Key Pointers from My First Pitch Competition Experience as a Founder

Photo Credit: Vivante Media

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Draper University pitch program sponsored by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. As someone who has coached and judged many pitch competitions in the past, being on the founder side of things gave me a fresh perspective. Although I wasn’t selected to pitch my AI startup idea, I gained valuable insights that I wanted to share.

Pointer 1: Select the right pitch competition based on your business stage and goals

Since I’m still in the ideation phase for my AI platform, this particular pitch event was not the best fit because they were looking for businesses with sales and traction. Think carefully about what you hope to gain and choose accordingly. Take my customer insight survey.

Pointer 2: Visibility and networking are just as valuable as prize money

Use the experience to get your business noticed and make connections, even if you don’t win. The cohort and mentors are full of talent that could shortcut your path to success.

Pointer 3: Listen closely to the Q&A for clues on what investors want

The questions asked reveal what criteria is important to those providing the funding. Note any gaps in your pitch and business model.

Pointer 4: Observe and network with peers

Some similarities among the successful participants provide signals worth emulating. Reach out during and after to continue relationships.

Pointer 5: Don’t let team assignments add unnecessary stress

Complete them efficiently without tension so you can concentrate on applying these pointers to your own model.

Pointer 6: Ensure program focuses enough time on your business

If the goal is real progress versus just abstract skills, make sure the curriculum provides that. Too many team projects can be a distraction.


The experience gave me priceless perspective I wouldn’t have gained otherwise. I’m even more motivated to build on my startup idea armed with these key pointers that can help other founders as well. Stay tuned as I continue sharing my journey!

Photo credit: Vivante Media