Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's it Going to Take to Win Pitch Big?

Pitch Big judge, Chris Geisert fills us in.

TBP: What are you looking forward to most at Think Big Kansas City?

Chris: Any of these events that we go to – it’s all about meeting the entrepreneurs.  Seeing their passion on the frontline and learning about their business ideas. 

TBP: You attended Think Big Kansas City last year.  What are you expecting to see this year?

Chris: It was a great event last year.  This year, I expect more of the same great educational opportunities and the ability to meet and mingle with other entrepreneurs.  I’ll definitely be attending the presentations and the keynote.  I’m really looking forward to it.

TBP: You are participating as a panel judge for Pitch Big. What are you hoping to see from the contestants?
Chris: I want to hear their conviction as to why their ideas is going to work.  I want to hear a well-thought-out idea that is concise, clear and able to be confirmed.  In other words, show me the numbers.  If you can’t explain the benefit of your business or why it’s relevant in 25 words or less, then you probably need to refine your business or your message.

TBP: What are you going to take into consideration most when deciding on a winner of the competition?
Chris: The elevator speech and how they communicate will be a key piece of it.  But at the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not I think they can execute the idea.   Ideas are worthless without execution.  If they can’t execute it, then it doesn’t matter how great the idea is or how great their presentation is.  Another thing will be scalability.  Is this an idea that once it’s proven can accelerate to the next level quickly?

TBP: What’s it going to take to win? 
Chris: Overall to win, it’s going to take the complete package.  The idea, the presentation, and the belief that they can execute on it and that it can be scalable.  So when it comes down to it, I’m sure there are going to be a lot of great presentations, a lot of great ideas, several people that can execute.  But it’s who can pull that all together into one package.

TBP: What made you get involved as a panel judge for the business pitch competition?
Chris: We want to be active in the entrepreneurial community.  Whether we’re funding an idea or not, we want to see entrepreneurs in Kansas City succeed.  Hopefully entrepreneurs will learn something from just meeting with us that they can take and use–even if it’s just one nugget.   We think KC is a great place to start a business, especially a technology business, and anything we can do to foster that, we want to do. 

TBP: Why is a Pitch Big so important for Think Big Kansas City and what can it do for the entrepreneurial community? 
Chris: I think it’s important for entrepreneurs to get out and meet other entrepreneurs.  Whether they’re in Pitch Big or not, it’s important to get out, see what others are doing, know that they’re not alone–because sometimes being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely business–so I think it’s good for them to get out an mingle.  For those that are participating, I think it’s a great time for them to practice giving their message in front of an audience, get feedback, refine their message for the next time they present; that’s how they improve.

TBP: How do you Think Big? 
Chris: I Think Big by trying to figure out how to scale a business.  Once we understand a business, how do we immediately try and scale it as big as possible.  Within Tradebot Ventures, it’s finding an entrepreneur, figuring out if that idea is going to work, and if it is, how do we scale it.  I think scaling is the biggest way that we Think Big.
Interested in applying for Pitch Big?  Apply here. 
Interview conducted by Allison Way.

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