Are pitch events eating your brain?

Startup pitch events are an important way to hear about other businesses and learn how to talk about your work, but many events could be improved by a little preparation.

Too many events have judges who haven’t taken the time to learn about the startups they are judging. This could be because the organizer didn’t send any information before the event, or because the judges didn’t put the effort in beforehand. Whatever it is, it happens too often.

That means that it’s up to the startup pitching to use a format to make it easy for the judges to quickly understand their work. You can’t affect the experience the judges have in your area of focus, but you can at least make it easy for them.

At a recent event, one pitch I heard recently was for I thought a spectacular product. They guy had already talked to customers, made a prototype and had a business model that I liked. He just needed to express that simply. Combined with a judge who who didn’t understand the industry and focused on one small point of the entrepreneur’s plan, the communication broke down. It looked like the worst pitch of that night, but I think it was really the best business.

Meanwhile, the best pitch that night was from a startup that had not yet been formed. No real work had been done, it was just at the concept stage. 

The world is not a pitch event but it is valuable knowing how to maneuver in that environment. So whenever you attend a pitch event, learn from the presenters. And whenever you’re there to pitch, assume that you need to educate the audience a little.