Founder Institute: how many words per minute?

April 15, 2013, 19:00

On April 15 the Moscow branch of the international start-up accelerator Founder Institute held its second spring Startup Pitch Bootcamp at the Digital October Center.

One of the FI Moscow directors, Maria Adamian, opened by saying:

“We’ve already received more than a hundred applications: 50 applicants passed the test and 20 had already been accepted into the program. 37 applicants, on the other hand, did not pass the test, proving them better suited for pursuits besides entrepreneurship. Part of the applications are still being processed, as the directors of FI Global in the Silicon Valley are looking over them each individually, translating what you wrote into Russian.”

“In honor of the launch of the accelerator’s first educational program in Russia the testing costs were waived,”

shared Maria.

As the Founder Institute promised, the names of those to receive the FI Moscow grants were revealed. Andrey Ognyev won the scholarship for the best test result among all applicants who applied by the mid-April, while Ekaterina Amvrosimova was awarded the Female Founder Fellowship, for which 40 women applied.

The first Bootcamp expert to talk with the guests was Alexander Yanykhbash, business trainer, public speaking specialist from Oratorica who worked with projects affiliated with GreenfieldProject, InCube, HSE Inc. and other start-ups.

“Who of you was at the first Startup Pitch Bootcamp? Our colleague, FI mentor Dmitri Popov, presented a fantastic pitch for his BilliBox and as I left the auditorium I did something very unusual for me: I said that his presentation was very well done.

“In answer he gave me the secret to a successful presentation in one phrase:

“I’m excited about what I presented.”

“But even if you’re interested in what you’re talking about there’s still one more problem: Power Point. Here's a clear example of that:

“As a general who saw this said, ‘We’ll win the war as soon as we figure out what’s on this slide.

“For the start you need a plan, and for that purpose pen and paper will serve you better than Power Point.

“Begin with your message, the one that is a scarlet thread throughout your entire presentation. I’d advise that you do this: once you’ve figured out your message, make a plan, speak through your main points, and only then make your slides. When everything is in place speak through it again. Some good practice never hurt anyone: a fifteen minute presentation can take sixteen hours of prep work.

“And now let’s talk about the fear of public speaking. First of all, you need to make sure that you own the place and know the territory; come early and talk with some people before the presentation.

“Secondly, involve your audience, not turning your presentation into a lecture.

“People also want to express themselves: that’s why we have these people shouting things out from their seats.”

Ivan Osadchiy and his colleague Mykola Komarevsky, cofounders of Family Ribbon, decided to analyze a presentation, choosing one about their own start-up and beginning with a video.

“Our project is a tribute to all the grandparents out there who are left out of such an important aspect of modern life as online and social networks. Our startup has already raised two investment rounds and we’ll talk about what that experience has taught us.”

“Rule number one is brevity,” Ivan Osadchiy began, demonstrating the same. “How do you know that you’re being concise? In my opinion, the answer to that question is that it should take you 30-40 seconds to introduce yourself and your project and bring out the key points and numbers.

“Rule number two is that it’s harder to listen than speak. Because of that, try to speak not only concisely, but clearly and to the point.

“Psychologically speaking, 120 words per minute is the tempo at which a person is thought of as speaking confidently.

“Not only that, but you should be ready with an answer to every question, so prepare as much information as possible — include some of it in your pitch and keep the rest keep in reserve.

“Finally, you should optimally speak in the language of your audience. An investor needs to quickly understand what is your segment, what problem do you solve, your solution and who is in your team. You may also need to briefly discuss monetization and promotion.

“How do you learn how to make a good presentation? There’s one harsh but effective way: record yourself on video and you’ll see yourself as investors see you.”

For more information about the first Startup Pitch Bootcamp with Aleksey Chernyak, Ivan Kochetov and Dimitri Popov please follow the link.

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