Startup Corner

Pitching Tips From Successful Entrepreneurs

Angelique O’Rourke 

How much time you have to deliver a pitch to investors will have a big impact on how and what you’ll want to do and say.

If you’re giving five-minute presentation followed by a Q&A, you will approach that a little differently than if you’re giving a one-minute presentation!

So, how do you know what to include in a really short pitch? What about a 20-minute pitch? We’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll review:

  • What to include in a one-minute, five-minute, 10-minute, and 20-minute pitch.
  • Tips from entrepreneurs who successfully pitched their businesses for funding

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The One-Minute Pitch
This very brief time slot is a little brutal—you have to be clear and concise—but if you’re nervous about speaking in front of people, there’s one big benefit: it’s over quickly. The challenge, of course, lies in using the time as wisely as possible.

Think of a one-minute pitch as the absolute heart of your business: What problem is your business solving? Projecting confidence and having the clearest, most concise explanation of your product or service possible is key.

Jackie Wu created Rook, a flying security camera, and received funding after pitching an incubator. Jackie says, “The biggest thing is, you have to know what the problem you’re solving is and how your product/service will solve it. We articulated that very clearly to the investors. That is the one-minute pitch.”

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The five-minute pitch

A five-minute pitch is when you can start branching out from your core message. In it, you’ll cover the problem your business solves and how you’ll solve it, but you can include other important details like what your competitive advantage is and why your team is the best for the job.

Forbes has a great example of a winning five-minute pitch from a pitch competition. The winning entrepreneur offers some important advice: avoid unrealistic financial projections (you’ll look like an amateur), and always copy edit your pitch deck. A typo or misspelling in such an important event says to investors that you aren’t detail oriented—not exactly the message you want to be sending.

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