This Game Creation Company Just Scored a $100K Investment. Here's the Inside Story of How the Founder's Pitch Won Big. Mariam Nusrat explains how she was able to lock up a huge investment for her gaming company Breshna.io on "Elevator Pitch."
- Mariam Nusrat's company Breshna.io offers users the ability to quickly create their own games without having to write a single line of code.
- Her appearance on "Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch" led to a $100K investment.
- Nusrat advises entrepreneurs to bring a ton of energy and passion to their pitch meetings — numbers are important but they're not the only thing that investors care about.
Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch is the show where contestants get into an elevator and have just 60 seconds to pitch their business to our board of investors. In this ongoing article series, we're celebrating the entrepreneurs who walked out with a win and sharing their tips for pitching success. (Answers have been edited for length.)
If you've ever dreamed of creating your own video game but don't have a clue about coding, Mariam Nusrat's company Breshna.io is built for you. Mariam recently appeared on "Elevator Pitch" to discuss her simple creation platform and walked out with a $100K investment from Jonathan Hung. "Our platform creates games with no code, at zero cost and at lightning speed!" she told Entrepreneur. "So think about a math teacher — she can make a run-and-catch game where students are catching even numbers and dodging odd numbers and having a blast. It's like the Canva for purposeful games."
Watch her winning pitch below, then read on to learn how she prepped to score big on the show.
How did you prepare for your shot on "Elevator Pitch"?
I was super pumped about the chance to share my big idea with the ultra-cool celebrity judges and was determined to make every moment count. So, I did what any eager entrepreneur would do—I practically etched that 60-second pitch into my brain. I wrote it out, practiced it, and recited it like a mantra, whether I was getting ready in the morning, sneaking in some practice during lunch breaks, or going over it while brushing my teeth before bed. I also went all Sherlock Holmes on the judges, checking out their investment preferences, and things that excite them. Marc Randolph loves talking about repeatable scalable business models, Kim is all about execution, and Jonathan and I both are London School of Economics alum!
What did you think was going to happen? What was different from your expectations?
Going into the show, I was particularly enthusiastic about the elevator pitch. I love public speaking; I've done two TEDX talks and even shared the stage with President Clinton. It was a pleasant surprise to see just how much I could squeeze into a 60-second pitch – it's actually a lot!
The real surprise, though, was the boardroom negotiations. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. I was both excited and nervous, and honestly, I didn't expect it to be so much fun. It was like a wild ride, and I found myself loving every minute of it.
Why do you think they opened the doors?
I believe the judges decided to open the boardroom doors for me because our traction and progress in the last two years spoke volumes about our commitment, capital efficiency and the massive opportunity that Breshna.io presents. The user growth and fundraising success we had achieved was hard to ignore, and I think that piqued their interest. And last, I have a hunch that my energy and enthusiasm during the 60-second pitch played a role. Sometimes, it's not just about the numbers. It's about the jockey, not just the horse, and I think they liked what they saw.
Would you do anything differently during the negotiating process?
The negotiations were a big highlight for me. When the elevator doors opened into the boardroom, I had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn't all an amazing dream! Jonathan asked my favorite question about the meaning of the name Breshna. it means "lightning" in the Pashto language, my mother tongue and aligns with our mission of empowering users to make video games at lightning speed!
The majority of our boardroom negotiations revolved around the deal terms, mainly because our valuation stood out as higher than that of most companies featured on the show. I rationalized this valuation by pointing to our impressive fundraising track record and the momentum we'd gained, and our potential to become a "decacorn" in the UGC gaming industry. I gratefully accepted Jonathan's offer of a $100,000 investment at a $40 million valuation.
What do you plan to do with your investment?
With 27 months of runway, we are not pressed for funding, but the investment will allow us to double down on our scalable and cost-efficient GTM channels, and solidify our position at the intersection of no-code content creation, metaverse and AI. Over the next two quarters, we plan to blitzscale user growth and launch an AI-powered text-to-game engine, BreshnaBlitz, and a carnival-themed metaverse, Breshnaverse. This funding will also allow us to unlock opportunities for our community to join our journey, not just as empowered content creators of the platform but also as investors. Click here to learn more about our equity crowdfunding.
What did it mean to you personally to get in the doors and walk out with a win?
Getting through those doors and emerging with a win meant the world to me on a personal level. As a female founder, I was well aware of the odds stacked against us in the venture capital world, where only 2% of women receive funding. Walking through those doors and securing a deal on the show is an immense source of motivation and validation.
It was not just a win for me, but a victory for my co-founder and brother, Rizwan Nusrat, and our entire team. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication. It also highlighted the unwavering support of our investors and underscored the massive opportunity that Breshna.io presents. This win wasn't just about a deal; it was about breaking barriers and making strides in an industry that needs more diversity and inclusivity. This show, with its visibility and Jonathan's backing, brought us one step closer to our goal of empowering the next 100 million people to tell their stories through video games.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
Recognize that this is an incredible opportunity and treat it with the utmost seriousness. Be intentional in crafting your pitch, commit it to memory, carefully consider your demo table setup, choose attire that boosts your confidence, and practice extensively. The key is thorough preparation, so invest the time and effort necessary to make the most of this chance.
Also fun tip: When rehearsing your pitch, ensure the timer counts down from 60 to 0 instead of the other way around, starting from 0 and going to 60. I made the mistake of practicing with a stopwatch that began at 0, and it threw me off when the timer went in the opposite direction.