What are 3 essential components of a great elevator pitch?


Whether it is pitching to an investor, customer and your friends a well constructed and thought out elevator pitch can make all the difference. What are some of the key components that need to be included in great elevator pitches? If anyone have any DEMO type experience etc I would really like to get to know what you think.


asked Oct 12 '09 at 04:11
Usman Sheikh
1,728 points

10 Answers


Value proposition.
Revenue model.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 05:52
784 points


The word YOU counts for 100 more points than the word WE.

"We're developing a process to save money on domestic air travel." 5 points.


"We're developing a process to save you money on domestic air travel." 105 points, and ears perk up.

(YOU = you, your, yours)
(WE = me, I, mine, our, we're, you get the picture)

Here's a good tool for analyzing your page or phrase's focus: http://www.futurenowinc.com/wewe.htm

answered Oct 12 '09 at 06:02
41 points


Every sentence you say should have a fact about your business. Do NOT use marketing talk.

"We're going to change the world through a new innovative approach."

That sentence says absolutely nothing about your idea. Time is a factor, so keep it straightforward and to the point. You don't have words to waste in an elevator pitch.

And always remember, many investors and vc's specifically say they often fund because of the founder(s) and not the idea.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 04:40
71 points


I presented at DEMO in 2006.

The keys to an elevator pitch are:
- be brief
- get straight to the point
- start with who you are (so that you establish credibility)
- make sure you start with the problem you're solving
- articulate why your solution solves that problem
- plan on being done in less than 60 seconds. An elevator pitch (as opposed to a real pitch or a stage demo) is usually done at a conference or a cocktail party. You will be interrupted if you're not quick. Your goal isn't to tell the whole story - it's to garnish enough interest for a follow up meeting.
- practice. people elevator pitch me all the time (I'm now a VC). Most are unfocused and don't get to the point quickly enough. Someone else walks up.

I did a blog post on the topic here: The Elevator Pitch and on that link you'll also find a video on the topic that I did on Fox Business News.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 17:21
Mark Suster
545 points


Before you get to the elevator pitch, you really need to understand your business. Doing that requires figuring out the three most important documents for any startup: Executive Summary, Pitch and Financial Model. Check out this post for my take on how they should be done.

Once you have that, the the elevator pitch will flow easily. The basic job of the elevator pitch is to get you the next meeting. It has to hit hard and quick and leave them curious and wanting more.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 04:43
Jarie Bolander
91 points


The person who mentioned avoid marketing talk is spot on, I hear so many people do their 30 second pitch and still have zero idea what their product does.

  • What the huge problem you are solving?
  • What is your solution?
  • Why is it so valuable?

The other reason to practice over and over is so that it doesn't sound rehearsed, it should just be second nature to you.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 06:48
Big Startups
124 points


I would say that if you are 'pitching' verbally to a group of people who have been hearing other peoples pitches then the three most important things would be

  1. Grab Attention by simplified value proposition
  2. Scale the solution in their minds by pointing out existing demand or new market creation in as few words a possible.
  3. Refine and repeat keywords.

However if you had to pitch by email that would be a whole differnt story. Read more on email pitching here

answered Oct 12 '09 at 08:14
547 points


Having been on stage at a conference like DEMO and having pitched to countless VCs, the secret is very simple: show traction and no one else will care about your presentation tricks.

If customers are signing up in droves to use your product, you have traction.

If angels are signing up in droves to join your angel round, you have traction.

Anything else is just tricks and the people you are pitching to are smart enough to know it.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 08:29
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points


You want to make it personal. This relates to the good comment above about the use of "you". If you only have a few moments of someone's time, the only goal is to get them to think "hmm, interesting". If you can do that, you can get a second conversation, which is the real goal. You might do that by hooking them with the market opportunity, with a good positioning statement, with a problem you know they relate to, or a great fact. Lots of ways of starting.

Something that hasn't been mentioned--but which is crucial--is practice. Give your elevator pitch to EVERY person who will listen. Even your dog. 1. Pitch 2. Read (the audience's response) 3. Refine. No matter where the quality of your pitch starts, if you rapidly iterate you'll end up with a good "hook" after 50+ pitches (and a great one after 100+).

answered Oct 12 '09 at 06:17
21 points


An articulated guide to pitches is the excellent book [Made to Stick][1], which not only gives you examples, but also reasons for, and statistical and experimental studies. Taking the user’s perspective is non trivial, say Dan & Chip Heath, because you are under the “Curse of Knowledge”: it is very hard for you and your team to look at your product from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about it, if you don’t dedicate some time to this.

answered Oct 20 '09 at 01:23
Pietro Polsinelli
125 points

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