Three essential ways to get your tech startup across to an audience in your pitch

November 15, 2016 - Compiled by Sharon Steely for CHTM


The "Rise of the Rest" pitch competition tour made a stop in Albuquerque on October 6, 2016, where eight Albuquerque startups competed for a $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case. Innobright Technologies, which is marketing University of New Mexico technology to improve video animation rendering, earned the prize from Steve Case's Revolution Growth investment firm for "its compelling technology and market potential," said Case. 1

2015's $100,000 winner from Portland, Maine,, used an analogy to explain what they do: Rapport said they were "like the Quickbooks of sustainability tracking." Another example of this kind of explanation is: "LinkedIn is like the Facebook for professionals." 2

1) The first step is to find an analogy to quickly frame for your audience what your startup is about.

Pitches are often given in a very short time frame to an audience that has little or no background information on your product. Even a potential Venture Capitalist or buyer may not be familiar with your technology and the need for it. The sooner a listener says to themself, "I get it," the sooner they can consider buying or investing.

2) A pain point makes the need for your product very clear.

A short, compelling story with emotional resonance can get your audience to "feel the pain" and very quickly connect with the need for your new technology. A pitch may also include a story that describes a character that has a unique need for your product. Slack describes itself as alleviating the pain of email. Slack can share statistics in its pitch showing how much time is wasted on email, and any business owner can relate to a productivity issue costing them money. 3

3) Analyze the competition.

List the key competitors and show how your approach is different. This quickly places your product in a market context and shows that your startup fulfills a proven need better than others. Many new technologies are actually pretty iterative. An advance in one area leads to advances in another.

Taking this approach shows that your product is innovative and well-placed to enter the market. 3

Bonus points: Fill in the details after they "get it."

Quite simply, the blog says your audience should "get it" in about 90 seconds from when you start speaking. 2 After achieving clarity on your startup concept, the audience uses the details to fill in the picture. The details in proper context will not confuse the audience as to what the purpose of your company or product actually is, which can be a pitfall of diving into details before the audience makes that connection.

  • Visualize the kinds of customers who will purchase your product and talk to them.
  • Describe what makes your product unique and how your product solves a problem better than the competition.
  • Use a professional, crisp, branded look in your slide deck and any materials to convey your seriousness as a professional entering the market.
  • Describe the business model and explain how investors will make their money.

Finally, practice your pitch until you are very comfortable with it, especially if you are not used to public speaking.


  1. Rise of the Rest pulls into Albuquerque, republished at from an article by Kevin-Robinson Avila, Albuquerque Journal.
  2. Learning to Pitch from Rise of the Rest, from the
  3. 3 Critical Elements of a Killer Tech Pitch, from the