OpenBeta3 PitchCamp Debrief & Congratulations

2009-09-23_161253I enjoyed judging the OpenBeta3 PitchCamp last Thursday with fellow judges Vance Lucas of InvoiceMore.com, Jim Rogers from i2E, Piyush Patel of P L Studios fame, and Shawn Roberts of Brown & Roberts .

I have to admit that I was skeptical that participants who were starting from nothing would be able to come up with interesting and convincing business pitches in 48 hours, but I was very pleased with what we saw. This can definitely be done, and it is fun and challenging!

Some of the pitches were based on existing businesses in development, but all of the pitches, including the ones prepared in 48 hours, were serious, reasonable, considered, the presenters were passionate and, on the whole, well rehearsed.

Congratulations to the Virtual Case & Client team and presenter Amy Lasater for their winning pitch.

Also, congratulations to presenter Erin Carter and his YelpDesk proposal, which won the honorable mention.

Great job by organizers Derrick Parkhurst of the OkcCoCo and Vance Lucas, who made the whole thing happen.

We understand the OkcCoCo will be posting video of the events soon.

Recommendations

Finally, I would make a few recommendations for next year, and for pitch contests generally:

1) Choosing fewer pitch team finalists, but allowing them a few more minutes to present, might have been helpful, especially in order to get multiple team members involved in the pitch.

2) Along those lines, encouraging – or even requiring – that more than one team member represent each team would have added greater depth to the pitch experience as well as providing more pitch and speaking opportunities for participants.

3) Providing time for judge questions at the end of each pitch would also have allowed the teams to demonstrate their depth, given the judges additional criteria to pick a winner, and provided more opportunities for more participants to get involved on their teams.

4) Giving the teams more information about how to workshop their idea, and particularly the availability of the OkcCoCo for meetings, would be helpful. Specific materials aimed at facilitating the initial teamwork would also help new teams and shouldn’t be hard to find and provide.

Congratulations again to all of the participants! Even if you didn’t win, you certainly learned something about pitching. And thanks again to Derrick and Vance for pulling the whole thing off!

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