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Honing Your Startup’s Elevator Pitch

Honing Your Startup’s Elevator Pitch

For startup founders, being able to effectively explain what their company does and why it matters is a key skill. Whether speaking to friends and family, potential business partners, potential investors, or simply networking, a refined elevator pitch is an important tool that should be in every founder’s back pocket. Keep reading to learn a few tips that can take your elevator pitch to the next level.

What is an elevator pitch?

The concept of an elevator pitch has been around for a while. It is exactly what it sounds like – a brief (elevator ride-length) pitch that succinctly and effectively explains a concept, in this case, a business and/or product. A good elevator pitch will be brief (30 to 60 seconds) and easily understood by the listener.

All startup founders should have a prepared elevator pitch to explain what their company does and why it matters. So, what exactly should go into an elevator pitch, and how can you make it stand out? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when refining your elevator pitch.

Keep things simple and digestible

One of the most challenging aspects of crafting an effective elevator pitch is presenting complex, technical concepts in a way that is easily and quickly understood by the audience. For founders, it can be easy to get too in the weeds. Ideally, the more you know about your business and product, the easier it should become to boil it down to its most essential components.

Explain the problem you solve and what makes your solution unique

Being able to explain what a business does is great, but it’s nothing without the why. What problem does your business solve? Stories are compelling, and this is the time to employ a narrative approach–who benefits from your product and why? In addition to explaining the problem you solve, you should touch on your value proposition. What is it that differentiates you from the competition?

Tailor your pitch to your audience

Depending on who you’re delivering it to, your elevator pitch may need to be adjusted. If you’re speaking to potential investors who already know your space, you may be able to get away with being more technical. You may also want to spend more time talking about the numbers. If you’re speaking to a more general audience, you’ll want to keep things more broad and try to avoid clunky industry jargon.   

Make it personal

One of the best ways to make your elevator pitch stand out is by getting personal. What brought you here? Not everyone will be able to relate to the problem you’re hoping to solve, but this personal touch helps to build a narrative that is memorable and relatable to some degree. 

Practice, practice, practice

It should go without saying, but the best elevator pitches out there are extensively rehearsed. The better you know the material, the easier it will be to deliver it in a way that feels natural and relaxed. Not only can this help mitigate nervousness, but it can make it easier to field questions on the fly without losing your train of thought. When practicing, it can be helpful to come up with a couple of different elevator pitches to use depending on the situation so you can respond accordingly. The more you’re able to practice, the more polished your elevator pitch will become.

Final thoughts

As a startup founder, you may find that there are elevator pitch opportunities around every corner. Regardless of whether or not you secure a big partnership or a new investor out of your elevator pitch, being able to develop and deliver one is a transferrable skill worth taking the time to practice. Not only will it improve your conversational and public speaking skills, but it can help you refine your overall brand messaging, whether that be on your homepage or in your pitch deck.


The information presented here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, comprehensive offering documentation for any security, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, an interest, directly or indirectly, in any company. Investing in both early-stage and later-stage companies carries a high degree of risk. A loss of an investor’s entire investment is possible, and no profit may be realized. Investors should be aware that these types of investments are illiquid and should anticipate holding until an exit occurs.