There’s a lot of start-up activity happening in Portland, which is exciting to see. Yesterday, I had a chance to attend the Nike+ Accelerator Demo Day at Nike campus, where the 10 startups chosen earlier this year pitched the businesses they’ve built on top of Nike+ Fuel technology. They all gave their 10-minute pitches to potential investors in rapid-fire mode. This was the culmination of an intense 90-day program they went through to build their products with Nike+ API team, hone their pitches and establish early results for their concepts. About a month ago, I saw four of the companies practice their pitches; at that time their presentations were early stage and missing key elements. They were hacked apart by the audience. It was amazing to see how far they came in a short time.
Here are 6 lessons learned that are applicable to any presentation you’re giving:
1. Show don’t tell. Pictures and video are powerful versus just the spoken word. Let your audience see your product to make us believe and get excited about what you’re offering.
2. In the first 60 seconds, tell us what you do. Long intros and lead-ups are frustrating. You will lose your audience if you don’t immediately and clearly establish what it is your company and product does. Once you do that, connect with them emotionally on why you chose to do this and the unfulfilled need you are addressing.
3. Know your “secret sauce.” How are you different? Why will you win and not someone else with a similar idea?
4. Be authentic and show passion for your idea. If you’re not excited about it, how can you expect anyone else to get excited? It’s not enough to show your startup is a potential money maker. Investors/customers/partners are looking for people who are intensely passionate about their business and are flexible to market changes.
5. Get inside the numbers. Understand the data of your business – what’s the market size? Who specifically is the customer? What’s the revenue potential per customer? What’s the value customers derive from using your product?
6. Have a business model. How will you make money? How are you monetizing the value your company/product/service provides? And, it can’t simply be just by generating a million+ users downloading your free app. Eyeballs do not equal revenue.
7. Make the ask. What do you need? What are you wanting from the audience? Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you need – money, strategic partners, early beta users, and so on.
The presentations from all 10 companies were very polished, you could see the impact that Nike, TechStars and the mentors had on these companies. I’d say half are legit companies, a few have huge potential and traction already, a few others are less clear how they’ll make money or survive long-term as bona fide businesses. Some coverage on the event: