Excellent elevator pitch

Lots of people ask me about good elevator pitches and intros to their PowerPoint presentation. It isn’t easy, and Lord knows I struggled with it (and still do!)…

What follows is an elevator pitch I helped a portfolio company CEO write up (details anonymized) that I hope communicates some key points. This pitch can be used as an in-person elevator pitch or the preface to an in-person presentation. Note that it is IN PERSON…

My name is John Smith, I am the CEO and lead investor in AcmeCo. AcmeCo has developed technology that allows unprecedented improvements in the production of [alternative energy resource] via [Industry Technique], a $50 billion industry.

The technology has gone through a battery of simulations and real-world testing conducted by independent, world-class scientists – and succeeded every time. Thanks to our latest test results I am now in serious conversations with [#] likely acquirers and strategic investors.

Ventures live or die based on the quality of their people. The founders’ credentials in science, engineering, and business were a key reason I invested in the first place. I added to that team a group of world-renowned: scientists, [alternative energy resource] industry insiders, and entrepreneurs. This group has literally written The Book on their fields, are domain experts relied on by Congress, and built & sold similarly ambitious [alternative energy resource] ventures. As for me, this is not my first rodeo. My latest venture was also in the [Same Industry] space and I was blessed with a successful exit of $120 million.

We are seeking $1 million to set the stage for the next major test, a 2-3x increase in our valuation, and an opportunity for an early exit in as little as 18 months. If we spend the 18 months needed to complete the tests and get favorable results, industry veterans feel our valuation can increase by another 4x to $100 million.

Now that you have the teaser, let me give you a few details..

Ok, so let’s analyze the pitch…

My name is John Smith, I am the CEO and lead investor in AcmeCo.

  • Always introduce yourself up front. In-person presentations and pitches are PERSONAL.

AcmeCo has developed technology that allows unprecedented improvements in the production of [alternative energy resource] via [Industry Technique], a $50 billion industry.

  • This is the "in a tweet" kind of intro needed to help the audience know what lens to use when looking at you. If the audience are all WEB 2.0 gals, they’ll know to tune out. If they are veteran alternative energy folks they know to listen. If alternative energy folks… they now know this is a deal based on [alternative energy resource] and to think accordingly…

The technology has gone through a battery of simulations and real-world testing conducted by independent, world-class scientists – and succeeded every time. Thanks to our latest test results I am now in serious conversations with [#] likely acquirers and strategic investors.

  • This sentence frontloads credibility. Alternative energy investors hear all kinds of junk every day. Anyone can CLAIM their idea is better/cheaper/faster… this company is proving it. Note their stress on "and succeeded every time" – this drives home the point this is not a concept-level business. Lots of $$ has already gone in.

Ventures live or die based on the quality of their people.

  • All sophisticated investors know this… but far too view entrepreneurs do. Here the entrepreneur is sending a signal that he DOES know this vital fact.

The founders’ credentials in science, engineering, and business were a key reason I invested in the first place.

  • Now we realize the entrepreneur isn’t a founder… he is a fellow investor. He is "one of us" – making an emotional connection to us and imbuing what follows with more credibility because he put his $$ where his mouth is.

I added to that team a group of world-renowned: scientists, [alternative energy resource] industry insiders, and entrepreneurs. This group has literally written The Book on their fields, are domain experts relied on by Congress, and built & sold similarly ambitious [alternative energy resource] ventures. As for me, this is not my first rodeo. My latest venture was also in the [Same Industry] space and I was blessed with a successful exit of $120 million.

  • If team is paramount, then the list of ACCOMPLISHMENTS detailed above really drives the point home that this team is worth looking into. Most people do TEAM sections resume-style, lists of academic titles and business positions held. Compare that to the ACCOMPLISHMENTS style used above… it really stands out.
  • The speaker also finds a way to indicate his own success as an entrepreneur without sounding like a braggart.

We are seeking $1 million to set the stage for the next major test, a 2-3x increase in our valuation, and an opportunity for an early exit in as little as 18 months. If we spend the 18 months needed to complete the tests and get favorable results, industry veterans feel our valuation can increase by another 4x to $100 million.

  • This is "the ask," and note how it spends very little time actually asking. Instead it is stressing their path forward, how close they appear to exit (decreasing perceived risk, especially for alternative energy ventures which tend to take FOREVER), and boost credibility by referencing external validation for exit timetable.

What do YOU think of this pitch? What do you like? What could be better? How would it impact YOUR next pitch?

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