← Techstars Blog

Parts of this blog originally appeared on blog.up.co

By the time 4:00PM rolls around here at Startup Weekend NB, you will have crafted your pitch and be ready to go.. but don’t worry! That does seem like a lot in a short time span? Don’t worry! We’re here to help you get there.


Pitching is the culmination of a lot hard work. No matter how how things shake out, our competitors should be proud! It can be a true test of character to go through the Startup process. If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal in my books. While this is a competition, also remember the bigger picture that we are all allies as well. When this weekend is done, you’re now part of a greater community of entrepreneurs that helps fosters partnerships and mentorship alike. Like Ernesto Sirolli said in his TEDtalk: “No one succeeds alone.”

But for now, this is a competition, and after the dust clears, one team will get to lift the microphone high and be the champions of Startup Weekend NB. We’re all in this together… let’s go!

This blog post will aim to better equip you for your pitch, and help you get a better sense for how the events of the day will flow.



The Order of The Pitches

You don’t want to get caught off guard. Keep an eye out for the Pitch List, this will be the order of the pitches. You’ve got to be ready to take the stage when your time comes!

Got the jitters or the pitch itch? Whether you’re worried or chomping at the bit, you will have a practice pitch during your Tech Check. We will have mentors on-hand to give you some feedback on your pitch and your slide deck.


Prep your Pitch

Each time’s pitch will be 5 minutes long, with a 5 minute Question period. A timer will be on display for the presenter, showing their 5-minute countdown. Keep an eye on the timer, because there is a hard stop when the time runs out. You don’t want to get cut off during your pitch, so if your time is running out, gently end your pitch. A soft landing is better than a crash.

If you’re still having trouble putting your pitch together, check out these links:




The Firing Squad

Your panel of Judges will be:

  1. Kayley Reed, Co-Founder of Wear Your Label
  2. Paul Simmonds, Owner of Robert Simmonds Clothing
  3. Heather Boyd-Kinnie, Program Coordinator of the Pond-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Check out their bios!

Judging Criteria

Be sure to keep these things in mind when building and practicing your pitch. This is how the judges will be scoring you.

Business Model Validation
Who are their key partners? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?

Product Execution
Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Were they able to demo something functional?

User Experience Design
Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?.

Get Ready for the Question Period

After your pitch, you will be subject to a question period with the judging panel. During this period, judges will ask you questions to help them understand your idea more deeply (remember, they weren’t here all weekend, so they are hearing about your idea for the first time). They may also want to stress-test the validity of your idea as a business. So, before you break a sweat, build up your confidence by preparing answers to these Common Judge Questions:

What’s the most impressive thing you have achieved this weekend?
Where is the rocket science here? What is your secret sauce?
Why did you pick this idea to work on?
Why do the reluctant users hold back?
Who would you hire or how would you add to your team?
What problems/hurdles are you anticipating?
Who is “the boss”?
What is the next step with the product evolution?
What obstacles will you face and how will you overcome them?
Who needs what you’re making?
How does your product work in more detail?
What are you going to do next?
What do you understand that others don’t?
Where do new users come from?
How big an opportunity is there?
Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you this weekend?
Tell us something surprising you have done this weekend?
Who are your competitors?
What’s new about what you make?
How many users do you have?
Why isn’t someone already doing this?
What are the top things users want?
How do you know customers need what you’re making?
What domain expertise do you have?
What, exactly, makes you different from existing options?
What’s the conversion rate?
What systems have you hacked?
Who would use your product?
How will customers and/or users find out about you?
Why did your team get together?
In what ways are you resourceful?
What is your distribution strategy?
What has surprised you about user behaviour?
What part of your project are you going to build first?
What resistance will they have to trying you and how will you overcome it?
How are you understanding customer needs?
What’s the biggest mistake you have made this weekend?
Who might become competitors?
What do you understand about your users?
What is your user growth rate?
What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Who is going to be your first paying customer?
If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Who would be your next hire?
How do you know people want this?
What do you know about this space/product others don’t know?
How much money could you make per year?
How long can you go before funding?
How will you make money?
Will your team stick at this?
How much does customer acquisition cost?
How did your team meet?
Who in your team does what?
How are you meeting customers?
How many users are paying?
How is your product different?
Are you open to changing your idea?
What makes new users try you?
What competition do you fear most?

Good luck, Startup Weekend NBers!

Nicola MacLeod