5 Step Guide to Master the Elevator Pitch

5 Step Guide to Master the Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch, those few sentences which convey your company across to potential customers and investors. Do you have it right? Can you explain what your product does in language that is simple, yet presents the unique value of your product? You may think that you already have your elevator pitch perfected, but even if it is, test it, refine it, and make it better. The pitch will dictate whether you get some love in an elevator, or just get shot down. We’re here to help. Follow this guide to master the elevator pitch and get funded.

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Venture Capital Investment Pitch Deck Template – Leave Behind (2012) Example

Venture Capital Investment Pitch Deck Template – Leave Behind (2012) Example

This deck was put together after years of seeing these things, putting these things together, and having garnered from it some personal success, i.e. getting funded. It also built off of a few decks that were passed to me by VC friends. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to say who the companies were, but rest assured they’ve been in more Tech-Publications than you and I.

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Want to work at a start-up? This is how to go about it

Of the better ways to learn the startup scene is simply to work at one, and while you typically won’t find startup jobs listed on your typical job portal that is not to say those positions are not out there.

With that said, the benefits of working at a startup are many, possible chance at acquiring equity, experience that is then pivotal to start your own company, or a chance to break into venture capital.

While some websites exists that offer a job board for early stage companies, such as http://www.startuphire.com/, http://www.startuply.com/, and http://startupers.com/, they are often flooded with hundreds of applications, and moreso at times of economic trouble like what we’ve seen since 2008.

A better approach to securing a position at a startup, and any position for that matter is networking. If you’re into the scene, chances are you should know people within it, or at least make your way out to some entrepreneurially focused meetings / groups where you’ll not only meet people working within the startup industry of your interest, but it will also allow you to feel out the market as a whole.

Another, and a more novel approach is to focus your search through venture capital funds / groups. More often than not, VC’s will have their portfolio companies listed on their websites, and better yet, some will even have a listing of the jobs that their portfolio companies are looking to fill. Another advantage here is that the above method will allow you to better fine tune your search in terms of industry and expose you to companies that you may not have been previously aware of.

But how do you do it? Call up the VC fund, ask who to speak with at the startup of your choice, then call the startup directly. Make yourself stand out and show that you have what it takes to make it in a diverse and often chaotic environment that requires quick thinking and an innovative approach to problem solving.

Startup Feature: Teambox

We recently had the chance to talk with Pablo Villalba from Teambox about how he got started and what advice he has to pass onto new and budding entrepreneurs, better yet, Teambox is now inBloon’s project management solution. The trickle effects of Next Top Startup, but I digress.

So without further ado, the startup feature of : Teambox

How did you come up with the idea for your company?

On one hand, I was looking for something that would tie our team together as a group. We tried some online solutions, excel spreadsheets, blogs and Gantt planning, but nothing worked.

When a client asked to deploy a solution in his own server, I started some real research for a quality open-source project manager. There was not such a thing. So, with a little seed funding, we got started.

The first versions were merely proofs of concept, and were only available on Spanish. However, they taught us important lessons on software development and clients’ needs. All this made a difference for Teambox 2.

Any milestones that you’d like to share?

When Teambox 2 was launched, it was one of a kind. It was the first Twitter-style collaboration tool that grouped team communication and task management.

After exiting the beta period, we set up some pricing plans for users who needed more of what we were doing. So far, we have over 100 paid accounts for the online version and we’re starting to have our first corporate clients. This means a lot of new lessons to learn, and the need to adapt quickly.

We recently acquired an online group chat application in our space, and we have plans to integrate its functionality in Teambox while expanding its offerings. We’re very excited about the possibilities.

Can you tell us a bit about the team?

At the heart of Teambox, we’re very technically minded people with a passion for design.

We had endless discussions over little details, because we care about usability. You can spend months developing the coolest feature on Earth, but unless you make it simple nobody is going to use it.We’re currently 5 programmers and 3 mixed profiles for sales and marketing. We expect to keep things small and simple, scaling our service without a significant increase on staff.

For that, we only work with the best. Our open-source community has been a great talent pool, where people can learn our working style before joining the company.

Any difficulties you’ve experienced in the startup process of your company?

It’s been extremely hard to get funded during the hard times economy has been through. Nevertheless, we were lucky to find the right investors who trusted the startup and team and made it possible.

It has also been very disappointing to see how public grants have more to do with political reasons than real innovation and supporting research and development. Lessons learned from this: Private money is reasonable, and it’s always better to survive with your own money or customers than looking for money from others.

Any advice to pass on to budding entrepreneurs?

Just get started. Entrepreneurship is like a George Lucas film, where you meet your friends during a long journey to an uncertain destination

Startup Feature: InBloon

Back in May we asked Jose Mariano of In Bloon five questions about his startup, being that he entered the Next Top Startup competition we felt it unfair to feature him and not the others, however now with the first edition of the competition well behind us we feel it’s time to publish his answers to our 6 questions.

What is bloon?

It’s an experience by which you will see the Earth shining round and blue on the eyes of the person you love. All in a safe, clean, not requiring strenuous training manner. A flight beyond the blue skies into the starry blackness of the cosmos. And with zero emissions.

Here’s the official definition:

bloon |bəˈloōn|
noun

1. a sustainable, cost-effective, inspirational and elevating device that enables out of this world experiences to her passengers, including unparalleled views of their planet while helping preserve it in the process; to be enjoyed by individuals, families, and other groups worldwide: inside the bloon we were one with the Planet.

2. zero2infinity first project.
verb [ intrans. ]

1. to feel elevated, to raise to a new level, to transform yourdreams into reality: We are about to bloon… ORIGIN Barcelona, early 2009 (originally denoting a previous concept from 2000): from French ballon ‘large ball.’

How did you come up with the idea for bloon?

I grew up surrounded by rockets, telescopes, astronomy and balloons because of my dad’s job. After graduation in 2000 I started to think about the possibilities of Space Tourism and it seemed obvious to me that the view is the core element of the experience and that balloons are the safest means to achieve the altitudes where the view can be enjoyed. I made a publication, then a business plan, technical design, patent and finally a company.

Any milestones that you’d like to share?

We are happy we just received our first piece of investment from Ultramagic, the world’s second largest producer of hot air ballons. Their qualified endorsement along with their expertise in the ballooning market, certification rules and technical acumen bring us closer to our goal.

Can you tell us a bit about the team?

Full time there are 4 Aerospace Engineers (Master’s level), there are many part time collaborators and interns. We are looking for a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer. Our adivsory board is highly committed and comprises senior leaders in key sectors for our business.

Any difficulties you’ve experienced in the startup process of your company?

The fact that I had worked on the concept for 9 years prior to incorporating the company had me well prepared. One important skill that I wish I had before, and only now I am starting to grasp is the ability to tell the people that just find your concept cool from the ones that can really help you. Generally in the EU there is a lot of talk about innovation and entrepreneurship as the best thing since bread came sliced, however there is very little real action in this topic. I think politics has distorted so much the landscape that it’s hard to find people driven by pure entrepreneurial spirit.

Any advice to pass on to budding entrepreneurs?

Be open minded and get as much high-quality advice as possible but don’t forget you know more about your business than anybody else.

If you have a startup and would like to have it featured, please write to info [at] f3fundit.com

Startup Saturdays: Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace

In this session of Startup Saturdays we present a different type of a startup – one with a social cause in fact – a non-profit. Started by Wendy Hong in 2009 the Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace aims to create on-going dialogue between communities worldwide, in order to better collaborate on a global scale to achieve and maintain peace holistically.

1. How did you come up with the idea to launch the “Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace” and what are your goals?

Considering my own experiences with prejudice, knowledge of human behavioral psychology and understanding of how bigotry, prejudice and ignorance are used to mobilize genocide and war and the lack of a central repository for universal human commonality knowledge, I thought building such a virtual library that required global collaboration would be a great way to give support for the human race to thrive together.  Since its inception on October 13th, 2009, the idea has become more robust and inclusive, as you can see from our Vision Statement and Mission Objectives.

2. Any milestones that were specifically memorable that you would like to share?

Quite a few, actually; In mid December of last year we discovered that we’d received over a thousand responses to our ““What is Your Primary Self-Identifier” survey”, furthermore publishing the survey results was exciting as well.

In the first week of this year our first volunteer Crystal began working with us, and on January 20th we began forming our Advisory Committee.

On February 11th, the Founder and President of Genocide Watch joined the Advisory Committee.

3. Can you tell us a bit about the team? How did you come together?

Our current permanent team members include a serial entrepreneur and business strategist with MBA degrees from both Columbia and London Business School (Wendy W. Hong, Founder and CEO), Senior Vice President of a well-respected hedge fund, with 16 years of IT experience (Stephen R. Payne, Board Member), and a seasoned marketing professional with both for- (W Hotels) and non-profit (Brooklyn Public Library) experience (Lillian Wang, Board Member).

In addition to her two MBAs, Wendy holds a BA in Political Science and French (Columbia University) and another in English Literature ( Baruch College, CUNY).  Her 15 years of work experience spans the banking, consulting, journalism, non-profit, publishing, social-networking, sports and travel sectors.  She has lived and worked in seven countries across four continents and has a working knowledge of Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish.   In addition, she has a keen interest in human behavioral studies, psychology and the sciences in general.

Stephen graduated from Cambridge  University with a BA in Computer Science.  He relocated from the UK to theUS  eleven years ago.  Stephen is also an amateur photographer and has a general interest in psychology (Jungian) and science in general.

Lillian is a PR professional with an MS in Marketing from  Baruch College.  Previously, she lived in Milan while taking graduate courses in International Health Care Management at  Bocconi University.  She also holds a BBA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from  Baruch College.  Lillian is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and knows basic Italian and Spanish.

4. Any difficulties you’ve experienced during the startup process of your social enterprise that you would like to share, any mistakes that you made which others could learn from?

Expecting things to happen a lot quicker than they actually do.  This brings on a lot of unnecessary stress and paves the way for bad decision making.  My advice for dealing with this is to realize that things will not get done any faster if we get stressed out and that we’re both hurting ourselves and our organization in the long run by getting all worked up about things over which we have no control.

For those people who need to see progress to feel accomplished, I would suggest starting several mini projects (of one business) with varying deadlines and/or progression speeds at the same time.  Then if one thing stalls, you can turn your attention onto another.

The other, better personal solution, is to work on maintaining a personal life outside of our business.  No matter how noble we think our cause may be, we are more likely to burn out and lose those who are important to us if that is the only source from which we derive personal satisfaction, connections with others, financial security, etc.

5. Any additional advice to pass on to budding social entrepreneurs?

As you can see, this question inspired a lot of advice.  I will also post this list on the Foundation’s FAQs page.  Thanks for the inspiration!

1) Figure out the most meaningful goals to YOU in life.
2) As a McKinsey senior partner once said, ruthlessly prioritize your time.
3) Find the right people to help you (Which involves first getting to know yourself very well, the positives and negatives, in order to know which personalities you get along with and what skills you need on your team.).
4) Be clear, with yourself as with others–don’t expect people to read your mind or intuit the meaning behind your words.
5) Trust your instincts.
6) Believe in actions, not words.

To read the rest of the best practices – click here. And if you would like your startup featured on f3fundit’s Startup Saturdays please send an e-mail to info@f3fundit.com

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