Manila Start-up pitching competitions can be very exciting. You will see all the actions and dramas as the best startups try to woo investors and consumers. Did you know that there is a secret weapon on how to win hearts on these competitions?
Meet the startup pitch coach Artie Lopez. Artie is the man who have helped many startups win these pitch tournaments. These include Serve Happy Jobs – champion of Seedstars Manila 2017, Qwikwire – champion of Ignite 2017 and many more.
AdMov will be featuring the story behind the go-to-guy when it comes to pitching. We will share some of Artie’s tips on how to improve your public speaking skills and dominate pitching competitions.
The Interview with Artie Lopez
Interviewer: What inspired you to be a pitch coach for startup?
Artie Lopez: When I was a student in Founder Institute Batch 1, the mentors were all impressed with my pitching skills. Not only that, I was able to help my other classmates improve a lot in their pitches.
It actually came to a point where even after I graduated, one of the mentors asked me to help him in his pitch for a NY-based accelerator. He even paid me for the gig, since he said that he wanted it to be a business transaction and that I should know how it feels to make money from it so I can continue to do it. He was also the one who suggested that I should be a “pitch doctor”.
After some time of thinking about it, and after reading the book “How Google Works”, I realized that I would prefer to be seen and known as a “coach” rather than a “doctor”. The reason is that according to the Google book, everybody needs coaches. Even the best sports players in the world have coaches. The reason is that coaches don’t necessarily play better than the players. What they do is find ways and help the players be better. That’s what I want to do, I want to help purposeful startups and founders become better.
Interviewer: What common problems do you see with the startups when they pitch?
Artie Lopez: For a lot of startups, they always focus on the product or solution of what they do. They talk and spend so much time of their pitch focusing on the features and details. Audiences don’t want to hear the details, they want to hear about the problem you are trying to solve and how you are doing it.
They want to hear about your traction and your team, and why you are the best guys to solve this problem. The details are still important, but those are discussed way after the pitch in the future meetings. The rough flow should be: Problem = Solution = How = How much = How big = Who are you = What have you done so far to get there.
Interviewer: Who are the startups whom you have helped with their pitch?
Artie Lopez: I’ve helped a lot of startups and founders with their pitch and much more, but here are some of the ones who have won competitions or raised funding hopefully with my help:
1. Serve Happy Jobs – Seedstars Manila 2017, Techtonic 2017
2. Qwikwire – Ignite 2017
3. Acudeen – Seedstars Manila 2016, Seedstars Global Switzerland 2016
4. 1 Export – Mobile Challenge Manila 2016, Mobile Challenge Asia – 2016, Global Mobile Challenge in Barcelona – top 10
5. Fetch Valet – Ideaspace 10 2017
6. Snipe – Ideaspace 10 2017, APEC Offline to Online Manila 2017
7. Cropital – Ideaspace 10 2016, Rice Bowl Awards 2016, MaGIC Malaysia
8, Tralulu – Ideaspace 10 2016, Raised Angel investment
9. GoodMealHunting – Seedstars Manila 2015, Tech In Asia Road to Indonesia 2015, Raised funding
10. RideWave – LBC Mobility Challenge 2016
Interviewer: What are your top tips for startups when it comes to pitching?
Artie Lopez: Always tell a story, because that’s what people are open to listening to and it’s what they remember and can relate with. Don’t use jargon or technical terms. Focus on the problem and how you solving it.
Be conversational, not as if you’re presenting a technical paper. And practice, practice and then practice. Don’t practice till you get it right, you practice until you can’t get it wrong.
Also, I find that the best founders are the ones that are really driven. So passion is good but not enough, you have to find a purpose. Passion is selfish while Purpose is selfless. Find a cause that is bigger than yourself.
Interviewer: What are memorable moments wherein you helped someone with the pitch? Any funny ones? Any dramatic ones?
Artie: When I help founders with their pitch, I make sure I help them until they really are confident with themselves. So I spend a good amount of time with them. I’ve spent the whole night with a founder in Isshin the Japanese restaurant till 4am when they closed and kicked us out. Thats happened twice!
I’ve also stayed in Bitspace till 3am right before the day of the competition with another startup. For one startup that was competing overseas, we met on Sundays in Alabang just so we can practice in between work days and family occasions.
It makes my heart warm to see these founders improve and be successful. In a way, it’s like I’m raising so many children, because I have none of my own right now. Their success is my success, their happiness is my happiness.
Interviewer: Do you have any message you would like to share to aspiring startups out there?
Artie Lopez: Please allow me some parting words. I just want to share something that we at Brainsparks truly believe in and we try to instill in everyone that we work with. “Pursue something so important, that even if you fail, the world is a better place for you having tried.” – Tim O’Reilly
Author: Bobby Ben Davis Cristuta
Bobby is the CMO and Co-founder for Admov Philippines. He is a serial technopreneur. He is passionate in delivering emerging marketing channels and bring Manila as destination for innovative advertising technologies.