Elevator Pitch: Startup vet touts social shopping service

Dmitry Balin pitches his company, Pikaba, at the Space Needle.

We’re back for another exciting and fast-paced episode of The Elevator Pitch, the show where entrepreneurs pitch their business plans in the 43 seconds it takes to ride to the top of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle.

In this episode, we hear from Dmitry Balin, a startup veteran who sold his previous company to Microsoft. Balin came well prepared to tout his new social shopping service, Pikaba.

Did we like it? Well, let’s just say the judges were quite split on this one. Find out in the show below whether we kept Balin around for the final rounds, or sent him to the ground to work on the business so more.

Joining me on the judging panel: GeekWire Chief Business Officer Rebecca Lovell and Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman. Enjoy!!


So, what do you think? Did we make the right choice? Cast your ballot here:

Meanwhile, here are the first three installments of the Elevator Pitch, featuring PetHub founder Tom ArnoldMannequin founder Prashant Sridharan and Frameable founder Nick White.

Think you’ve got what it takes to pitch your business while speeding to the top of the Space Needle? We’ll be filming another round of contestants next week, and are currently taking applications. If interested, email me — john@geekwire.com — with a quick explanation of your business and why you think you’ll get to stay on top of the Needle with us.

Stay tuned for more episodes of the Elevator Pitch. A big thanks to Lift Digital and the Space Needle for helping to make the show possible.

  • http://twitter.com/adamloving Adam Loving

    Fun (and ambitious) format. I agree pitch sounds like Zaarly. From looking at the site, Pikaba appears to have a little traction. I just don’t think “want ads” make up a significant percentage of the way consumers shop.

  • http://twitter.com/Seattle_Startup Seattle Startup

    I believe this would be a more effective exercise if the decision was based more on feedback from actual investors who invest actual money…not journalists. In fact, I think journalists shouldn’t have participated…instead get Greg to bring a few other investors for the next rounds.

    • johnhcook

      Fair enough, but I’m technically the only journalist in the bunch. We’ve made a point to bring in professional investors to help us critique the pitch.
      My colleague Rebecca has critiqued and analyzed hundreds, possibly thousands of business plans, in her former roles at the head of the Alliance of Angels and the Northwest Entrepreneur Network.
      In terms of my role, I do feel it is important that entrepreneurs be able to pitch their business plans to ordinary folks (like me) who don’t have a technical or business background. That said, I’ve heard my fair of pitches and interviewed thousands of entrepreneurs in the Seattle area over the past decade.
      Thanks for tuning in.

      John Cook
      Co-founder, GeekWire
      206-913-7926
      John@GeekWire.com