Last week I was presenting at a startup pitch competition at the Technion University in Haifa, Israel. After my talk, the contestants had 3 minute each to pitch their business idea. Some observations inspired by the evening, and not necessarily related to any of the contestants.
  • Do not speak too fast. It is better to make sure the audience gets all you say, than cram in a 10 minute pitch in 3 minutes. OK, do not go the other extreme and speak so slowly that it becomes boring to listen to.
  • Say what you are doing early on. Starting with a nice story and revealing your venture at 2:10 gives the audience 50 seconds to assess your business. While I always advocate to sell the problem, not the solution, sometimes you might have to cut the problem section short if you have just 3 minutes. "Gasoline prices are high", that is it, time to move on to what you want to do about it.
  • Decide what is really important in a first pitch. Some details such as extensive elaborations on revenue models or team backgrounds can probably wait for your second 30 minute pitch.
  • Do not bring up concerns that take a lot of time to explain, you want to keep the excitement and momentum going. Examples: complicated comparisons against the competition, or a defense why you picked a small market segment to start. Three minutes is not enough to present the results of a strategy consulting project.
The objective of 3 minute pitch is not to land the investment, it is to get an invitation to a 30 minute meeting.

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.