Pitch This!

60 seconds on the the clock starts now.  


You’re a budding innovator presenting your startup to a crowd of potential investors. The spotlight is glaring solely on you. With one minute to pitch your company, how do you sell it? Do you go for the shock-and-awe routine? Pose a problem, let the audience ponder for a bit, and present the solution? Dish out key features in quick fire style? Last month, 50 finalists braced the challenge in the 2015 Minute to Pitch It Competition at MassChallenge in the Seaport District. MassChallenge is one of the largest startup accelerators in the world with offices residing in Boston, Israel, and the UK. This non-profit organization serves as a launching pad for budding entrepreneurs looking to break into the big leagues.


The event was broken up into two exciting high-speed pitch rounds. During the first round, contestants split up into five heats and presented one-by-one. After each group finished, the audience texted their vote on who should continue to the final stage. Representing the five finalists were:  Else Sze, CEO/Founder of Agora, Chris Lai, CEO of Aquasfresco, Guy Seeman, COO of Rethink Pharmaceuticals, Rose Wang, Co-Founder of Six Foods, and Alex Cheimets, CPO of Waterhero. The second round proved even more of a test, with a condensed pitch time of thirty seconds! The judges panel featured: Jacqueline Thong, Co-Founder/CEO of Klio Health, David Brown, VP of Strategic Partnerships at ZappRx, Jim Miller CEO/Chairman of Roundgrille, Inc., and Ben Littauer, Consultant/Member of Boston Harbor Angels. After careful deliberation, the crowd selected Six Foods as the winner, with two strong pitches including a memorable beat box jingle. This startup, also co-founded by Laura D’asaro and Meryl Natow, produces healthy snacks using insects as core ingredients! Who wouldn’t want to expand the palette and promote sustainable practices?

colmassfixWhen it comes to perfecting the art of the pitch, having a brilliant idea is just part of the puzzle. Whether to a stranger in an elevator or to a boardroom of venture capitalists, the execution defines the impression. Demonstrating conviction and clarity will strengthen your stance among the audience and hook them on your product. Find that connection, and the door to opportunities becomes wide open.


Have you ever made a business pitch? What’s the best advice for knocking it out of the park? 

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  1. I have presented before. I would go for the option of posing a problem to my audience; give them food for thought.

    Shock tactics are used far too often.

    • It’s an effective strategy Phoenicia, especially when you bring awareness to a problem that hooks the audience in. From what I’ve witnessed, shock tactics will get people talking about the brand, but not necessarily about the product itself. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Wow! Let me admit this right up front – I would never even attempt a quick pitch. First of all it would make me a nervous wreck and second (and most important) I’m a storyteller and that doesn’t exactly fit into the rapid fire approach. My background is in sales and marketing so I have known many people who eat up this kind of challenge, but my style is more “Sit, sit my friend and let me tell you a story.” All depends on the audience and your intention. Thanks for a peak at this high power pitch event!

    • Thanks for your comment Marquita. It’s interesting to look at all the different skills that can be brought to the table. As much focus as there is on the elevator pitch, the ability to paint a story is as important for locking in engagement with the audience and solidifying that relationship.

  3. This sounds like it would be absolutely fascinating to watch! Seems there would be an awful lot to learn that you could apply almost anywhere! Job interview, performance review, on-line dating….just kidding with the last. Shark Tank in action…very cool!

    • It was very exciting to watch Jacqueline! The ability to dish out a pitch in 60 seconds can be applicable to many situations like you’ve noted.

  4. The Pitch It Competition sounds nerve-racking for contestants, but might be fun to watch. I think there is value in putting thought into how one would do the quick pitch, whether in this competition or not. If nothing else, it gives you clearer focus on your product and intent. And you never know who you might bump into the elevator and need that “elevator pitch” ready.

    • Spot on Donna! Given the fast-paced world we live in, being able to deliver an idea in a concise and memorable manner is a valued skill that can come in handy at any given moment.

    • Haha I’ve been that way for a long time Ken, but it may be time to switch up the palette!

  5. I am not a pushy person, it is against my nature. I have to have my pitch planned out. this way I am more presenting something than trying to convince someone. This is a great blog, thanks for sharing.
    I hear people commenting they never would eat insects. Most of our red dyes in food comes from a bug ground up.

    • Thanks for commenting William. Everyone has their preferred style of pitching. Being able to deliver is what counts in the end!

  6. The elevator pitch is fantastic. A number of years ago I started a nonprofit and before I went out looking for funders, I actually practiced my pitch while riding an elevator. It allowed me to “Get To the point” for my presentation.

    • Excellent strategy Pamela. Practice makes perfect.Thanks for commenting!

  7. I love what you said: “the execution defines the impression.”

    It feels like they need to feel the truth and authenticity of my work so they can believe with that I offer. Thanks for the reminder!

    • It does start with believing in an idea 100% before others jump on board. Thanks for commenting Mahal!

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