How to Create a Winning Pitch for Your Digital Platform Zach Barney, the founder of Mobly, explains how he created a successful pitch for his big shot at glory 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.
This week, we spoke with Zach Barney, the founder of Mobly, a mobile sales tool that quickly scans and enriches leads, records contacts, and logs activity directly into your MAP or CRM. Barney landed a $50K investment and mentorship from Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. Here's how he planned and executed his winning pitch.
Watch Zach's Pitch
How did you prepare for the show?
Funny enough, two days before the show, I was in a different pitch competition (we won!), but that one was a 90-second pitch. So for two days before the recording, I was focused on trimming out a third of my pitch to make it fit. I probably rehearsed it 200 times!
How did it go? What was different from your expectations?
I tried not to overhype things because you never know what will happen in an environment like this. Maybe our problem/solution isn't interesting to the investors. Maybe I get stage fright and forget everything. So many things can go wrong, so I didn't tell too many people about it ahead of time. That being said, I hoped for the best, hence the 200 times rehearsing my pitch!
Why do you think they opened the doors?
I'm a sales guy by trade. One of the core rules of sales is that it isn't about you or the product — it's about solving a problem for the user. I made the bulk of the pitch focused on how painful this problem is that we solve, and then I made sure to be crystal clear on the ask and the traction. I watched a dozen or so episodes in the past and always cringed when the investors deliberated on whether they even wanted to hear more because those critical items were missing.
Related: Watch All Seasons of Elevator Pitch — Free
How did the negotiations go? Would you do anything differently?
Negotiations went well. I was really hoping Marc would make us an offer because his background fits in great with the type of person we want to work with. I'd obviously have been thrilled to work with the other investors, Kim Perell or Pinky Cole, but I knew Marc's experience aligned with what we wanted. I was excited to get an offer from Pinky but knew I had to reject it pretty quickly because we already had 10+ angel investors before the show I had to do right by. It wouldn't have been fair to them to give Pinky 4X the equity for the same dollar investment, even if she is a big name that brings a lot to the table. So when Marc offered money at the exact valuation we asked for, I had to take the deal, even if it was half the money Pinky offered.
What do you plan to do with your investment?
It's going to serve as a bridge for us to continue to meet payroll as we go to market for a priced seed round. We've got some amazing traction and hit every metric I told the investors I'd hit, so we've got a great story to tell. Those things take time, though, and another $50k in the bank extends our runway as we raise the seed round.
What did it mean to you personally to get in the doors and walk out with a win?
It served as a lot of validation for me that I'm building something other people value.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
- Don't fake anything. The investors are rock stars and they're brilliant.
- Watch a lot of prior episodes and get a feel for what gets a deal vs. what does not.
- Practice way more than you think you need to. Even though I was incredibly rehearsed, my mind went blank 30 seconds before recording. Thank goodness it came back to me due to sheer muscle memory!