With a number of startup pitch events scheduled over the next few weeks, it’s a good time to think through when it’s best to go on the pitching tour. Most events have an element of startup theatre, so the first thing to do is to evaluate the opportunity cost of attending another event vs. making more progress on internal goals and priorities. Assuming there’s an overall fit, here are a few items to think through when considering applying to pitch at a startup event:
- Fundraising – Is there a desire to raise money and the corresponding metrics to warrant investment? Too often, entrepreneurs head to pitch events in an effort to raise money, but don’t have the corresponding business metrics. If the metrics are strong, pitch events are a good way to showcase them and tell a compelling story.
- Lead Generation – With a broadly applicable product, pitch events can be a great way to generate leads. Similar to the idea of asking VCs for intros to portfolio companies, ask the audience for leads.
- Recruiting – Finding great talent is always a challenge, especially during high growth stages. Pitch events can be a good way to spread the word and find new candidates.
If you ask an entrepreneur why they do pitch events, outside of trying to raise money, the most common answer is networking. Entrepreneurs, generally, are pretty social and want to meet other people, especially other people that can help them achieve their dreams. Naturally, there are a number of other networking events beyond pitch competitions.
For entrepreneurs considering pitch events, evaluate the current business goals, and make sure that the time commitment is worthwhile.
What else? What are some other thoughts on when to pitch at startup events?