How to Prepare for and Win a Pitch Competition

The second annual SXSW V2Venture pitch competition took place on Wednesday, July 16 in Las Vegas. During this no-holds-barred, Vegas-style pitch competition, a live audience, along with a panel of expert judges, discovered advancements in various sectors of emerging technology. Following the competition, the winning companies were announced at the SXSW V2Venture Awards Ceremony.

Perkins Coie sponsored the Mobile and Tablet Technologies category of the competition, which encompasses mobile applications and technologies that allow users to connect by portable devices such as tablets, phones, and other connected devices.

I caught up with the founders of Crowd Mics, who won the Mobile and Tablet Technologies category of the competition, to provide some insight on how to prepare and win pitch competitions.

What type of preparation was key to Crowd Mics winning the pitch category?

We launched Crowd Mics at the LAUNCH Festival in February, which was similar in format. To participate there, we had to go through multiple rehearsals and coaching sessions to hone our pitch. This preparation gave us the confidence and experience to perform well on stage at SXSW. In addition, we just practiced like crazy. We would run through the two minute pitch dozens of times so that we could deliver it cold, in front of tired three year-olds, in an earthquake under spit wad fire! Practice, practice, practice.

What was the best advice you received from an advisor or coach?

Tell the story and show the product. Judges, investors, customers, and media are all human beings, they connect with stories. Our advisors emphasized that we need to not talk about features as much as how our product will make their lives better. And we always try to show Crowd Mics live. This was a challenge in 120 seconds but we made it work.

What aspect of your pitch do you think most swayed the judges to vote for you?

I think it was a combination of a few factors. We had some experience and had practiced, so our pitch was pretty straightforward, understandable, and hopefully compelling. But at the end of the day, Crowd Mics is a cool service. People literally talk into their phone and their voice is heard over the sound system! We are fortunate to blow minds just about everywhere we go. The judges got Crowd Mics immediately and see the potential.

The winners at SXSW V2Venture provide key guidance on how to prepare and win upcoming pitch competitions.

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