How to pitch on demo days

I enjoyed talking to Israeli and Palestinian MEET graduates last Thursday about pitching at demo days. Here are some of the things we talked about:
  • Objective: get to the next meeting rather than landing the full investment which you will never be able to pull off in five minutes
  • 101: bullet points are boring (everyone knows this by now) and buzzwords do not work
  • Entertainment: marathon investor pitches wears out the audience. When you are the first up, you need to make sure people still remember you at the end of the day. When you are number twenty seven, you need to make sure everyone is still awake. Make sure your pitch is high on entertainment value, while staying professional at the same time
  • Five minutes: you cannot solve the time limitation by cramming in more content (denser slides, speaking faster), so chop those slides that are not important for the purpose of your pitch (getting to the next meeting). Detailed financial forecasts, team bios, technology explanations, can all wait for later
  • Carefully plan your app demo. Show what you want to show, do not spend time on boring log in screens. Tell what the audience is seeing, it might be obvious to you that things are beautiful and fast, the audience does not see it. If you can, avoid a live demo in a 5 minute pitch and instead go for fail-proof screen shots
  • One story throughout. If possible tie everything (consumer problem, your solution, demo) to one consistent case study throughout the entire five minutes.
  • Rehearse until you drop. Five minutes of content can be rehearsed until you know the content in and out. Spontaneous guitar solos sound spontaneous because the guitarist knows her scales  and melody lines so she can improvise them
MEET offers Israeli and Palestinian high school students the opportunity to go through an advanced high-tech training program (coding, business) in cooperation with MIT. People work in joint teams for a couple of years in addition to their normal education. Selection is very tough, only the very brightest, most creative, and most entrepreneurial applicants make it through the admission process.

Join the MEET facebook page to stay up to date on the initiative.