Call it the entrepreneurial school of hard knocks. More than a half dozen entrepreneurs were given the opportunity today to pitch their ideas on stage in less than three minutes at The Startup Conference in downtown Seattle.
Sounds easy, huh? Well, you’ve probably never seen Brian Wong in action. The fast-talking, know-it-all 20-year-old founder of mobile startup kiip critiqued each of the elevator pitches from entrepreneurs, some from folks twice his age.
“Just so you know, most of my opinions may be for both entertainment and for constructive purposes,” said Wong in warning the entrepreneurs before taking the stage. “You don’t know which 50 percent is for each, so try your best to figure out which one.”
Sabira Arefin, the co-founder and CEO of LocalBlox, walked into the chainsaw and didn’t quite know what had hit her as she pitched a new neighborhood community and social networking site. “LocalBlox empowers businesses to connect with their customers using local social media and mobile platform. The site is currently serving in 60,000 neighborhoods in the U.S. and in all major cities worldwide.”
“Slow down. Slow down. We can’t hear,” said Wong as he interrupted Arefin in the first few sentences of her pitch.
Later, he offered a tough critique.
“Whenever you answer something, I feel like a train just ran me over,” said Wong. “There is a lot of data in one snippet, so when you are talking to a human being there’s a lot of breaks you need to put in there. We don’t all think as fast as you do…. As much as the information is important, the delivery of it is also just as important to be able to understand it and for me to be able to digest it.”
Here are a couple of the pitches from entrepreneurs.