Following up on Sean Ammirati’s talk to the AlphaLab companies, we had an elevator pitch workshop with the AlphaLab companies to help them create and hone those important introductory sentences that describe their business to their target audience. We were fortunate to have Dave Mawhinney and Frank Demmler lead the workshop with the companies. Dave is a close friend and Advisor to the AlphaLab program, has been a serial entrepreneur in the region for over 20 years and is currently an Executive in Residence at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse and an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Frank has managed several seed funds and mentored numerous companies, currently heads up the Entrepreneurial Services group at Innovation Works and also teaches entrepreneurship at CMU. Frank has also created an online toolkit that is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs as they build their business.
The workshop was very valuable and pretty entertaining. I had a chance to role play meeting the entrepreneurs for the first time and hearing them tell me about their companies. Frank pointed out that the elevator pitch is “an arrow in the quiver” that entrepreneurs can use to communicate with investors, just as an executive summary, business plan and slide deck are other quivers. Dave emphasized that the pitch needs to include a definition of the target customer, what pain they’re feeling/what problem you’re solving and a quantification of the unique benefit being provided.
Thanks again to Dave and Frank for helping the companies hone their pitches!