Startups: Go fast, but pitch slow

Techstars’ program mantra is DO MORE FASTER.

Coined by Brad Feld and David Cohen in the earlier days, the saying reminds founders that they are on the clock, and have the opportunity to get years’ worth of work done in just 3 months.

But when it comes to Demo Day, the culmination of the program, the advice is the opposite. Instead of going fast, we tell the CEOs to go slowly and to say less. We tell them to SAY LESS SLOWER.


Because nobody can understand you when you pitch fast, and say a lot.

You know your business, and everything makes sense in your head. But the audience does not, and when you go fast, they can’t follow you. They tune out, and start checking their phone instead.

Going slow on the Demo Day pitch does not mean being dispassionate. Quite the opposite. It means to breathe properly, and emphasize with passion things that need to be called out – the problem, how you solve it, what your traction is, why your team is THE team to do this, and why this is a big opportunity.

To make the pitch go slower, you will need to have fewer words. You will need to make each sentence shorter and simpler. It is an exercise in deleting words that don’t matter. The words that won’t make a difference in the audience’s ability to understand what why what you are doing is important.

Craft your pitch. Take pride in it. Polish it. Make it sharp and awesome.

And then, to deliver a truly great pitch, you need practice. Over and over and over again. Until the pace, the presentation, every word you say is just right.

So remember this, founders,

DO MORE FASTER, but when you pitch, SAY LESS SLOWER.

p.s. The same exact thing applies to investor meetings, saying less and speaking slower makes a big difference.

One comment

  1. […] Your pitch is the key ingredient of the Demo Day. Make it awesome, make it memorable, make it amazing. You are up against other companies, and even worse, against people’s phones. Make investors, press and everyone else pay attention. Here are the pitch tips from David Cohen, founder and Managing Partner at Techstars. And make sure the pitch is clear. […]