On July 13 our portfolio company Zizoo won the Techcrunch pitch-off in Budapest. The Berlin-based digital booking platform and community for boat rentals participated in our 100 days accelerator program. We spoke with Anna, CEO and Co-Founder of Zizoo, about the perfect pitch and asked for 5 tips for pitching beginners.Hey Anna, first of all congratulations to winning the Techcrunh pitch-off in Budapest!
Your top 5 tips for young entrepreneurs on the perfect startup pitch?
1. Boring, I know – but its just imperative to prepare. I spent hundreds of times practicing my pitches with my cofounder because I was so nervous and it really paid off.
2. Reduce everything to a few strong points you want to convey and don’t cram too much into your pitch. People only remember such a small part of your pitch, so it’s best to say few things, concisely. Everything else can be covered in a conversation later.
3. Open with something that draws attention like an outrageous photo, a cool quote (not a lame one), an interesting question, a funny joke and make sure you can pull it off. It’s good to arouse emotion in the audience but easy to alienate them.
4. Practice having an engaging voice, I thought I sounded terribly enthusiastic before until someone told me I’m very monotonous.
5. Get feedback on your pitch from people who are critical. Sometimes you have to squeeze it out of people and don’t ask someone who will tell you are great at everything.
How often do you visit events like the pitch-off in Budapest? As often as possible but not enough! It takes time to apply and prepare so I don’t get around to attend enough events. It makes a huge difference if you present as people are naturally interested in you so it’s totally worth it!
Does pitching still make you nervous and are there still questions that put you on the spot? It makes me totally nervous! I always have a small panic attack before, just for good measure, but once I get going it’s quite exciting. I don’t mind the questions as it’s a fun mental challenge to be put on the spot. It’s not often that lots of people are actually listening to you so I try to enjoy that.
Do you have a ritual before every pitch? Practice my pitch and freak out a bit.
What was your most important pitch so far and how did it go? When I was working at Google I had to present in Las Vegas at a L’Oreal conference in front of 2000 people on the future of the internet, 45 mins. I was just standing in for my boss who could not make it and it was terrifying. I was clearly the most irrelevant person presenting and generally not prepared enough. But I managed to get in the grove and in the end it turned out OK. What saved me was that I started the presentation with this super cool video with some mad stats about the internet.
To sum it up…
I learned that preparation is everything.
That presenting can bring you great confidence and ideally that kicks in when you are on stage.
I secretly love presenting, even though I think it’s terrifying.
Thank you Anna for the interview and all the best for the next pitch!