Preparing for the Pitch


Startup Weekend begins on Friday night with registration, mingling, and pitches. We’ll let you know when it’s time to start pitching.

If you’re going to pitch an idea, here is a guide that will help you think through your idea and structure your pitch. If you plan on joining a team, here is what you can expect to hear on Friday night. If you’d like to watch an example of pitches from SW Brussels, you’re in luck. Here is a video with some examples of pitches.

1. Focus on the problem you want to solve :: There are lots of problems out there. And for every problem, there are many solutions. For your pitch, worry less about the specifics of your proposed solution and focus on the problem. Startup Weekend is about talking to other people and about using many ideas to build the best product for your market.

2. Mention how you think the problem should be solved :: Aim to talk about your idea using the following bare-bones formula:

I want to build a _____ that does _____.

Substitute web site or mobile app or whatever category of product you want to build in the first blank and the core functionality in the second blank. For example, “I want to build a web site that helps Philly’s foodies keep track of changing menu specials.”

Leave it at that and move on. You only have 60 seconds.

3. Talk about your secret sauce :: We all have one. Think about your own skills and passion and why you have a special ability to solve this problem. Are you in medical school and at Startup Weekend to solve a medical problem? Are you in a band and at Startup Weekend to solve a musician’s problem?

4. Tell us what you already know :: Maybe you’ve already done your market research. Maybe you even have real market validation from real customers. Maybe you know the market size of your industry or the market cap of your biggest competitor. Maybe there are 8,000,000 monthly searches for your problem.

Show your audience what you’ve already done to validate the problem, the customer, and the idea.

5. Showcase your winning personality :: It’s not about the idea after all, it’s about the team. You have 60 seconds to showcase the best version of yourself. No one wants to work with a jerk.

6. Show up with an idea that does something meaningful :: Think of how you can improve someone’s life for the better. Think big, solve problems that affect large or small groups of people in profound ways. You’re here to change the world, after all, aren’t you?

7. Name your idea :: You can always change the name later, but you’ll need a name for the voting process.

After pitches have concluded, everyone will have a chance to talk and learn more about ideas and to vote on the best ones.

For more information on pitching at Startup Weekend, visit the SW Global site. And if you have any questions about pitching, email Alli at

To meet fellow attendees for PHLSW 4.0 and past attendees from PHLSW 3.0,