Drum Roll…Announcing the Winners of our Investor Pitch Contest

Pitch Investors Contest Winners

Drum Roll...Announcing the Winners of our Investor Pitch Contest

After much deliberation, the Intelliversity Board of Advisors selected three finalists and a grand prize winner for our investor pitch contest. I want to thank everyone who participated. You are all Rock Stars! We had a fantastic response to the contest and so many of you took the time to work on your pitch and submit it. That was my intention because the process for creating a perfect elevator pitch is iterative. It takes some practice and some time. Those of you who put the time in, whether you won or not, have strengthened this important muscle!

We assessed all the submitted pitches based on 5 criteria. None of these five factors should surprise you, as we've been discussing all of them to one degree or another over the past month or so. But here they are for posterity:

  1. Brief (best is less than 30 seconds to speak)
  2. Exciting problem/solution or special-sauce
  3. Clear (not confusing)
  4. Eager to learn more
  5. Viral (easy to remember and repeat)


All of you who submitted elevator pitches scored well in at least one of the five areas above. But three submissions stood out because they scored well on three or more factors. In the case of our winner, all five factors were strong.

So let's take a quick look at the three finalists:

Maria Ruvio of MLR Innovations submitted the following pitch:

  1. The dairy Industry needs to Ignite sales with new milk flavor innovations
  2. Create an incremental innovative milk flavor that delivers clean label nutrition,
  3. high-quality protein with great taste
    Zabalatte made with four simple all natural ingredients delivers the nutrition and great taste

Bill Protzman of Music Care submitted the following pitch:

  1. Depression kills people
  2. The right music kills depression
  3. We match music to your depression and cure it

Ed Trice of Nuclear Lightning submitted the following pitch:

  1. Even the fastest computers today run at about 4.0 GHz.
  2. I built one using Gallium Arsenide instead of Silicon that is 100 times faster.
  3. I used it to rob the Federal Reserve in Philadelphia of $1,000,000,000.

Recall that our first factor is brevity. Brevity leads to virality (though of course, it does NOT guarantee virality) because, well, it's easier to remember the key points about something that is brief. The major points don't get lost in a lot of extra verbiage. All three of the pitches above can be read in 30 seconds or less. Go ahead, try it. They all hit the mark. If your pitch was too long, that's ok. This is practice. So go back and time yourself speaking it. Then hone it down to the essential elements to the best investor pitch ever.

The second factor we rated was the problem/solution set. Now, I'll grant you that to some degree whether something is an interesting or exciting problem/solution set is somewhat subjective. Frankly, all the submitted pitches were interesting to us. Many were downright exciting. The work that each of you does in the world is important. It matters. It will help people.

The problem is that in many cases the message wasn't exciting at first; some analysis was needed; they weren't clear.  I respect analysis, but not when hearing elevator pitches.

So the third factor was clarity. The hearer needs to understand the gist of your pitch the first time. Some of you did very well in this area. Some of you I suggest need to look at your pitch from the perspective of overall clarity to this listener. Think simplicity. Albert Einstein famously said (I'm paraphrasing somewhat) the best solution to any scientific question should be the simplest as possible, but not simpler. Scan the pitches above. They aren't simplistic, but they are simple. Even these could be simpler.  They do make two or three key points clearly. That breeds clarity. Clarity breeds virality.

The fourth factor is that the pitch left us wanting to hear more. Now, don't make the assumption that the primary reason we wanted to hear more was that we already found the subject matter interesting. What made us want to hear more was the brevity, clarity and most of all the surprise ending.  In each case, there's kind of a cliffhanger.

Of the three pitches above, one stood out to us above the others as being strong on all elements. Which would you have chosen as the best? Which communicated all the required elements best, while leaving you interesting in hearing more?

For us, it was Mr. Protzman, who tantalized us with that line "we match music to depression and cure it."

A massive problem solved in a very unexpected way. Simple. Memorable. Viral.

Let's look at Music Care, the simplest of the three, and make it even simpler, more lyrical.  He writes:

  • Depression kills people
  • The right music kills depression
  • We match music to your depression and cure it

What if he said:

  • Depression kills
  • Music kills depression
  • We match music to depression and cure it

This is a little simpler and more lyrical.  It's even more viral.

So, congratulations to Bill Protzman our grand prize winner, and to Ms. Ruvio and Mr. Trice our runners-up and to all of you who did the work to create a great elevator pitch.

Keep working on it. Practice it. Speak it to others, get their feedback. Work on it until it sings. A great investor pitch is your ticket to follow up meetings with investors, which is your one and only goal when you get that first chance to impress them.