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Elevator pitch case studies: 5 examples to learn from

Pitches are nerve-wracking. The perfect pitch would probably have the ability to “plant ideas” like Leonardo DiCaprio does in Inception. Sadly we don’t live in a Christopher Nolan directed reality. We do however live in a world where we can learn from other people’s success.

Having a good concept is one thing. Having to present that concept another. Especially if you’re seeking funding. The elevator pitch is all about getting your startup’s concept to your audience as simple and coherent as possible. It’s like having to paint a picture with a 140 character limit.

Being concise is vital. As Developer Advocate for Google, Don Dodge says, you should explain the problem you’re solving as clearly as possible. Think about how it relates to your audience or why it would be relevant to them. Remember balance — too much detail and being too vague are equally bad. Open with a catch phrase or an interesting stat. You should be able to answer who, what, why, where and how without your audience asking the questions.

The audience needs to identify with your problem — it establishes a sense of value. As Dodge says, “If they’re not interested in the problem you’re solving, they’re not interested in your solution either.” By engaging with the audience through questions for example, you establish a relationship where they can relate to what you are saying, and get a sense of value out of your proposed solution.

Being natural is often overlooked. Your audience knows you’re human so don’t try and convince them otherwise. Don’t use fancy jargon or acronyms. They don’t care how smart you are. By practising, you can also make your presentation seem more natural. If you can create some context using a real life example, your audience can readily relate to the issue. Show off your drive or passion for the solution you’re presenting.

Yes, the situation varies according to event or audience. The trick, I believe, is using and understanding your presentation skills in order to balance out your own and your startup’s strengths and weaknesses.

Impressions are important. Give the audience something that will stick with them like a shocking statistic that relates to them. Some entrepreneurs take it to the extreme — see the video in the gallery where someone presents wearing a Borat-style swimsuit. Sometimes a shock factor is a good thing, but other times it may not be — again, consider your audience.

First impressions

This pitch by Vizify tells us that “first impressions drive outcomes.” The introduction of the speech sets out to gain a reaction from the audience using humour and then tying it together with the concept of the startup.

Simple and believable

Advertising equals revenue. Revenue equals attention. The idea is simple enough to understand and clever enough to make it work. More importantly, both of these elements come across to the audience. Although you wouldn’t want to be stuck with this guy for longer than one minute, he makes his concept appealing enough for potential investors to lash on to.

Context and relativity

This MIT finalist is able to start his speech by immediately giving context and relating to the issue. He follows up by stating his solution. What he doesn’t do is relate his story or product / service to the audience. Getting the audience’s attention by relating to them is important in establishing a relationship.

Calm, collected and confident

Roza Roshaan cuts to the chase by noting interesting issues and solutions. Throughout the pitch she maintains a calm, collected and confident character.

Shock impression

Yet again, another example showcasing the value of impressions. This pitch though uses shock value to make it more memorable. He manages to pull off a bet by presenting his startup’s concept wearing a Borat-like swimsuit. He also opens with character and cheesy, yet catchy lines.

Author Bio

Jacques Coetzee
Jacques grew up in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Keen to take over the world, one word at a time, he has always been interested in both politics and development and studied International Relations (BA) at Stellenbosch University. With an interest in innovation and social change, he seeks to tell the... More

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