Friday, May 8, 2009

How Colnect's Winning Pitch Was Made

Colnect had surprisingly won the Startup2.0 competition in Bilbao, Spain. Out of ~160 companies, 11 made it to the finals where each company had 3 minutes to pitch and 4 more minutes for Q&A. This post will describe what I consider the key points that have made Colnect's pitch stand out and perhaps one of the reasons for Colnect winning the competition.

Planning


Perhaps 3 minutes don't seem like a lot of time but consider that some "elevator pitches" last only 40 seconds, so 3 minutes is a lot. In my opinion, a major mistake is to try and showcase all you have in a short amount of time. When time is of the essence the aim is to impress. So the initial plan was to use the 3 minutes to give a basic introduction and impress the audience without getting into any details. Considering the fact that 11 companies were going to display, Colnect would have to stand out.

Promotional Video


If you haven't watched it yet, you should now:



The idea to use puppets for the video came from my brother Ofer and help in creating the video came from my friend Matan and his friend Eric.

Impressive key points were emphasized in the video:
* Colnect's availability in 35 languages.
* Colnect having a great community with over a hundred volunteers.
* Colnect answering a real need for collectors - its target market.

Q&A



Intentionally, I have not answered the most common questions (business model, current status, competition, etc.) in my 3 minutes part. I guessed that it would mean I'd get to be asked these questions rather than (potentially hazardous) unexpected questions or (much worse) no questions. Detailed answers to the common questions were prepared and I could use my "cheat sheet" in answering the jury's questions.

As a minor gimmick, I put on the frog puppet (Frognector) from the video on my hand while the video was being watched and as the video finished showing, I opened with: "Frognector is now available to answer your questions". I actually expected a bit more laughs but I'm sure it attracted attention to myself. Some of the jury members were using their laptops paying half (or less) attention on other presentations. My "bending the rules" a bit ensured more attention. Though I risked being seen as a joker, I believed that the ready made answers would make up for any such impression.

Aftermath



Not that a good presentation would necessarily take you where you want to go but a bad presentation will most likely NEVER take you where you want. Try to think who your target crowd is and how they would look at it. For example: when doing a 1on1 meeting the gimmicks may be completely stupid but when you need to stand out from the rest, they're probably essential.

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