The pitch that sank and the pitch that soared

Nov 13 2015

UniLeap team members practice pitching during a workshop in the Lab prior to Pitch Day. (Photo taken by Amulya Uppalapati.)

UniLeap team members practice pitching during a workshop in the Lab prior to Pitch Day. (Photo taken by Amulya Uppalapati.)

To be blunt, the pitches that we had created up until this Thursday were anathema. Our thoughts were jumbled, our ideas were repeated, and the roadmap of our pitch was a like a maze of unexpected answers at every turn.

It is difficult to pitch a product after spending so much time on it. You start thinking there are all of these facets that are critical, and you think that you have to explain all of them or your audience won’t realize how amazing your product really is.

Suddenly you spend a couple of minutes just explaining one or two features out of the hundred you want to discuss, and the audience is bored into oblivion. John Clark, the executive director of the Lab, told us our product would become like our baby, and this is reflected in how defensive we were in presenting our pitch. Telling us to cut out the specifics seemed like we were cutting out the heart of our product.

However, iteration after iteration, we realized how much was added by how much we took out. The audience can imagine when we don’t try and describe, they can follow when the information is simple, and they can ask us if there is anything they want clarified.

This was the basis of our pitch on Friday. Our prototype, UniLeap, will help study abroad advisors. Students can use the website to access the information they need while considering which study abroad program to choose and while planning their experience. Advisors can use the service as a management tool, and it can help them save time. We cut out most of the details, we homed in on our value proposition, and we provided the solution to the problem all study abroad offices share.

This time the feedback was much more positive, and we were proud of what we were able to project.

Our pitch requires further refinement, but I think we are on the right path to Pitch Day.

Well, until John holds up his “I don’t care” sign again.


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