Updated: Sep 28
There are literally millions of early and seed stage startups. As an investor, accelerator, incubator or entrepreneur advisor I am sure you get inundated with business ideas. However, how do you cut through the noise at scale and find the best and most importantly aligned opportunities for your investors or programs?
Well this is exactly where pitch competitions come into play. Getting budding business founders to pitch their idea with the incentive of a prize that could help move the dial for their business is a huge motivator.
However, live pitch competitions take a lot of preparation and at the same time can put undue pressure on the founder. While it may be a great opportunity, the founder may just not be great at pitching to an audience. Founders at one point or another need to learn this skill, however you need to ask yourself, are you looking for the best public presenter or are you looking for the best business ideas and founders who have the background to deliver it?
On Demand, Online Pitch Competitions
I have been to many virtual pitch competitions. Especially over covid as they still provided an opportunity for startups to pitch. A positive side impact was that they also opened the competitions to a wider reach of participants.
The problem is virtual pitch competitions still take a lot of scheduling and organizing and also still put the same pressure on founders to perform live (albeit still in the comfort of their home).
In some cases virtual competitions are actually harder to pitch to than live because in most circumstances it makes it hard for the founder to read the audience and whether they are hitting the mark.
This is where On Demand, Online pitch competitions exhibit so many more advantages than live and virtual. On demand competitions involve entrepreneurs submitting their pre-recorded business pitch to the competition.
Scheduling so much easier
With live or virtual pitch competitions scheduling can be a nightmare. Not potentially knowing how many participants you are going to get makes it hard to define your schedule in advance. Once the schedule is worked out what happens if someone does not show? What about if someone goes over time, judges are sick, premise is not available when you need it, etc, etc.
With on demand pitch competitions this can be worked out all in advance and while a schedule still needs to be defined at a high level, managing timing and the risks of unforeseen disruptions are significantly reduced.
No dropout risks
It has happened to all of us. You are in the middle of a zoom or google meet call and all of a sudden the network drops. Imagine this happening in the middle of your pitch competition. You may have set up the best network connection available however there is nothing to guarantee the connectivity of the pitcher.
This impacts your schedule and worse, your best entrepreneur pitch may not even get heard due to a shoddy connection. With on demand competitions this risk is eliminated. Being able to submit a pitch over a few weeks means network drop outs just become an inconvenience and do not affect the running of your competition.
Hiring premises can be expensive particularly if you need to cater for a large number of pitches. Virtual costs are also not cheap as streaming platforms, moderation and judging tools can be costly.
There is also the fact that as these events need to be run to a tight schedule there is more preparation and planning needed which invariably equates to higher effort and cost. On demand competitions are easier to set up and there are tools such as ContestPad which allow you to manage every aspect of the competition from submission to peoples choice voting to structured judging panels for a fraction of the cost of managing this live or virtually.
Much broader scale
Live competitions in most circumstances limit the number of participants based on proximity of the event. Virtual competitions provide an advantage over live in this regard however scheduling of each pitch still limits the number that can participate.
On demand competitions do not suffer from these limitations. You can run pitch competitions that can realistically scale globally. And as the tight scheduling restrictions do not apply, the number of pitches that can be accommodated is almost limitless.
You will also find entrepreneurs will feel more comfortable entering an on demand competition which means the number of entries received should be significantly greater.
Easier to assess
Live or virtual competitions means that judges need to assess in the moment. There is no opportunity to compare against other entrants until later in the pitch program. Invariably how a judge assessed at the start of the pitch competition can change dramatically to the end of the competition based on the comparative differences in quality of each pitch. This forces judges to collect more information for recollection of earlier pitches.
On demand pitch competitions do not suffer from this issue. Having all pitches available that can be consumed and assessed without time pressure provides the ability for judges to save their score and then later go back and reassess pitches.
To learn more about running an On Demand Pitch Competition with ContestPad here