Coffee courage to pitch a startup

Coffee courage to pitch a startup

They say everyone's got a story, but does everyone have a startup idea? Cloud software company MYOB is about to find out as it gives Wellington pedestrians a chance to put their entrepreneurial ideas forward tomorrow - dangling the carrot of a free coffee.

MYOB will hit up passers by outside Associated Audio on Customhouse Quay and give them a taste of what it's like to pitch. But they'll only have 20 seconds to impress to get the coffee, says national sales manager Scott Gardiner.

“How many times have you been pondering the next big thing on your way to work or that idea that might get you into business?,” he says.

Gardiner says MYOB is hoping to learn about some exciting business ideas, but also to hear why people love their work.

For those who want to hone the art of pitching, startup mentor and investor Dave Moskovitz offers the following tips:

1. Always start with your name and the name of your business, and enunciate very clearly. It’s really basic advice but you'd be surprised how many people don't get this right, and have left me thinking - who was that and what was their business called?

2. Establish rapport with your audience - look them in the eye, and send out your love. You're doing this because you believe in it. If not, you should probably be doing something else or talking to someone else.

3. What's your vision/strapline? Whatever you're doing, it's to solve a real world problem. Focus on the why or the end state, not the how or the process. Make sure your passion shines through.

4. What is it about your team or product that makes it unavoidably attractive? Kiwis are prone to underselling themselves, but the pitch is the not the time to be modest. Don't lie or overextend the truth, but everyone and everything has some kernel of underlying awesome - leave your audience in no doubt as to what that is.

5. End with a positive call to action - no ask, no get. Frame it with urgency (not desperation) in the sense that they'll be missing out if they don't act. Do what you can to make it easy to say yes and hard to say no.