The myth of the 60 second pitch

I can pitch you a 60 second idea, in fact I have a limitless universe of 60 second ideas. But nobody is investing in your idea after 60 seconds. And I have worse news, nobody is going to invest in you after your pitch at NextWeb, or Essential Web ’07 or any of the other favourite rites of passage for startups.

What investors are going to invest in is simple,

  • Market opportunity: A big and growing market, without strong incumbents, where you’re company has an unfair advantage.
  • Great Team: Stupidly off the scale technical brilliance will get you somewhere here, but is that you? Are you as smart as Sergey and Larry. No I didn’t think so, So great team means great engineering guy, great marketing, great sales guy and/or great “did it before” guy. Or some combination of the above.
  • Style, Fashion, Vogue: Investors are herd animals, advertising, social networks and media sites are big at the moment. If you’re pitching something else, prepare to queue.

One minute pitches are the entrepreneur equivalent of shitting in a bottle. Very dificult to achieve and one you’ve done it nobody is interested in the results.

8 thoughts on “The myth of the 60 second pitch

  1. Hey Walter,

    Think of it as an injection of truth. The needle hurts, but the medicine will make you better.
    A realistic assessment of what we can achieve (in our context in Ireland is much better than a “beat silicon valley” mentality. Beating silicon valley is doable, but its a ten year goal, which our children will achieve if we are realistic about what is possible today.



  2. I don’t think there is any myth about sixty second pitches Joe. We all know that they achieve one thing – they start conversations.

    Our 5 minute pitch at Essential Web didn’t result in a cheque for €1m arriving in the post. However, it did enable me to get talking to some very interesting people who I previously didn’t have access to. Maybe in three months or six months, one of those may turn into an investor.

    I’ve never heard anyone say “beat Silicon Valley”. What I hear are people asking “what can we learn from Silicon Valley?”.


  3. Hi Conor,

    There is a world of difference between 5 minutes and 60 seconds. 5 minutes is a pitch, 60 seconds is a gimmick.



  4. Joe,

    I don’t fully agree with you here…firstly, as Conor points out, the 60 second pitch is an attention grabber. Once you have grabbed the attention of a potential investor, you then need to get into the real business of selling your business concept. Second, honing the 60 second pitch makes you think about what is really unique and important about your business and pushes you to refine your articulation of your proposition to a point where almost anyone can understand it…even a VC.




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