In the fast-paced world of startups and innovation, the art of delivering a compelling pitch can make or break a young company’s trajectory. I recently had the privilege of attending two accelerator demo days, each with its unique format and style.
These experiences gave me valuable insights into what makes a pitch genuinely effective. In this blog post, I’ll share my observations and offer recommendations for delivering a pitch that captures the attention of investors and leaves a lasting impression.
The Port of Ashdod Accelerator: Standard Format vs. Effective Presentation
The first demo day I attended was hosted by the Port of Ashdod Accelerator, focusing on the supply chain domain and operated by 500 Startups. While the startups presented promising solutions, the format of their pitches raised some noteworthy points.
Team Introduction vs. Problem Statement:
In most pitches, the presenters began by highlighting a significant problem, followed by an introduction of the team. However, it’s worth noting that leading with the team can often be more effective, as investors prioritize the people behind the project.
Pitches in this accelerator had limited time, typically just a minute or two. This brevity allowed for only a high-level overview, making it challenging to grasp the full scope of the startup’s offering.
Limited Audience Interaction:
Questions from the audience were not part of the format, a common practice in many demo days. However, this limitation can hinder the opportunity to dive deeper into a startup’s presentation and clarify essential aspects.
While some startups mentioned revenue or other indicators, more detailed metrics would have clarified their progress.
None of the startups demonstrated their traction during the accelerator program, a valuable aspect that highlights what they achieved during this period.
The level of involvement and commitment from corporate partners or customers remained unclear. Whether pilots or collaborations had already occurred within the accelerator program was uncertain.
Call to Action:
Surprisingly, none of the startups included a call to action at the end of their pitches, which can be a valuable addition, though not always necessary.
None of the startups mentioned competitors, provided market comparisons, or demonstrated their current market position, essential aspects for understanding the competitive landscape.
The IAI + Starburst Demo Day: A Different Approach
In stark contrast, the demo day organized by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Starburst presented a completely different format.
The startups showcased:
Detailed Competitive Analysis: These startups included comprehensive competitive analyses, offering a precise market positioning.
TAM-SAM-SOM Market Analysis:
While lacking specific calculation formulas, these startups presented TAM (Total Addressable Market), SAM (Serviceable Addressable Market), and SOM (Serviceable Obtainable Market) analyses, providing valuable insights into market size and strategy.
Startups engaged in in-depth discussions with the audience, answering challenging questions and fostering a deeper understanding of their solutions.
Clear and specific traction metrics were shared despite all startups being at an early stage, not beyond the MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
Appropriate Pitch Length:
Pitches were the right length to convey the essence of each startup without overwhelming the audience.
Call to Action:
Specific calls to action were included, guiding potential investors and collaborators on the next steps.
The presentations lacked distracting music, lively intros, or unnecessary elements, focusing on the core content.
Choose the Effective Approach::
As a consultant, viewer, and entrepreneur, I recommend following the second model, even if an accelerator operator insists on a different format.
Detailed market analysis, engaging discussions, clear metrics, and a well-structured presentation can make all the difference.
While the first format may have its merits, transparency, and substance often win the day in the world of startup pitching.
After all, investors value clarity, engagement, and a well-thought-out strategy. So, as you prepare your pitch, consider the lessons learned from these two demo days and craft a presentation that genuinely stands out in the eyes of investors.