Each year, Startup Riot gives entrepreneurs three minutes and four slides to pitch their business—the top three win coveted investor meetings. As hopefuls gather in Atlanta on February 22, founder Sanjay Parekh shares the winning formula.
Prepare for everything
TripLingo, a language-assistance app, formed just two weeks before last year's Riot—and won, thanks to ultra-preparedness. Where did they find the time? Says founder Jesse Maddox: "During those two weeks, we slept at the office."
Amp Up the Visuals
Last year, fraud-monitoring company Pindrop Security gave Parekh a preview of its presentation, which he called "clip-art bad." His impassioned plea led Pindrop to hire a designer; the new, appealing, and engaging slide show took second place.
Don't be dramatic . . .
In 2010, a professor named Charles Hofer presented a glucose-monitoring device and simulated insulin shock by fainting—twice. Too much, says Parekh. "I bet 99% remember he fainted, but how many remember why?"
. . . But Put On A Show
Schmoozing never hurts. Allan Branch, cofounder of LessAccounting (which won in 2010), perfected the art. "I told everyone: 'If you sign up today, I'll give you a free piggy-back ride for two minutes.'" You can bet he kept his promise.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.