Student Resources

Applying for the Pitch Competition? Here are Some Tips for Success.

The Blackstone LaunchPad Annual Pitch Competition application is now open. Whether you’ve been nominated to apply for our competition or have your eyes set on another organization’s pitch competition in your future, here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Hook the viewer.

Audiences have short attention spans. How many videos have you watched for ten seconds before moving on when it didn’t excite you?

The first few seconds of your pitch are your opportunity to excite the viewer and set the tone for the rest of your pitch. Do you have a surprising statistic, an interesting fact, or a punchy company description? Lead with that!

Once you have the viewer hooked, remember that people like stories. The more of a compelling, overarching narrative you can build, the better.

2. Review and respond to the criteria upon which you will be judged.

For the LaunchPad Pitch Competition, student ventures are judged on both the pitch quality and investability, which includes business model viability, innovation, market size, traction, team/founder. Does your pitch convey your success in each of these elements? If not, can you explain how you plan to address any perceivable gaps?

Also, make sure to clearly state and the important facts about you – your name, your company’s name, and where you are a student.

You can read more about the criteria in this video guideline document.

3. Remember, time is limited. Stick to the highlights instead of digging through the weeds.

You know every little detail of your company. That’s great! It’s part of what makes you a good founder.

But before adding intricate details of your supply chain or algorithm, take a step back and ask yourself, “Does the viewer need to know this detail to understand my company?”

You have a limited amount of time – only 60 seconds for LaunchPad – so make sure each second counts by being very selective and strategic about what information you include.

4. Think about the visual side of a video pitch

A lot can be conveyed visually. When filming, ask yourself some of these questions: Where are you filming this video, and what can we see in the background? How are you framed? How is the lighting? If you chose a virtual background, how does it relate to my company?

Read our full video guidelines here for suggestions about camera angle and position, lighting, background, editing, and more.

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Watch other successful pitch videos. What do they do that you like and want to emulate? What do you think they could have done better?

Once you know what you want to say, take the time to write a script for yourself. You don’t need to memorize it, and the more natural you sound the better – but you also don’t want to be improvising on the spot, which can lead to you filling your time with unnecessary words and straying from your main points.

Some past successful videos are below:

Marla Beyer, Founder of Hopscotch, 2021 Pitch Competition 1st Place Winner
Kyle & Bryon White, Cofounders of Yaupon Brothers, Winner of 2021 Pitch Competition People’s Choice Awards