Year after year, the number of accelerators keeps plummeting and that directly affects the number of applicants.
For startups who experience explosive growth may experience more opportunities but it could also be a double-edged sword for those hoping to earn a spot in an accelerator as the competition also gets stiffer than ever.
In response to the increase in applicants into accelerator programs, these are now asking tougher questions: “What’s the business model?” “How close are you to revenue?” “How do we [investors] ultimately make money?” So, if you’re an applicant, you need to know the answers to these questions and also deliver them clearly, succinctly and articulately, in a way that sets you apart.
That’s a tall order, but if you follow these three key steps, you’ll be on your way to delivering an outstanding pitch
Focus on the facts and cut out the “maybes”
Most startups fail because they don’t solve a problem. 42% of startups go under because they do not meet a particular market need, according to an analysis by CB Insights.
Take for example – E-commerce startup, DealDey, which secured about $5 million shut down in the first week of December 2018, but other sources had revealed that it officially closed shop in 2015.
Accelerators want to be sure that there’s an actual customer need. It is critical. Don’t go reciting a laundry list of problems your solution MIGHT solve; focus on the most important one(s) instead — and give a detailed explanation of how you came to that conclusion.
Market research is the best way to prove your problem exists. Conduct surveys on pain points want and need by engaging directly with potential customers.
Accelerators take you more seriously when you come with hard research in hand.
Lay your cards on the table
Once they have a definite idea of the problem, accelerators want to know and understand your solution.
Sounds simple yet research by Marketing Experiments stated that many companies struggle to identify and properly articulate their value proposition.
A good value proposition is usually concrete yet easy to understand and unique; it doesn’t rely on superlatives, fluff, and jargon.
So present your solution, and more importantly, state what makes it stand out from all the other ones out there already.
Ideally, people should be able to understand your value proposition in no longer than five seconds.
Additionally, accelerators want to know what you bring to the table as the founder. They want to be sure that you’re an active participant and you add to the chemistry and culture.
Many accelerators specifically look for leaders who show up ready to roll up their sleeves and drive growth.
Stay on track and weave a story
There’s nothing worse than an applicant just rambles on and on. It is best you keep your pitch clear, simple and succinct.
You can even look at TED Talks for inspiration. Though most speakers on TED Talk pitch ideas rather than businesses, they are coached to become skilled and master storytellers.
Most talks are fairly brief and they’re also succinct which is very important. You can follow the format of TED Talks, revealing your big idea in the first two minutes.