10 Tips for Acing Your Startup Pitch

We’re one step closer to awarding $1.5M in equity-free prizes as this year’s Boston cohort enters into pre-final judging!

This week, teams have the opportunity to meet with experts from the community to share their impact and highlight recent growth. It’s one of the most-exciting parts of the program… and arguably the most-nerve-wracking.

To ensure startups are set up for success, pitch extraordinaire Stuart @ PitchDNA offers these words of wisdom:

1) Over-prepare – rehearse at least 5-10 times daily before your pitch—really. Work to keep it conversational and loose, and remember, it’s an art—not a performance. Your job is to make the pitch disappear.

2) Practice the Q&A – have your team members ask thoughtful questions and have them time you to see how long it takes to respond. You’ll want to keep things tight; 15 seconds is ideal.

3) Get ready for the technology to fail – avoid the panic by bringing extra cables, batteries, printed materials, and even plan for when the lights go out. When you’re prepared for failures, there won’t be any surprises!

4) Make sure you have the final word – before you leave the room, remind judges why you’re there and what you’re committed to creating. Don't end with “thank you;” end with: "we are here to make an impact! Aren't you?”

5) Manage your energy – it’s important to hydrate and get a good night’s sleep.

6) Celebrate – look, it's been a stressful few months. Go out to dinner, celebrate... whatever you do after you pitch, make it fun. You deserve it!

7) Eat an apple 20 to 30 minutes before you go in – the natural enzymes will keep you pitch perfect.

8) Remember to breathe – a few deep breaths can help any entrepreneur manage their nerves. Reframe the emotions as something positive. You’re not nervous—you’re excited!

9) Ask yourself the tough questions – why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for? Why does it matter? Wait for the answers—they might surprise you.

10) Be grateful – it’s taken a lot to get you to this point. Be thankful for the chance to pitch, to have the support from mentors, investors, partners and fellow entrepreneurs. Be thankful that you have this opportunity and that you have a chance to be a part of a community that is making a difference.


About Stuart:
Stuart gives talks and leads sessions at universities, startup incubators, private equity firms, law firms, tech companies and global financial institutions. He’s been a Pitch Mentor at MassChallenge since 2012. Follow Stuart at @StuartPitch