The Perfect One Minute Pitch

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

You might be able to tell by now that I love listening to founders give pitches and talk about their companies. I regularly sit with startups to work on their pitches and try to make it better. In fact, I even created this cool program called “Speak Up, Pitch” with two lovely venture capitalists named Leen Ashqar and Yasmine Halsa, where we meet every Tuesday to help startups better their messaging during pitches. We are not experts but we try our best and continuously learn along the way.

I have recently learnt how to perfect a one minute pitch after watching many startups explain their company in one minute during their demo days. It was so impressive that I took out my notepad and started outlining how these pitches were given.

So here are my notes on what the best structure companies used when pitching in sixty seconds. Also, I added an example on how I would pitch with a fake company.

Quick introduction: The entrepreneur quickly introduced their company name and their own names.

Founders’ background: Founders with impressive backgrounds explained their experience briefly. What qualified them to be impressive were one of these three backgrounds: 1) They are an expert within their industry, 2) a serial entrepreneur, 3) or an ex employee of a very reputable company/university. Any founder that did not have any of these experiences did not mention their background, and the ones who did only mentioned it briefly. Some examples were:

“I have had a suit shop for the past 10 years.”

“I am a serial entrepreneur who sold my previous company for $4M.”

“I was a senior software engineer at Google.”

“I have a PhD from MIT in neuroscience.”

Company one-liner: This might be the toughest part of the whole pitch. Nevertheless, it is the most important part that the entrepreneur needs to perfect. They must explain their company in a clear and simple way using one sentence. Therefore, they avoided using any complicated words or terms.

Remember to use the grandma test — make sure your grandmother can understand it immediately. A good exercise to perfect the one-liner is to look at examples of the biggest companies in the world, they have great ones.

Traction to date: Investors, clients, employees, etc. all love to hear what a company has done so far. As a result, all the companies made sure to tell the audience about their most important KPIs and milestones in one to two sentences.

Market size: In one sentence, the entrepreneurs explained about how big of a market they were in.

Closing statement: Founders thanked the audience for listening and reminded them what their company is called. Some of them also mentioned that they were fundraising here.

  • Side note #1: In the one-liner section, some companies used two sentences which was fine, but the point is to keep it really simple and straightforward.
  • Side note #2: A few founders talked about their background before the closing statement and the pitches were just as good.
  • Side note #3: All the founders gave this one minute pitch using one slide with all the information there.

My Example:

A simple example of how to design a slide for a one minute pitch.

Hey everyone, my name is Omar Billeh and I am the founder of VOZO. I left my previous job as the senior data scientist at Netflix to start VOZO. VOZO is a company that collects data from athletes’ running behavior through a chip in their shoe that allows them to better their performance. Within the past six months, we have signed deals with the NBA and NFL to use our technology. Additionally, we have 100,000 individuals who bought our chip. The sports analytics industry is estimated to be worth $3 billion annually, and we are in the process of entering this growing market. Thank you for listening, and I hope you found VOZO interesting. We are currently fundraising a $5M Series A round.

Please don’t get too caught up with the example. I believe it is sufficient, and I am sure it could be improved. The point is to show you how to do a one minute pitch, and not to give an example that is absolutely perfect.

In my example, I gave a short pitch that included all the necessary information to gauge the interest of my listeners. After this point, anyone who is interested would reach out to me. All the details of the technology, deals, and traction could be answered later.

Entrepreneurs are doing so much in their company that it might be tough for them to pitch everything they do in one minute. However, just remember that the point of a one minute pitch is to get the interest of an audience by sharing key information. After that, if anyone is interested, they will reach out and ask for more information.

Again, these are just my notes, but I hope they will be useful to you.

If you enjoyed this blog and want to read more about pitching, check out another blog of mine here.

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Selection & Portfolio Manager at BeyondCapital