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Evaluating Your Startup Pitch Without Even Seeing It

Your presentation doesn’t do justice to your accomplishments

I recently was on a judging panel where we heard nine 3-minute pitches.

While I had distinct notes for each founder, there was a lot of commonality.

From this, I have designed a self-assessment pitch rating scheme and instruction manual. You may retake the test after making improvements to get a better score.

Question 1: What is the most impressive thing your startup has done?

If there is a clear slide explaining this in the first 25 seconds of your talk, give yourself a point and go on to the next question. If not, give yourself a zero until you fix it.

Question 2: What have you done with customers?

If you LOIs, active users, a waiting list, or at least 100 customer interviews and you have a slide describing it in the first 60 seconds, give yourself a point and go on to the next question. If not, give yourself a zero until you fix it.

Question 3: For whom are you a better choice than the alternatives?

Take a full ten minutes running a web search to find out what the best-known alternatives are. If you have a slide that makes it clear why domr would be better off with your offering for whom, give yourself a point and go on to the next question. If not, give yourself a zero until you fix it.

Question 4: What is the size and nature of your initial market (SOM)?

If you have a slide that has a dollar value and clear targetable identification of who these users are, and it is not “a small undifferentiated percentage of a big number” give yourself a point and go on to the next question. If not, give yourself a zero until you fix it.

Question 5: What makes your team especially qualified to do this?

If you have a slide with names, clear pictures, and a couple of bullets of the qualification of each team member, and that slide doesn’t include your advisors, and you don’t talk about “combined years of experience,” give yourself a point and go on to the next question. If not, give yourself a zero until you fix it.

Question 6: What should the audience do?

If you have a really clear ask (eg: money and what you will accomplish with it, introductions to early adopters, advisors with particular skills, bing an early adopter etc.), along with your contact information (yourname@yourwebsite, not “hello” at, not a generic email domain; along with your phone number), give yourself a point and go on to to the next question. If not, give yourself a zero until you fix it.

Scoring

A four is passing, but fix it until you get a six. If you have a three or less, you are probably needless wasting everyone’s time.

Why be a hero when you be a zero?

The median score for presenters I have seen this month is zero. Just like last month. And the month before.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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