The right pitch can earn a startup everything from cash prizes and funding, to recognition and strategic partnerships. And Byron Shen, CEO of UCI Applied Innovation startup Velox Biosystems, has firsthand experience.
Hot off his recent win at the UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, Shen shared pitching tips in a lunch-and-learn event at the Cove @ UCI Applied Innovation.
“Being a startup is tough business. It’s like running an obstacle course, overcoming one challenge after another,” said Shen of the struggles that startups face. “And one of the biggest challenges is finding funding.”
A startup might have a great idea, an experienced team and a well-thought-out road map, but the real hurdle comes with getting their voice heard amid competitors and other startups.
“How do you differentiate yourself from the crowd and how do you really make your story stand out to make investors say ‘This is really interesting. I’m willing to take a look,’” Shen asked attendees.
While he does leverage his own unique background – a Ph.D. in chemistry and an MBA – Shen’s approach to creating the ideal pitch starts with building a core message and turning it into a compelling story.
Moreover, Shen believes that a good story and pitch deck should include the following 10 key elements:
1. The problem you are solving
2. The size of the opportunity
3. The level of the competition
4. Your solution and differentiation
5. Your team (i.e., strength, experience, etc.)
6. Current status (i.e., IP, early data, prototype, etc.)
7. High-level financials
8. Use of funding
9. Your road map (i.e., key milestones, timeline, etc.)
10. Potential future exits (and returns) for investors
Shen has followed this formula with great success to present Velox Biosystems in a way that, as he puts it, is “compelling, convincing and comprehensive enough” for investors and specific audiences to get the best understanding of what his company is doing and why they are unique.
From creating a compelling story to portraying passion, there is no end to the amount of pitching advice for entrepreneurs to take their startups to the next step.
To learn more about events at the Cove @ UCI, visit here.