Join a startup pitch competition

Seriously. Startup Pitch Competitions are hot.

Entrepreneurs, investors, the press and even the corporates love them. This makes sense, as it’s a great place to expand your network and create new business opportunities.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to participate in a startup pitch competition. After all, you’re revealing some company details an audience which potentially includes competitors.

The benefits of a startup pitch competition

At PitchSkills we’re big fans of startup pitch competitions. In our opinion you should always participate in a startup pitch competition if you have the chance. Here’s why you should participate in a startup pitch competition:

#1 You raise awareness amongst potentials partners and investors

#2 You create free publicity for your product of service

#3 You improve yourself as a public speaker

#4 You will increase your network with valuable people


As you just learned, participating in a startup pitch competition brings you many benefits. Now you know that you should participate, it’s time to learn how you can actually win one.

Is your startup ready to pitch?

How to win a startup pitch competition?


If you don’t feel like reading the entire article, here are the 7 steps to win a startup pitch competition.

#1 Research the competition and its contesters

When you participate in a startup pitch competition, you have to figure out what the competition is all about. Research the website and read all the articles you can find about them. There a few things you want to be looking for:

Who are the winners of previous editions? Why did they win?

What type of contesters made it to the finals? Does your startup fit in there?

#2 Research the jury

When you know a little bit more about the competition and its contesters, it’s time to research the jury. After all, they are the ones who decide on the winner. Figure out the following things:

  • What is their area of expertise?
  • What type of feedback did they give to contesters during previous editions?
  • Are they entrepreneurs themselves? Can you include one of the companies of a jury member as a potential customer in your pitch?

Try to get a grip on the type of persons who are in the jury. If they’re all tech experts, you can be sure that they’ll be asking about your tech infrastructure. Prepare for tough questions on their areas of expertise.


#3 Create slick pitch slides

The slides you need during a startup pitch competition are different than the slides you need for an investor meeting.

During an investor meeting you usually present your pitch deck, whereas during a startup pitch competition your slides should be less detail orientated.

Nice high definition pictures without any text on it are the key to a visual attractive startup pitch. Simply use one picture on full screen size per slide and you will be good to go.

Since a regular pitch consists of 6 building blocks, you should have 6 slides and therefore you will need 6 pictures.

There are numerous websites you can use to find beautiful royalty free stock photos to include in your pitch. A few examples:

  1. Unsplash (free)
  2. Pexels (free)
  3. Shutterstock

#4 Craft a slick pitch

Since most startup pitch competitions limit your pitch time to 2 or 3 minutes, you should keep it short.. You don’t have time to go over every detail. Therefore, it’s best to stick to the following 6 topics.


  1. The opening– A few words which catch the attention of the investor
  2. The problem– What is the problem your company is trying to solve?
  3. The solution– How do you solve this problem?
  4. The business model– How many potential customers are out there? And how many have you already captured?
  5. The team– What are is the skillset of your team? Do you have experience in this field?
  6. The call to action– What do you want from the investor? What does he get in return?


Use this startup pitch competition template to create the perfect pitch.


#5 Practice your pitch

When you completed al prior steps, it’s time for the most important part of your preparation: practicing your pitch.

Practice your pitch with these 9 steps:

  1. Read your text
    2. Cover your text and replicate it in your head
    3. Practice your text out loud. Use a voice recorder to see how you are doing
    4. Add your speaking legend. Practice your pitch with the right intonation, volume and silences
  2. Practice in front of a mirror
    6. Practice in front of the camera of your phone
    7. Watch the video to see where you can improve
    8. Watch the video without sound on to see where you can improve
    9. Show the video to a friend or colleague


If you want more help with practicing your pitch, check out the full article on pitch practicing.


#6 Master your body language

Your body language is one of the most important aspects of your startup competition pitch.

According to public speaking expert Paul Finkelstein about 55% of a presentation is non verbal, 33% is tone of voice and only 12% is content.

Your body language beats your content.

Is your startup ready to pitch?

#7 Finish it with mind-blowing answers during the Q&A

Most startup pitch competitions schedule a few minutes of questions and answers after your pitch. This is the moment where jury members have the opportunity to fire with difficult questions. Unfortunately, this is where most pitchers go wrong. 

When they get faced with tough questions they don’t know what to say and they start rambling. You can prevent this by preparing your Q&A by following these steps:

  1. Take a new text document and write down all possible questions you can think off
  2. Demonstrate your pitch to a few friends or colleagues and have them write down some questions as well.
  3. Take a new text document and write down a few topics which are really positive about your idea of company. Take your unique selling points.
  4. Write down why you unique selling points are so nice and how they can benefit the listener.
  5. For every question, use one or more focus points and blend them in.
  6. Study your Q&A and make sure you have a positive answer for everything

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