa cialis 20 mg cheap cialis from mexico [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cialis generic[/url]
    who manufactures generic cialis
    gde kupiti cialis u srbiji
    cialis generico esiste
    cialis angebot
    can you take alcohol with cialis
    cialis lilly miglior prezzo

  10. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks a lot, Plenty of information!

    quando cialis non funziona cialis without a doctor prescription viagra cialis ro [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cialis 20mg[/url]
    cialis componenti
    crushing cialis tablets
    come tagliare cialis
    cialis copies
    my husband uses cialis
    cialis forme farmaceutiche

  11. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Very well expressed truly. !
    cialis lowest prices generic cialis what is the typical dosage of cialis [url=http://cialismsnntx.com/]cialis 20mg[/url]
    cialis in san jose costa rica
    cialis structural formula
    pastilla cialis en similares
    cialis online san marino
    preis cialis 5mg schweiz
    does cialis elevate psa

  12. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    With thanks. I enjoy it!
    puedo mezclar cialis con alcohol cialis generic geneerinen cialis kokemuksia [url=http://cialispego.com/]cialis without a doctor prescription[/url]
    maximum daily dosage of cialis
    cialis super active flashback
    cialis da 5 mg forum
    generico do cialis na ultrafarma
    my cialis stopped working
    che scadenza ha il cialis

  13. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Many thanks. Terrific information.
    online pharmacy for cialis review generic cialis cialis e cardiopatia [url=http://cialismsnrx.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    precio de pastillas cialis en mexico
    side effects from taking cialis
    cialis czy na receptД™
    cialis sofort bestellen
    cialis 20 mg muskelschmerzen
    cialis femminile

  14. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You revealed that effectively.
    can i take viagra and cialis together cheap cialis need help paying for cialis [url=http://cialismsnntx.com/]cialis online[/url]
    viagra vs cialis comparison
    cialis super active plus
    cialis for lungs
    best online sites to buy cialis
    cialis tempo antes
    generic cialis for sale

  15. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Kudos, An abundance of knowledge!

    buying cialis cheap cialis generic ya existe cialis generico [url=http://cialismsnntx.com/]cialis 20 mg[/url]
    hur mycket cialis kan man ta
    cialis information en francais
    cialis 5 mg preiswert kaufen
    le cialis est il en vente libre aux usa
    cialis au maroc
    cialis einzeln kaufen

  16. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Lovely information. Many thanks!
    comprar cialis online usa buy cialis online cialis vigo [url=http://cialispego.com/]generic cialis[/url]
    cherche cialis
    cialis pris i sverige
    cialis periodo refrattario
    potenzmittel levitra oder cialis
    medicament cialis pret
    cialis ungesund

  17. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You definitely made your point!
    comprare cialis in egitto cheap cialis cialis cause joint pain [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cialis 20 mg[/url]
    cialis shoulder pain
    taking 2 cialis pills
    daily cialis plus viagra
    levitra viagra cialis vergleich
    nombre generico cialis mexico
    viagra cialis nebenwirkungen

  18. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  19. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Reliable facts. Kudos!
    cialis daily use does it work generic cialis cost cialis cvs [url=http://cialismsnntx.com/]generic cialis[/url]
    lowest price for cialis
    cialis c 10
    cialis price in south africa
    duree efficacitГ© cialis
    comprar cialis en farmacia en espaГ±a
    woman in cialis commercials

  20. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You suggested this wonderfully.
    what type of medicine is cialis cialis 20mg cialis 5 mg 84 stk [url=http://cialisttk.com/]generic cialis[/url]
    when to take 5mg cialis
    viagra cialis confronto
    cialis 5mg filmtabletten 28 st
    potenzmittel cialis kaufen
    cialis slobodna prodaja
    cialis 20mg filmtabletten 28 stГјck

  21. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Whoa a good deal of good tips.
    cialis and severe back pain cialis without a doctor prescription tips when taking cialis [url=http://cialisttk.com/]cialis without a doctor prescription[/url]
    mejor precio cialis
    interaction cialis beta blockers
    cialis trial samples
    side effects cialis daily use
    que choisir entre viagra et cialis
    cialis chemotherapy

  22. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Factor very well considered..
    effectiveness of daily cialis cialis without a doctor prescription cialis da 5 non funziona [url=http://cialismsnrx.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    wellbutrin and cialis
    cialis kod mladih
    is it safe to take viagra with cialis
    viagra czy cialis co lepsze
    que es la pastilla cialis
    somministrazione cialis 20 mg

  23. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  24. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  25. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  26. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You actually stated it really well.
    medicamento similar ao cialis cialis generic ГЁ piu forte il viagra o il cialis [url=http://cialismsnrx.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    cialis notizie
    cialis urinary retention
    esiste il cialis da 40 mg
    cialis rode ogen
    unicure remedies cialis
    cialis uk delivery

  27. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thank you. Awesome stuff!
    cialis taquicardia cialis 20 mg who is the woman tennis player in the cialis commercial [url=http://cialismsnntx.com/]cialis 20mg[/url]
    buy cialis professional online
    get cialis toronto
    cialis cholesterin
    cialis see alice
    cialis online da 5 mg
    viagra o cialis cual es mejor

  28. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Amazing a lot of superb material.
    usare troppo cialis cialis online cialis bladder control [url=http://cialispego.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    cialis preis in polen
    cual es mejor viagra cialis levitra
    cialis online from india
    cialis femme enceinte
    que efectos tiene la pastilla cialis
    yellow cialis pill

  29. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Nicely put, Thanks.
    cialis and atripla buy cialis online combine cialis and levitra [url=http://cialispego.com/]cialis without a doctor prescription[/url]
    le prix du cialis 5mg
    cialis for use as needed
    cialis comment utiliser
    qual o melhor viagra cialis
    cialis pris thailand
    se puede mezclar priligy y cialis

  30. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You said it very well..
    taking liquid cialis buy cialis online cialis peak plasma levels [url=http://cialisttk.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    cialis kijiji toronto
    cialis apotheke kaufen
    cialis type 2 diabetes
    online apotheke schweiz cialis
    how can i get prescribed cialis
    cialis y anestesia

  31. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  32. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks! I appreciate it.
    medikament preis cialis 20mg cialis 20mg cialis vs viagra strength [url=http://cialispego.com/]cialis 20 mg[/url]
    can you alternate viagra and cialis
    cialis other uses
    cialis legs pain
    quem fabrica o cialis
    gibt es generika fГјr cialis
    es necesario receta medica para comprar cialis

  33. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  34. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks a lot. Ample posts.

    review cialis for daily use buy cialis online cialis online bestellen legal [url=http://cialispego.com/]cialis generic[/url]
    forum acheter cialis
    oxido nitrico cialis
    ist cialis in deutschland rezeptpflichtig
    cialis aus spaГџ
    cialis nГЈo precisa de receita
    cialis and optic nerve

  35. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
  36. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Truly a good deal of awesome tips.
    cialis side effects forum generic cialis farmacie italiane cialis generico [url=http://cialispego.com/]cheap cialis[/url]
    que es mejor la cialis o levitra
    şahan gökbakar cialis reklamları
    aglio e cialis
    is it ok to take tylenol with cialis
    sirve el cialis generico
    cialis oryginalny tanio

  37. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Kudos, Excellent stuff!
    cialis prescription information cialis without a doctor prescription cialis generico guadalajara jalisco [url=http://cialisttk.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    cialis 5 mg come usarlo
    dove comprare cialis online sicuro forum
    cialis daily low dose
    arnaque cialis internet
    cialis uk best price
    que es mas potente cialis o levitra

  38. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    This is nicely said. .
    cialis seguridad social cialis 20 mg cialis vs viagra en espanol [url=http://cialispego.com/]buy cialis online[/url]
    cialis kecskemГ©t
    cialis ankle swelling
    can i take cialis and flomax together
    comprar cialis contrareembolso
    cialis brugada
    bodybuilding forums cialis

  39. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Wow a lot of amazing data!
    what dose of cialis is best cialis online cialis potenzmittel erfahrungen [url=http://cialismsnrx.com/]cialis 20mg[/url]
    cialis soft 10mg
    cialis mantiene la ereccion
    dove comprare il cialis a roma
    cost of cialis costco
    kann man cialis levitra kombinieren
    medecins online acheter cialis