On the new streaming show Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, founders step into the Entrepreneur Elevator and have just 60 seconds to present their idea, product or business to a panel of investors. Whether an entrepreneur gets invited into the boardroom or sent back to the ground floor depends on what our experts think in that first minute. Each week we’ll dissect what any entrepreneur can learn from these contestants’ winning — or losing — pitches.
The founders of Live Portrait, a free-standing interactive photo booth, have one minute to convince a panel of investors that they’ve created the next big photo-sharing technology. Their pitch piques the judges’ curiosity and lands them an invitation into to the boardroom, but once they’re face-to-face, it falls flat. The founders descend to the ground floor empty-handed.
All entrepreneurs must remember a key tip when developing a new product and trying to sell it, whether they’re appealing to the public or to investors like the judges of Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch. As investor Frank Klein comments during a later pitch, “You just can’t get out of the elevator without some kind of unique product.” You should clearly establish what differentiates your offering long before talks of equity and valuation.
The team behind Live Portrait did not understand their competition or articulate specific strategies that would help them gain an edge in a crowded market, and their product came across as bland and unremarkable — not something that would leave GIFs or Apple’s Photobooth app in the dust.
A product or service must be fresh and different to catch the eyes of investors — and ultimately customers. In a world saturated with startups, it’s not enough to merely keep up with competitors: You have to explain what sets you apart.
Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch streams Wednesdays on Entrepreneur.com starting September 20. Aspiring entrepreneurs, be sure to check back for details on applying to season 2. For those who think they’ve seen the next million-dollar idea on the show, head to Indiegogo to become an early supporter and help the featured entrepreneurs bring their projects to life.