I spent a few hours yesterday at the Founders Conference, an event dedicated to teaching entrepreneurs the core skills needed to start a company. When Aaron Patzer spoke of Mint’s early days, he emphasized the importance of delivering an effective pitch. After all, it was his serendipitous dinner and 30 second pitch which landed him his first $750k check.

Throughout the event, the speakers focused the audience on the components of an effective pitch. The most effective venture pitches have:

  • a very brief introduction of the speaker
  • a clear need/problem
  • evidence that the problem presents a $1B+ market opportunity
  • a viable solution to the problem
  • a revenue model
  • a distribution plan

Each of these elements should be a single sentence lasting about 7-10 seconds for a total pitch length of 45-60 seconds. The most important characteristic of this anemic structure is the creation of a single story line with one message. That message paraphrased is “My team is uniquely positioned to solve a big problem representing a large revenue opportunity and you should invest.” Nothing more.

The pitch must be produced on demand, always with a demo and business plan within reach. The pitch is your chance for a first impression: make it count.