Elevator Pitches

I saw the news that TechCrunch launched a service called Elevator Pitches yesterday. The "elevator pitch" is supposedly a short quick pitch that you could deliver in an elevator. My partner Brad claims that the first time he met Dave Morgan, founder of TACODA and Real Media, it was in the mid 90s in an elevator in a hotel and that Dave had to follow Brad into breakfast in order to finish the pitch. But I digress.

Bambi Francisco also has started a company focusing on elevator pitches, called vator.tv. Here’s a vator.tv episode where our portfolio company, Disqus, pitches. As you can see, Daniel has mastered the speed and brevity of the elevator pitch.

A good elevator pitch is incredibly useful to a venture investor. It gives us the opportunity to see how well an entrepreneur can pitch his or her idea in person. It’s one thing to put something down on paper, but another thing entirely to present it face to face.

Just this week, in our "monday meeting", Andrew said that in evaluating a new opportunity that had come in, he was able to see the entrepreneur in a short web video and that he found that very useful.

So here is my suggestion to Mike and Erick and the TechCrunch team. Merge Elevator Pitches with CrunchBase. We are already using CrunchBase as our primary source of company information. Most opportunities that come in to our firm have a CrunchBase entry. If they also had a short elevator pitch, then we probably wouldn’t even need to see an executive summary.

Say what you will about Mike’s style of journalism, he’s building a very interesting set of assets at TechCrunch.


Comments (Archived):

  1. shareme

    Elevator pitch to fix twitter:Treat the http://twitter.com/home as the same as search index result architecture wise with ful search engine architecture. Might be a way to bring back tack.

    1. fredwilson

      great idea. others have also suggested this and it’s a really good idea.

      1. shareme

        I go tot thinking about the MySQL architecture hints that were in the twitter interviews and how to reduce infinite queries and came up with using a search infrastructure to reduce those infinite queries..My other idea was to use datastore apis like Apache CouchDB but that would still not get rid of the problem of finite queries only delay it..

  2. stone

    Fred, I think you mean “Dave Morgan, founder of Tacoda and Real Media”

    1. fredwilson

      yes, i do. that’s a mistake which i will fix asap. posting too early in the morning today. thanks!

      1. Lloyd Fassett

        I think the Disqus/Vator link you want is http://vator.tv/pitch/show/…. I’ve already had my coffee though, so, well, I think I’ll have more.

  3. stone

    BTW, one of the biggest issues with Michael Arrington’s ‘conflict’ issues is that he strongly desires to compete against the start-ups he purports to want to help. In my mind that is the most insidious form of character flaw for a media outlet. How can he possibly be objective? Answer: he can’t. Did you notice yesterday, upon launching their Elevator Pitch product, they *never* referenced Vator?

  4. kid mercury

    mikey may be building an interesting set of assets, but it’s quite a shame journalistic integrity isn’t one of them. and he doesnt have much of a community either. frankly i’d go long AVC before TC any day of the week and twice on sunday. you just need the web service that turns your community into a money machine (i haven’t seen a web service out there that i think can do it, though i do think my friend and fellow Truther marc andreessen’s service ning, or something like it, will be the ticket). then, justice will be served, as you will be proven the victor in the epic blog battle of fred vs mikey!

    1. fredwilson

      there is no battle between me and mike. i like mike. i understand why others don’t. but i think he’s smart and providing a good service to the tech community with techcrunch. ten years ago, you’d have had to pay $1000s of dollars a year for access to a database like crunchbase. now it’s free. we use it every day.

      1. Don Jones

        CrunchBase is a database, albeit quite a simplistic one. I imagine it generates lots of page views for him, though.

      2. kid mercury

        lol, i know, i’m just joking around. besides i never thought your comments were particularly inflammatory, which is why i got such a kick out of mikey going into crybaby mode over your post a few months back. adding to the humor is of course mikey’s hypocrisy, as he doesn’t have the spirit of a real journalist.crunchbase is very nice, i agree. but you know what’s going to be really sweet? when adaptiveblue (or someone like them) automates the whole thing and makes it into a slick widget you can take with you anywhere you want.and while there is no battle, i still declare you the victor. so congratulations!

  5. leigh

    Oh see I have learned so much already – i didn’t know (obviously I ignored the type colours) it was Disq–US. I’ll never say or think Discus in my head again.

    1. fredwilson

      Should it be discus? I’ve discussed that with daniel (no pun intended)

      1. leigh

        guess that depends on where you want your product and brand to go. If it’s a commenting system then you probably have the right pronunciation. However, if it’s a platform of a different kind (fill in blank here), discus might be a very interesting place to play.

      2. Jeffrey McManus

        I hate cutesy spellings in product names — one of the reasons why I never used Delicious. I wonder what kind of tax on the business a name like that represents.

      3. daryn

        i remember feeling like a fool when i met Daniel at StartupSchool and said “I LOVE Discus (pause…) um, I mean Discuss” — knowing full well it was discuss but it just came out wrong.

  6. Jeffrey McManus

    The pitch video is a terrific idea.

  7. JPersch

    Fred,The question I have for you is, “Is this a tool you would use for a first time pitch?”My problem is I feel segregated in a community that does not have a lot of avenues for me to travel to your front door. When I create a start up the barrier to get in the door is, IMO, much thicker for me since I am located in New Hampshire and have a full time job to pay my bills which leaves little time to travel to hubs to connect.If this is something that would help me gain entry I would pursue the opportunity.

    1. fredwilson

      there is nothing stopping you from commenting on this blog, the USV blog, andrew’s blog, exchanging messages with us on twitter, and developing an online relationship with us. that is a big time door opener and you’ve already started doing that. getting your startup into crunchbase and doing a elevator pitch would be a good thing to that would make it easier for us and other investors to quickly get what you are up to.

  8. lawrence coburn

    I like the idea, but TC should have partnered with with Vator. Vator has enough traction to provide value from day 1. I hate it when everybody tries to build their own solution when there are so many strong web services already out there. The fact that it’s the press choosing to compete with the startups its supposed to be covering, makes it even worse. This is like TC deciding to clone Disqus for comments and not mentioning Disqus in the post announcing the service.Fred, from a business perspective do you really think build your own asset is the best strategy for TC? If so, this is pretty damning for the plethora of cross domain services that are emerging right now.

    1. stone

      Totally agree. They are now competing with the very start-ups they purport to care about. You normally can’t have it both ways in life.

    2. fredwilson

      i agree that they could have partnered with vator on this. maybe they tried. who knows? that’s why i mentioned vator in my post so people would know that there is someone already doing this.but from selfish perspective, i like that there are multiple people out there getting elevator pitches recorded and on the web. it’s really helpful to us

  9. Boris Revsin

    Unfortunately it seems like this is an attempt to get yet another place to post advertisements — that is one of the only reasons I see for NOT merging this with Crunchbase.

  10. Erick Schonfeld

    Fred,Ask and ye shall receive. Every video on Elevator Pitches will also be embedded on the company’s Crunchbase profile. Actually, that was always the plan, we just decided to launch before we got to everything on out to-do list.You can already see these now. For instance check out Songza’s profile:http://www.crunchbase.com/c…or Meebo’s:http://www.crunchbase.com/c…Glad you like the site, and please keep the suggestions coming. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      What do you think of partnering with vator.tv to get their pitches into crunchbase too?

      1. Erick Schonfeld

        We’d be open to talking about that once we’ve automated the process for ingesting and Cartoonizing the videos. As long as the pitches are under 60 seconds and fit into our format, we want to get as many as possible from as many different sources.What do people think about the cartoon effect, btw? We did that to make it more visually interesting than just having a talking head, and to give these pitches a distinct look that would be recognizable no matter where on the Web people see them.

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t really like the cartoon effect. the big value in pitches for us is to see as close a representation of the entrepreneur as is possible

  11. Ben

    Fred and everyone else here:It seems that most web services which target aspects of entrepreneurship (pitching, interaction with VC, etc.) wind up with communities heavy on the web. Naturally this is expected as the internet savvy early adopters of web services tend to be those who build and invest in these businesses. How do we get more biotech, energy, materials science investors/entrepreneurs to use these very useful services? There clearly seems to be a dearth of users outside the web industry (vator.tv shows 624 web 2.0 pitches vs. 15 pitches for biotech, of which most of the biotech ones leverage the web for social networking, advertising, etc.)

  12. Ralph

    Fred,I’d tell you what would be really handy for me. I have the idea but I need almost a structure or template to bring the idea out. ie what customers will it serve, what is the gap that it fulfils and how are you going to deliver it and make money on it – but with more detail than that.Do you have a template that I could use to get the idea down on paper?thanks,Ralph

    1. gregory

      make a pitch for it

    2. fredwilson

      There is no template. The best advice I can give you is see if you can writedown your idea in three paragraphs or less

  13. jill

    Love seeing these pitches! I am going to practice mine …just for fun.

  14. Austin

    two things….. Bring back your friends links ASAP! and second it would be cool to have a wall for your blog where we could post posts like this one!

  15. vatorfan

    It’s a great idea… I’m glad I thought of it… first 🙂

  16. Dan Weinreb

    What’s the benefit of being listed on CrunchBase? I wonder if I should recommend any of our (Common Angels) portfolio companies to list on it, but I think they’d probably first want to know about the costs (I nkow it’s free; I mean downsides if any) and benefits. In any case, it looks interesting; thank you for pointing it out.