Pitching is probably one the most difficult business necessities. How can one tell if a pitch is convincing enough? Wayne Sutton has come up with PitchTo, a dedicated platform for rating and distributing pitches. PitchTo also provides a searchable database of pitches to help investors find the right talent, and give entrepreneurs the resources to perfect their pitch. In short, PitchTo takes the process to the digital arena. The online platform provides investors and startups a digital space to document and evaluate pitches.
If Sutton's name sounds familiar, in 2011, co-founded the much-touted NewMe Accelerator, the first minority led startup accelerator/incubator in Silicon Valley. He also launched a mobile location-based startup in 2009.
PitchTo founder Sutton, is passionate about opening the digital doors. He is also co-founder of Student Ventures, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to expose middle and high school students to the world of entrepreneurship, mobile app development, digital technology and STEM education. As one of the Wall Street Journal Startup Gurus, he writes regularly about the tech world. Sutton is also a past TED attendee and an Angel Investor In Training via Astia and the Pipleline Fellowship.
His blog, SocialWayne.com, has been ranked one of the 50 best technology and social media blogs in the world.
Now his focus is on PitchTo, which will be publicly available for use in mid January. Right now, it's by invite only.
TNJ.com: What prompted you to start PitchTo?
W.S.: Working with technology founders on their pitches, judging pitch competitions and attending numerous pitch related events such as hackathons, startup weekends and demo days prompted me to build PitchTo.
TNJ.com: How did you fund the startup?
W.S.: PitchTo has raised an undisclosed amount of angel investment and the rest I have invested into the company myself.
TNJ.com: What have been some obstacles with starting up PitchTo?
W.S.: There have been several obstacles with starting PitchTo such as starting with the right technology, team building and focus. I’ve overcome these challenges with help from mentors and passion. I took some time in 2013 to increase my UI/UX design and developer skills to where I could build a version of PitchTo that would eventually lay the foundation to launch a finished product.
TNJ.com: How does it actually work?
W.S.: PitchTo is an online platform that provides investors and startups a digital space to document and evaluate pitches.
Investors rely on pen and paper documents to evaluate pitches, often unable to save and share the information and advice collected. With no searchable database, the information will be lost. The result is a forgotten first impression and a lack of due diligence.
PitchTo changes that. The platform helps investors and entrepreneurs collect and manage pitches. The rating system breaks down the key elements of a successful pitch and immediately demonstrates whether or not the company is a good investment, or if people will actually use the product or service.
TNJ.com: What has the response been?
W.S.: Currently PitchTo has been by invite only, but will be open to the public mid January 2014. The feedback from early beta testers has been positive around the opportunity to be able to collect data around pitches and how valuable the information can be if the platform is widely used.
TNJ.com: How do you reach your target audience?
W.S.: For PitchTo to reach its target audience, we plan to establish partnerships with pitch related events, use content marketing along with encouraging our users to share their pitch rating on social media channels.
TNJ.com: What are some of your business goals for 2014?
W.S.: PitchTo's business goal for 2014 is to establish partnerships with various pitch related events and organizations to use PitchTo to manage and rate pitches.
TNJ.com: What are some of your long term goals for the company?
W.S.: PitchTo's long term goal is to be the single platform that is used to manage and rate technology founder pitches at events.
TNJ.com: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in the process of getting PitchTo up and running?
W.S.: The biggest lesson I’ve learned with getting PitchTo up and running is that it will require more determination than you can ever imagine and that requires willpower and focus. It will take all of your willpower, to plan, to prep, to work with developers, to deal with challenges and unexpected life hurdles. During the entire process, you have to have the willpower to focus and keep moving forward.