Coastal Venture Competition Resources
The typical presentation of this type contains 10 slides. The presentation is up to 20 minutes long. However, student presentations tend to run a little shorter, usually around 10-12 minutes. You should use no smaller than 30 thirty point font. Slides should be as simple as possible. When necessary, simplified graphs and charts are OK. You should not read your slides. Your audience can read faster than you can speak.
- Company Name
- Your Name (s) and Title(s)
- Contact Information
2.The Problem or Opportunity
- What is the pain you are alleviating?
- What problem are you solving?
- What pleasure are you providing?
3. The Value Proposition
- What is the value (not money) of 2 above?
4.The Underlying Magic or Secret Sauce of Your Business
- As simply as possible
- This is a great place for a picture or a prototype
- We don’t need to know how it works (don’t put proprietary information on the slide) we just need to be convinced it does work
- How do you make money?
6.Go to Market Plan
- How are you going to reach the customer?
- How much does it cost to reach the customers?
- How many will you reach?
- Who are your competitors? (Yes, you have competitors, I promise)
- What do you know about them?
- Who is on your management team? Why?
- Who is on your board of directors? Why?
- Who is on your board of advisors? Why?
- Who is investing in you? Why?
- Just the highlights
9.Financial Projections & Key Metrics
- 3 year forecast of earnings and expenses
- Key metrics (these are different for every business)
- Number of customers
- Conversion rate
- Table turn over
10.Current Status, Accomplishments to Date, Timeline, Use of Funds
- What is the current status of the project?
- What does the near future look like?
- What successes have you had so far?
- What is your path/timeline to profitability?
- How will you use any funds you are trying to raise?
Is the format, length and delivery of your pitch appropriate and professional? Does it capture the attention of your audience? Is it interesting and persuasive? What you’re going for here is to sound conversational, get your information out in a manner that’s easy to understand, and to leave a good impression.
What is the problem that you’re trying to solve? How big is the problem?
How are you going to make the pain go away? KISS: Keep it simple, students. If you read just the premise out loud with no other information, someone hearing it should understand what it is you do. If not, keep simplifying/refining your message.
The people are one of the most important parts of your business. Their character, experience, expertise, availability and drive all influence their ability to obtain funding from angels and venture capitalists. In this section you should answer the question why you? Why not someone else?
The best proof is sales, but if you’re at a pitch competition you may not have generated sales yet. In this case, the next best proof is people that say they’ll buy. This can come from interviews, focus groups, surveys or other market research. Crowdfunding pre-purchases can also be helpful. If your concept is B2B (Business to Business), rather than B2C (Business to Consumer), letters of intent from prospective business customers can be helpful as well. Other great forms of proof include prototypes and intellectual property. Though they do not provide evidence of market demand for your product/service, these types of proof can bolster your credibility and help you build a case for feasibility and competitive advantage.
The purpose of a business is to make money and contribute value. What is your profit potential? If you have a social endeavor, you will need to provide an alternative metric to revenues or profits. For example, if you are launching a nonprofit to feed the homeless, your metric might be number of people fed. It often makes sense to explain why the metric you choose is important.
Use plain English as much as possible. Avoid acronyms and jargon. Never use a large word when a diminutive one will do.
You don’t have a lot of time, so it’s important to be as brief as possible so that you can get it all in.
People should believe you when you deliver your pitch. There are two complementary ways to accomplish this. First, you can explain why you’re qualified. Second, you can sound like you know what you’re talking about. This should be because you have practiced what you’re going to say a lot and because you really do know what you’re talking about.
Have a message and stay on it. If you have numbers for something, use the same numbers throughout. Don’t contradict yourself within your pitch. It’s easier to do than you might think.
You shouldn’t sound like you’re reciting the pitch, even though you probably are. Keep in mind that the elevator pitch is the beginning of a real conversation, one in which you hope to convince the listener that your idea is amazing and they want in on it.
Do not go into details in the elevator pitch. You don’t have time. For instance, when discussing proof, if you’ve done market research you may know that 15% of college students will buy your product. You may also know a breakdown of that number based on other demographic information. The 15% is enough in most cases.
Be as specific as you can. This sounds like the opposite of #6 above, but it’s not really.
You typically address this most in the pain section. You explain the pain, and part of that is convincing us that it’s important to ‘fix’ the pain.
Insomuch as possible, tailor your elevator pitch to your audience. In a contest setting this will not be easy. It might not even be possible. But remember, the skill of pitching, and perhaps even the pitch you’re developing for this contest, may prove useful elsewhere. You might actually get on an elevator with Bill Gates, and wouldn’t it be awesome if you had a fantastic opportunity for him?