The Art of Judging: Five Points that WeXchange Panels Will Consider when Selecting the Best Pitch
By Marta Cruz, Co-founder, NTXP Labs
Contests and competitions generate immediate and extra value for your startup, and provide the possibility of having a lot of eyes focused on your project.They are also a shortcut to getting to know investors who might invest in your company in the near future, enabling you to roll out your expansion plan.
The keys to winning a competition depend a lot on what you know about the competition itself. Knowing what you’ll be evaluated on and who will be evaluating you is fundamental to good performance in both the first elimination round and the final competition.
The aim of WeXchange is to identify innovative women entrepreneurs with great potential in the region, allow them to compete, not against each other but with themselves, to achieve the best possible version of themselves and their project.Its ultimate aim is to ensure that, at the end of this process, everyone involved, conference participants, semifinalists, and finalists alike, take away something of value and come out with an enriched perspective. To this end, the judges will be looking at specific points in order to grade the entrepreneurs and their projects.
Here are the five points that the judges—professionals and proven investors, carefully chosen for this purpose—will be evaluating after each encounter:
In the early stages, investors invest in people. Because of that, the judges pay particular attention to the “Founding Team.” What should this team look like? Multidisciplinary and complementary, with the capacity to implement. That is, juries have to see a team that is capable of achieving what it sets out to do and that what it sets out to do is ambitious enough.
2. Market Validation
Here, they will be looking at how much you know about the market that you’re competing in—your ability to recognize and describe the problem that you are solving. Knowing the competition and the competitor is fundamental.
It is important that you define the product well so that the panel can determine whether the product responds innovatively to the market problem that it is attempting to solve. Therefore, having a functional MVP is crucial.
4. Business Model
Clarity on how you will be earning money is an asset. If you’ve already performed the initial market tests, even better! If you know the customer cost of acquisition and your customer lifetime value, the possibilities of making it all the way to the end of the competition increase and last, but not least, the business model should be scalable in various latitudes, that is, it should have global, or at least regional, reach.
5. Soft Skills
The entrepreneur should be assertive and clear when speaking of her startup. What the panel will be asking among themselves is if the entrepreneurs are capable of “selling” the vision of the company. Besides, the entrepreneur must be able to position herself as the leader of the team.
That said, I would like to offer a few words of advice to the contestants:
● Research all the panelists in advance, who they are, what are their skills and areas of expertise, if they have invested in companies previously and if so, in which companies. Connect with them on Linkedin.
● Work on your elevator pitch, keep it in 140 characters.
● Prepare a three-minute presentation, on power point or a similar program, in which you can present the problem, the market, the solution, the team, the business model, and what you’re asking for.
● In addition, develop a more detailed presentation which should include more information about the market, the financing model, and further details about the solution/platform.
● Include pinpoints of milestones that are memorable in the presentation.
● Don’t be afraid to be pushy, and if you don’t like being pushy, be humorous. It’s another good strategy to capture their attention and be remembered.
● Practice your pitch until your’re tired of listening to yourself! Practice and then again and again, in front of a mirror, in front of your team, your friends, family members, and your pet, if you have one.
Finally, DON’T BE AFRAID TO DREAM, OR TO FAIL!
See you at WeXchange!
#focus #consistency #passion
Marta Cruz is Co-Founder of NXTP Labs, one of the most active technology investment funds in Latin America with a portfolio of more than 150 startups. Promoting equal opportunities, leads the initiative for the creation of Day of the Woman Entrepreneur in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to NXTP Labs Marta founded Nextperience, a digital performance agency and lead Regional Sales for MRM in Latin America. Marta has a Business Administration Degree from Buenos Aires University.