Turning 4 Pitch Tips into a Startup Weekend Winning Pitch

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 | 2 comments

During the Feb 2012 LA Startup Weekend, Tyler Crowley stopped by to give us pitch tips. I thought I’d share what I wrote down because we worked hard to incorporate them into our winning pitch.

Our Winning Feb 2012 LA Startup Weekend Pitch

Thanks TechZulu for making this!

Here are the Tips from Tyler We Tried to Follow

I say tried because we didn’t get them all right. Startup Weekend is fast-paced and there’s very little time to truly polish the pitch. I only had 10 minutes to practice the demo part…

The tips from Tyler are the headers and bullet points. My thoughts are in the paragraphs below each.

1) Create a Story

  • Use a persona – tell a movie about John, Joe or Jane.
  • What do you want the audience to think or feel a week later?
  • Never say “we” or ‘I’ – use the Company Name instead.
  • Keep the story dramatic.
  • As a hack, use a judge/person in the room as your main character.

I think we got about half of these right. I was terrible at saying the Company name. Also, I was the persona and the presenter so I said “I” a lot. However, I think it worked well for our situation because I am also the target user and could believably tell the story of trying to online shop with my bff Liza. People related to the story and me as the teller pretty quickly. The visuals helped a lot there but if there was more time, I’d spend more time on this portion of the pitch.

2) Get Right to the Demo

  • Everyone is there to see the demo.
  • If your demo can’t tell its own story, you’re probably in trouble.

I think we nailed this one. We got to the demo pretty quickly and it told the story pretty well.

3) Make the Audience Feel like They are Part of the Meeting

  • Make sure they are talking with you or engaged.
  • Leave out some things that they can ask. They will.
I feel like the audience was really responsive to me during my part of the presentation and I intentionally checked to make sure  they were engaged. I can’t speak for Gregg’s portions because I was so flustered after I stopped talking (because I’d talked too long) that I didn’t pay attention.We also left something out unintentionally because we ran out of time! We didn’t make it to our marketing slides but, as promised, the judges asked about it.

4) The Q&A is a “Startup School” Gauge

  • In the Q & A, they are trying to figure out where you are from Kindergarten to PhD in “startup school”
  • For example, say they ask “What are you going to do when Google does it?”
    Kindergarten answer: Google wouldn’t do it.
    PhD answer: Google’s already working on it (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be too)

I think our Q & A went pretty well. Gregg and Jake had great answers and I got a compliment from a judge on my “We have the Snazzy Bar” comment. He said it was the perfect way to handle that. Woot!


A BIG Thanks to Tyler for sharing! I know he shared more than that and I just didn’t write it down so if you ever get to hear him talk about it again, listen.

Good luck during your Startup Weekend pitch or any other pitch you give!



Also Check Out

5 Lessons from my Aug 2011 Startup Weekend

7 More Lessons from my Feb 2012 Startup Weekend



  1. Great article, thanks. I forgot Tyler’s tips and forgot to take notes.

    • Thanks Ira!


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