Keep Startup Pitches Simple, Stupid

By Javier Espinoza, recently featured on the Wall Street Journal

Entrepreneurs looking to impress potential investors should make sure they can explain their business to outsiders in a snappy and clear way.

That’s advice from Gonzalo Martin-Villa, the chief executive of Telefonica Digital’s start-up accelerator Wayra, who was speaking during the WSJ Tech Café in London.

His company helps entrepreneurs bring ideas to reality during the early stages of the project. It was launched one year ago and now funds 172 projects in 11 different countries in Latin America and Europe where Telefónica has offices. It grants $50,000, office space and mentors to help their business grow.

Here’s what he thinks makes a good pitch:

  • Be clear about your idea. “People need to understand what you are talking about. A lot of the entrepreneurs are so into their project that other people cannot understand” what their project is about, he said.
  • Tear up that spreadsheet. Wayra isn’t interested in a detailed business plan because at an early stage of a business the likelihood is that it isn’t going to work. “We don’t want to see numbers,” he said.
  • It’s about the team. Instead, he’s interested in the background of the team and in seeing people complementing each other. A great team is someone with a business background and another person with a technology expertise.
  • Acknowledge your competition. Many times, he said, entrepreneurs don’t recognize their competitors. Those who fail to do so “are out” of the selection process for funding.

This article was recently featured on the

Categories: FINANCES general


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