Nail Your Next Pitch: 5 Tips From Recent Pitch Competition Winners

As an ed-tech entrepreneur, you likely have several versions of a pitch that introduces, explains, and hooks investors to your offering. But how can you refine that pitch to produce the results your business needs?  

We talked with two seasoned pros to get their top five tips for companies pitching at the SXSWedu Launch Competition (powered by Prezi!). Whether or not you are participating in LAUNCHedu pitch competition in Austin, here is their advice for executing a great pitch – wherever it may be.

1. Summon the Right Energy

Successful start-up founder Liz Bohannon explains that when pitching you have to nail the energy quotient, “Not cheese-ball, used car salesman energy, but true authentic, I-want-to-be-a-part-of-what-you're-doing energy.”

Bohannon knows all about harnessing her energy to make an impact on stage.  Last year, after launching her successful fashion company, Sseko, she pitched it to an audience of VCs and Angels at SXSW Eco Startup Pitch Competition and took home the winner's trophy. Her on-stage success has helped her not only to build a flourishing business, but also to empower and enrich the lives of Ugandan women with Sseko’s unique business model.

You can watch her pitch here:


2. Make the Problem You Are Solving Relevant and Memorable

Bohannon says that, “In defining your problem, your audience should feel the pain.  Even if they've never thought about it before that very moment, you should have them thinking, ‘Yeah! That is the worst!’” This is because, “A solution isn't a solution unless it is meeting a need people actually care about.”

4. Humor Is An Excellent Additive

“In a sea of pitches, humor will make yours more memorable,” advises Jessica Reid, Chief Academic Officer at LightSail Education, an innovative literacy platform for grades K-12.  When it comes to setting herself apart — whether it is in a formal pitch competition or simply bumping into a potential investor while out on her morning jog — Jessica swears by comedy.  “I've made people laugh both times I've done pitch competitions,” she says, “and I truly believe this is the secret sauce, because I won both times—despite running out of time during each pitch.”

Watch Reid’s winning pitch at SxSW V2V’s Start Up Pitch Competition here: 


5. Do NOT Fade Out

“The last few seconds are arguably the most important,” Bohannon says, “as it will be what sticks with them when they walk away (and start thinking about actually cutting you that check),” Bohannan warns.  She suggests a simple trick: “Figure out what your overall voice is (inspiring, motivational, clever, powerful?) and make sure your last statement is a consistent and strong echo of that sentiment.”

For more tips on how to give pitches that will wow your audience, and for free, reusable Prezi pitch deck designs, take a look at ourConference Season Success Hub.