What makes for a great startup pitch?

I attended MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program in 2017 where we worked in teams to apply Bill Aulet’s ‘Disciplined Entrepreneurship’ process and pitched our start-ups at the end of a week. I’ve since attended start-up competitions at MIT and Babson and seen some fantastic pitches from undergraduates, graduates and alumni. The winners typically cover the following items:

1.      Tell a story to introduce the target customer, pain points and opportunity: Describe the target customer’s persona so that the audience feels connected with this person.

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Insights from Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, at MIT Entrepreneurship Development Program 2017

Thank you, Brian Halligan, for sharing your insights at #MITEDP 2017. Here are my takeaways:

1. Co-founder selection – 2-3 are ideal:

Find co-founders that share similar values and bring complementary skills / networks. It’s also highly beneficial to have industry representation for the problem you’re trying to solve. The ideal number of co-founders are 2-3 – A higher number of co-founders often results in “uninspired compromise” – compromising on choices only to build consensus, resulting in less effective decision-making.

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Apply ‘Sprint’ and ‘Disciplined Entrepreneurship’ frameworks to select a problem

At BonBillo, we apply frameworks from ‘Sprint’, authored by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz from Google ventures, and ‘Disciplined Entrepreneurship’ by Bill Aulet to go from a larger goal to selecting a specific problem to solve.

We follow the Sprint framework of mapping the larger problem (including the journey of key stakeholders), talking to experts, asking ‘how might we?’ questions (HMWs) and using votes through coloured sticky dots to identify interesting problem areas to focus on.

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