Demo day pitch: make your 5 minutes memorable
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Demo day pitch: make your 5 minutes memorable

Hi, everyone. I’m Donna Griffit and I’m
a corporate storyteller, which basically means
that for the past decade, I’ve roamed the globe helping
people get their story straight and sound great telling
it, taking boring data and kind of turning it
into exciting presentations and documents that really
people understand and get the results you’re driving for. I’ve helped startups raise
tens of millions of dollars, and there’s nothing
more exciting for me than helping them get to
the core of their story and really get their results. Today, we’re going to talk
about a demo day pitch. Now, there’s a big difference
between an investor pitch and a demo day pitch. When it’s demo day, you
have about five minutes, give or take, to really wow
your audience, put on a show, and be a rock star. You’re up against a
lot of other people, and you want to be memorable. So we’re going to talk about
the content and the delivery of a demo day pitch to kind of
get you ready for your big day. We’re not attempting to tell
the entire story of our startup. There’s just no way to
do that in five minutes. We want to intrigue them. We want to kind of get into
their mind, get them excited, and get the next meeting. So where do we start? Well, obviously, you want
to introduce yourself. But there’s really no need
to go too long into that. So say who you are. And if you had any
big achievements or any big traction– you
already have customers, you have downloads,
something exciting– you’ve won a prize maybe–
you can go ahead and say that at the beginning. Quickly as possible, you
want to get to the pain. You want people to
actually feel, ouch, there’s a real problem out there
that you’re going to solve. But before you can talk
about your solution, you need to get them very
clear on the fact that there is a problem. There is a gap. So talk about the need. Talk about the challenge. Talk about the gap out there,
the missed opportunity. So it could either be
pain, or it can be, ah! Hallelujah! We’ve seen the light! There’s something that your
audience is like, oh gosh, I can’t believe I
didn’t think of that. We want that right now. And either one of those
gets them excited. It’s kind of at the beginning
of an action adventure film where you meet the villain at
the beginning or a villainous act– an explosion, a
kidnapping, a murder– and it keeps you on the
edge of your seat. That’s what you want. So less than a minute
is devoted to that. Then you can talk
about your solution. Now, this is not
the place to get too technical and
too detail-oriented. You want to be
able to say what it is that you do in
very simple language. We do X for Y by Z– so
as simple as you can. And then as quickly as possible,
move on to an impressive demo. You can stand talking about
your solution for an hour, or you can show a
minute long demo. And what do you think is
going to be more impressive? Obviously the demo. So prepare a little short film,
some screenshots, even reenact something there–
anything that it takes to really get them to see. And remember, do your demo
from a first-time user’s perspective. They’ve never seen
your product before. So they want to understand what
the process of going through it is. So really give them– get
them excited about that. Let them see how
good it’ll look. Now that they know
about the problem you’re solving and
about your solution, it’s time to talk a little
bit about the market. Now, in a five
minute presentation, there’s no way that
you’re going to be able to hit what you would
in an entire business presentation to an investor. So there’s three main things
that I’d like you to hit. One, differentiation. How do you really stand
out from your competitors? Now, it’s fine to
have competitors. It’s good to have competitors. It means that somebody
has recognized the need and they have users. And we never, ever want
to say something bad about our competitors
because you don’t know who might be in the
room that’s invested in them or that knows
somebody on the team. So we always will say, like,
my competitors are doing X and what we do is X,
Y, and Z. How cool! So you’re adding to
it and you’re really showing that you’ve
done your homework, you know your
competitive landscape, and you know what sets
you apart from the noise. Then we want to talk about
how we’re going to make money. You’re not just here
to impress people. You’re here to show them
that if they invest in you, they will definitely
make a return on it. So you want to talk
about the business model. Now, people at this point
of an early stage startup don’t necessarily know
the business model that they’re going
to eventually use. So it’s OK not to be 100% sure. But you could do a
little bit of homework and see what the best fit is. Is it freemium? Is it ad based? Is it a marketplace? Is it a rev share? Whenever you think
fits your product most. And you can kind of talk
about a subscription, how much you’d be charging. No need to go into
big projections of how much money
you’re going to make. It sounds a little bit
silly at this point to start going off on that. So just keep it very simple. Finally, we want to touch
on the opportunitization. It sounds better
with monetization and differentiation. So go with me on this. We want to touch on the market. What is the market
you’re addressing? Now, it’s not just the
addressable market. It’s not just, oh my gosh,
this is a billion market with billions of users. We want to talk about
what’s really unique here. What’s happening now? What’s the opportunity? What’s shifted in
the technologies? What’s shifted in the economy? What’s shifted with users that
really makes you something that they need? Have there been any mergers
or acquisitions in your field? Have people been invested
in your competitors? Something that really proves,
hey, there’s a need for this. We need to jump
on this bandwagon and you need to invest
in us to help us do it. So there you go. There’s the business. Now it’s time to circle back. And you can talk about the team. Now, this is not
the time where you want to read everybody’s CVs. It’s really nice that you want
to give your team their credit. But again, you only
have five minutes. Keep reminding yourself of that. So you can just say,
our team is made up of technical and business
and marketing and design. And we all have what it takes
to really make this happen. And if you have somebody
with special skills, you can point that out. But you’re trying to establish
credibility and likeability so that they see a team that really
has the chops and someone that looks like a really nice
bunch of people to work with. Because remember, once
they’ve invested in you, it’s kind of like a marriage. They’re going to come to
all your family events and they’re going
to kind of be there in the background,
the kind of rich uncle that’s sitting there
making the calls. So they want to know that you’re
a good person to be married to. All right, now that we’ve
got the content down, let’s talk about your slides. It’s impossible for you to have
a really great looking product and shoddy looking slides. There’s just absolutely
no excuse for that. Your slides are
your business card. It’s the first thing
that they’re going to see and you want them to
look as great as you do and your product does. There’s a lot of
online products that’ll help you make your
slides look better that don’t cost a lot of money. If you have a
designer on your team, hey, let them take the slides
and work some magic on them. Now, your delivery
itself– this is not the time to be a wallflower. This is not the time to
say, well, I’m not an actor. I’m a little bit shy. That has to go away. You need to be at your best. You need to be memorable. You need to really
make this happen. And if you yourself are not
the best presenter, then maybe you want to think about
asking one of the team members that are really great presenter
that has great presence onstage and really make them remember. You have to sound passionate. You can’t stand there
saying, oh, well, we have a great product
and then expect people to get excited about it. That doesn’t exactly work. So get up there and
give it your all. And as a last point
for today, you want to walk in the
room at your best. This is the first time
they’re seeing you. As far as they’re concerned,
what they see is what they get. They don’t know that you only
slept two hours last night because you had a big bug
that you were solving. And they don’t know that you
sat in traffic for two hours. And they don’t
know that you just had a big fight
with your partner. All they see is you. And you want to be at your best. You want to be at your
friendliest, at your perkiest. You want them to
see, this is a person that I want to invest
in for the long run. Good luck to everybody. And if there’s anything
I can do to help you, my contact information
is on the slide. You can find me on Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever. I want to wish you a lot
of luck with your pitches, with your startups,
and with everything. And I hope we get to
meet in the future. Thanks.

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38 thoughts on “Demo day pitch: make your 5 minutes memorable

  1. Good work there Donna. Thanks for educating us on how to make our 5 minutes memorable in just 8.44 minutes:)
    I am in the process of designing something cool. If I ever need venture capital, you are the first person I will get in touch with but what bothers me is, after 5 months, your video has only got around 2700 views while some really useless videos on here get thousands of views in the first month.

  2. Yes, perfect video! i feel more confident about my pitch tomorrow after going through things with you. THANK YOU

  3. Thank you for your video. it's really helpful. I hope I can be a great presenter just like you did in this video. Good luck!

  4. 5 STARS!! Short and to the point with fantastic suggestions. Thank You Donna, I will be contacting you soon for additional info.

  5. do you have any suggestion how to compress 5 minutes talk to 2 minutes? What should I throw away, what should I leave?

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