The Secret to a Great Pitch? This Female Founder Shares the Simple Strategy That Continues to Win for Her. Bitewell co-founder Sam Citro explains how she prepared to wow investors on "Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch."
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.)
Bitewell bills itself as the world's first digital food pharmacy. The platform educates people on the use of food as medicine with its proprietary food navigation tool called the FoodHealth Score and then helps them shop for meals and ingredients that fit their needs, preferences, and budget.
After a super-sweet appearance on Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, Bitewell co-founder Sam Citro walked out with a $200K investment from investor Kim Perell. Watch Sam's pitch, then read on to learn how she prepared to make sure that the investors were hungry to be a part of her company.
How did you prepare for the show?
I have a BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, so I have a bit of a leg-up when preparing for public appearances. It was a combination of doing investor pitch prep and scripted TV prep. I memorized my 60-second pitch and drilled it into my brain so that I was saying it in my sleep. For me, knowing the business fundamentals of my company is easy — it's what I spend all day, every day building, so I know those numbers like the back of my hand.
What did you think was going to happen? What was different from your expectations?
I've been on TV before, so I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. What I wasn't expecting was the 12-hour day! I didn't realize how much content we'd develop over the course of the shoot. It was incredible.
Why do you think they opened the doors?
You'd have to ask the investors to know for sure, but if I were a betting woman, I'd say it's the combination of the market opportunity size and our demonstrated traction. Eliminating diet-related disease is a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity, and we've shown that we can make that vision a reality.
How did the negotiations go? Would you do anything differently?
I wish I would have pushed back on Kim a bit more about the valuation. Our business has grown so much since the last financing, and I let her in on the same terms. So, it was a great deal for Kim!
What do you plan to do with your investment?
It's all going toward growth-related activity: marketing and hiring additional members of our sales team.
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What did it mean to you personally to get in the boardroom and walk out with a win?
I believe in what we're building, so when I went into the boardroom believing we'd come out with a deal. I think you have to be that confident, that sure in your business, to be a founder. That said, I'm incredibly proud and grateful that we left the boardroom with an investment from Kim. As a female CEO, it's important to me to have equal representation of female investors around the table. I'm looking forward to all of the great work Kim and I will do together!
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
Do it! But remember that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Come prepared to walk out with a deal.