After getting a glimpse into the impressive world of Techstars at their Demo Day on September 9, we were intrigued to hear what their feedback would be when eleven CEOs at Denver Startup Week pitched to them. Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, meant to showcase downtown Denver’s thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The fourth annual Denver Startup Week had over 10,000 attendees across 235 programs aimed at helping people succeed in starting and growing a business in Denver.
The R&R Partners team was lucky enough to register early and get there early for good seats to watch two week old businesses to well-established startups present in front of Techstars, an accelerator program notorious for producing successful startups. The eleven performances were honed through vigorous, candid, and extremely valuable “pitch practice.” The insightful feedback provided is recapped below and can be applied to any industry, any position, and for any public speaking event.
- Have a strong intro that captures everyone’s attention and curiosity
- Simplify what you’re saying but don’t use vague words
- Simplify technical language or give real life/relatable examples if your audience isn’t on the same technical level
- Make sure to state your key differentiator(s) in 2-3 sentences
- Research the audience in advance to help predict the questions they might have so you can answer along the way
- Even if you’re a comfortable presenter, practice it 25x
- Story telling helps people who are not close to the product/industry relate to or understand in easier terms
- Make sure the story line has structure and isn’t jumping around; don’t go off on a tangent
- Speak to the whole room vs. the few decision makers
- Notes – don’t make a scene trying to find where you should be in your notes or swiping/flipping through and don’t read directly from notes
- Don’t keep the most important facts/statements until the end incase key people need to leave early or you meet your time limit
- Have “crisp” answers to questions that show you know your industry and understood the question vs. over explaining
Assistant Media Planner/Buyer Katie Fischer co-authored this article.