5:30-6:30 p.m. Optional dinner with the judges (KJ Red Pit)
6:30-8:30 p.m. Workshop and Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Plans (KJ Red Pit)
8:30-11 p.m. Office hours for consulting on business plans and pitches (KJ Atrium)
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Office hours for consulting on business plans and pitches (KJ Atrium)
12:30-1 p.m. Break for Lunch
1-5 p.m. Office hours for consulting on business plans and pitches (KJ Atrium)
5 - 6:30 p.m. Break for Dinner
6:30-11 p.m. Business Pitches and Presentations (KJ Red Pit)
11 a.m-1:30 p.m. Honorable Mention "Best of the Rest" Award and Finalist Business Pitches and Presentations (KJ Red Pit)
2 p.m. Finalist Announcements of Results and Prizes (KJ Red Pit)
Last spring, students and alumni took the opportunity to put their business ideas and proposals to the test through the Pitch Competition. The competition attracted 21 teams vying for $10,000 worth of prizes that were awarded by a panel of judges to the strongest ideas and the best presenters. More ...
A few details on how the competition is going to work. There are very few rules to the competition:
1. This competition is open to any team containing at least one current Hamilton student or Hamilton alumni from the past 10 years.
2. At least one member of the team is required to attend a mentoring session on Friday or Saturday.
Teams are encouraged to arrive on campus Friday evening for the workshop.
By Mark Kasdorf '06
This is kind of a tough question to answer succinctly. For the sake of trying to be complete, I’m going to break the ‘pitch’ into categories. Further, I will premise that every business known to man from GM to IBM to Burning Hollow Technologies can be pitched in each of these styles.
The situation is you are sitting in an elevator and you see Warren Buffet. Warren is getting off in 10 floors and you have roughly 30 seconds to pitch the business you have started that just needs $250k to get off the grand.
It’s a bit melodramatic, but the concept is real. Once you buy into the concept that you can and should start your own venture, these situations repeat with uncanny frequency. I once met a VC that I had been wanting to meet in a Starbucks in Cambridge. He was leaving and I was entering. I stopped him, introduced myself, and gave my 30 second pitch. Two weeks later I was in a board room giving 30 minute pitch.
I kind of made up the name limo pitch, but the concept is easy to grasp. You are sharing a taxi ride from the airport with Warren Buffet this time, and you have 5-10 minutes in which he is a captive audience. You get to elaborate a bit more, but it still goes by like lightening.
This will be the format of the competition. You’ll have roughly 10 minutes (including questions) to present your business. The only difference is we will allow visual props (a slide deck), whereas in real life, you likely wouldn’t have them.
This is the big one. The other two are only supposed to lead to this. This is what the grand prize is. A real pitch before a real VC in Boston. My shortest pitch was 36 minutes. In and out, they weren’t very interested. My longest, over two hours. You leave feeling wrung out and ready to run a marathon. It’s incredible.
I’m going to leave you with a video of Guy Kawasaki. In case you didn’t he know, he started his career at Apple in 1984, and is currently a Silicon Valley VC. He sums up my philosophy for pitching at all levels very nicely. In fact, I took it from him. I actually live by this for presentations of all types, not just pitches.
Update: Upon rereading this entry, I think it’s good, but I wanted to make a point. Pitching is not just for investors. I pitch every day to vendors, customers, potential team members, etc. I’ve given examples below highlighting investors, but the ability to pitch is far more important than just that application. Heck every interview you attend boils down to your ability to pitch yourself.
Michael has more than 35 years of experience as a businessman, professional investor and lawyer engaged in corporate finance, mergers and acquisition and corporate restructuring. He has been a principal in a numerous business ventures, including venture capital, private equity investments and LBOs in a variety of areas including healthcare, healthcare services, healthcare IT, healthcare finance, life sciences, medical equipment and disposables, general IT services, office and communications equipment, consulting, business process outsourcing, soft drink bottling and financial services.
Michael has held a position at a leading private equity fund, and currently holds the title of management partner at Meacham Woodfield LLC, a boutique investment bank/private equity/VC shop.
Hedy has more than 25 years of experience leading IT organizations for some of the world’s largest businesses. Her career includes top level positions in healthcare, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and energy companies operating on a worldwide basis. Ms. Foreman has reviewed and analyzed numerous potential acquisition targets for her employers and led the integration and consolidation of a wide variety of acquired businesses.
Hedy has held a position at a leading private equity fund, and currently holds the title of management partner at Meacham Woodfield LLC, a boutique investment bank/private equity/VC shop.
Prithvi Tanwar is a corporate lawyer at Foley Hoag LLP. His practice focuses on serving as general counsel to early stage technology companies on corporate matters and related legal issues that affect technology start-ups from formation through financing and eventually to an exit event. Prithvi also routinely works with U.S. and foreign-based venture capital firms and angel investors on financing transactions with their portfolio companies. Prior to becoming an attorney, Prithvi was co-founder of an early stage technology venture and spent several years as a management and technology consultant helping Fortune 500 clients implement information technology solutions and refine their business processes. He regularly mentors early stage entrepreneurs and is routinely invited to speak publicly on issues facing early stage technology companies.