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99 Problems but a pitch ain't one Part 3 – pitch secrets from CEOs and entrepreneurs Written by Linsey Fryatt on 3. May 2012

99 problems

It’s a massive time for pitching events in Berlin right now. And if you’re a budding startup you want t make sure that you make the most of your five minutes of fame. That’s why the ever-helpful Venture Village has put together a series of Pitching Guides to share with you the secrets of a great presentation from those who know best…

99 problems

We’ve already heard from investors and Venture Capitalists on their loves and hates, as well as mentors of some of the most important pitching events across Europe. So now it’s the turn of the CEOs, founders and public speaking experts who have already found success with their pitching prowess. Let’s learn from the masters…

Ijad MadischIjad Madisch

Ijad launched ResearchGate in 2008 as a way for researchers to connect and collaborate on a global scale. To date, ResearchGate has attracted more than 1.5 million scientists and researchers from 193 countries.
My most important advice is be yourself and be honest. Don’t tell the story that your investors want to hear, but sell them your vision.
Talk about yourself, but not too much. In the long-run the success of your idea will depend on the team supporting it. Emphasize the quality of your team and how their skills can help to make your vision come true.
Think about what you want to say, but don’t learn your pitch by heart. Be prepared to improvise. This will work much better, as your conversation might develop differently than you anticipated.

Florian SpathelfFlorian Spathelf

Florian was the winer of TWiST 2012 Berlin, which led him to jet to San Francisco to represent his company Meine Spielzeug Kiste at Jason Calcanis’ Launch Conference – a gathering of over 190 startups, all vying for attentions of investors…
Be awesome. Investors mostly invest their money, not their sweat. This is your part. So be passionate about your skills and convinced of your abilities to execute the business plan.
Save the jury from the shark tank. Instead of impressing with a dozen product features, why don´t you throw your audience into the shark tank of problems first and then rescue them like a hero with a helicopter? Let them feel the pain that your target group has without your product and then relieve it in demoing your product. Boom!
Compare with others “ is the public library for toys. Without the queues and return deadlines”. Describing your product with already existing ones helps your audience to understand what you are talking about and you easily define your target group, business model and – very important – market potential of your so far unknown and new product.

florian muekFlorian Mück

Florian is the founder of — an initiative to create a European team spirit. This Barcelona-based entrepreneur as counts public speaking as his passion. In 2009, he turned his passion into a successful profession under The Seven Minute Star brand. His book The Seven Minute Star – Become a Great Speaker in 15 Simple Steps offers inspirational tips to present with style.
When asked what he does Verne Harnish, the founder of Gazelles and one of the creators of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, always starts with the same phrase: “The problem we solve is… ” Start your pitch with the problem you solve. Sell painkillers, not vitamins.
Will people buy more Coca Cola stocks when they hear that revenues of the Coca Cola Company have increased? Or when they hear that Warren Buffett has increased his shares in Coca Cola because their revenues have risen? Use social proof in your pitch.
Desperation is a secure deal breaker. Investors smell desperation from a mile away. Give a sense that you are not in a rush. Then the investor wants to move faster. Instead of asking for money at the end of your pitch, invite them to your facilities. Sell trust, not desperation.
Pitching tips from Startup Mentors
Pitching tips from investors and VCs