How This Founder Pitched His Way to $150K in Investment for His Dream Gaming Business Jared McCluskey breaks down how he and The Mirror co-founder Alec Tremaine scored big on 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch.'
How do you land a $150,000 investment on Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch? Practice, lots and lots of practice.
When Jared McCluskey and Alec Tremaine, founders of the gaming-creator platform The Mirror, got their shot in the elevator, they did not take it lightly. "We practiced our 60-second pitch over 100 times with video calls and by recording ourselves," McCluskey told Entrepreneur. "We knew we had one shot to get the doors open."
The doors to the boardroom not only opened, but the duo secured funding from tech investor Swan Sit, who was impressed with The Mirror's capabilities for game makers. "The Mirror is designed for all skill levels and similar to how Figma brought multiplayer to design, The Mirror brings real-time collaboration to game development," explains McCluskey.
Watch The Mirror's Winning Pitch
We caught up with McCluskey to pick his brain for pitching strategies and tactics anyone can use on the show or in any meeting.
Congrats on your success on the show. Why do you think the investors voted to open the doors for you?
I believe they opened the doors because we hit the key points of the problem, solution, market, differentiation, team, traction, and financials in a concise, clear manner in the allotted 60 seconds.
How did the negotiations go? Would you do anything differently?
The show's team does a great job with having these pitches truly be on a timer with no redos. So you must plan and practice under pressure. Pop culture loves the myth of inherent talent, "overnight successes", and victory without trying. When Howard Hughes set the world record by circumnavigating the globe in 91 hours, he said, "There is one thing about this flight that I would like everyone to know: it was in no way a stunt. It was the carrying out of a careful plan and it functioned because it was carefully planned." Ben Horowitz alludes to these as "lead bullets." You won't regret putting in the reps.
What do you plan to do with your investment?
We'll continue to hire the best engineers to build a real-time game development platform that delights indie game developers and 3D creators. I'm thankful for how supportive the Godot community has been and we aim to continue to give back by sponsoring code contributions.
I'm grateful to Swan Sit for backing us. We went into the show not only seeking investment but a long-term partner and I believe this will be a great collaboration. Her presence in the web3 community and our focus on using web3 technology to create opportunities for people to learn new skills with free-market incentives is a perfect fit.
What did it mean to you personally to get in the doors and walk out with a win?
Some of it still doesn't feel real. It was less than a year ago that I sent a good friend (and now an investor, Maria Derchi) a 30-page draft about this blindspot that no company is tackling. I called Alec and Micah Petersen and asked, "Do you think I'm crazy?" Pieces were lining up almost too well with what I've been thinking about building for 15+ years since my Second Life business.
The best way to define the future is to build it. Each day when you get up and look in the mirror, you get to make choices; these choices shape the day, and these days cumulatively become the future. The future is in the mirror.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
Hit the key points that investors are looking for. As a technical founder, it's easy for me to go so in-depth on tech and product in pitches that I spend too little time on the other key items of the business. You must paint a simple and complete picture of the business, not just the product. Make sure to have an ask when you are pitching in the elevator and don't be afraid to negotiate with the investors. My high school background was in debate. I was in the YMCA's awesome Youth & Government program and it had a huge, positive impact on my life. I highly recommend joining a program like it to hone your public speaking ability.