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Startup Speed Dating: Three Tips for Success

Don’t be nervous, just use your 3 minutes to make a good impression. Simple.

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Always easier said than done though.

Alec Saunders, the principal technology evangelist at Microsoft Accelerator shares 3 simple but effective tips for pitch success from his experience of watching innumerable startup pitching events. For these tips, he more specifically takes inspiration from the latest pitch event he had attended.

1. Practice your pitch.

I know, this seems obvious. But I’m always amazed at events like these where companies turn up unprepared to give a short (3-minute) pitch on what they do. And because the speed dating format generally only allows for less than 20 minutes together, it’s vital to get across exactly what your solution does and what problem it solves as fast as possible, and get down to business.

2. Know who you’re meeting.

Again, seems like a no-brainer. But take the time before arriving to really research the companies and representatives. It was apparent in the room last week who had and who hadn’t done this. One team spent 10 minutes (out of 20 total) asking questions about the role of the executive sitting in front of them. Don’t let this be you.

3. Have an ask.

What are you looking for? A follow-on meeting? A proof-of-concept deployment? Know what you’re going to ask for before you even get to the event. Then be prepared to either push for a deal or a follow-up meeting.

These tips are from a blog post titled, “Startup Speed Dating: Three Tips for Success” by Alec Saunders, principal technology evangelist, Microsoft Accelerator found at

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