The Startup Port Campus Pitch 2023 has one essential rule that sets it apart from many others: No standard pitch with slides. The event, which is part of the Female Entrepreneurship Week 2023, challenges its participants to present their start-up idea in a way that they have mostly never done before. In the run-up to the event, we spoke with our experienced start-up consultant Nils Neumann about pitch formats and the challenges of founding a company.
The “Startup Port Campus Pitch 2023” is very different from conventional pitch events. What inspired you to put conventional presentation methods in the background and focus on creative, personal presentations?
Conventional founding and start-up competitions always feel the same in the jury sessions: the finalists present ten to 15 slides and, when presenting their project or company, are strongly oriented towards an established standard order of the aspects to be considered. We want to break this up and give the teams the opportunity to present their start-up projects in a completely different way.
Both the audience and the jury will decide on the best pitch: How do you see the balance between the expert jury’s opinion and the audience’s direct feedback? Can you give us an insight into how the audience will be involved in the process and what influence this can have on the final result?
We want to involve the audience in the voting. However, we don’t want the entertainment value of the presentation to be the sole criterion – or the team that brings the most of its own supporters to the pitch to automatically win. Therefore, each of the expert jurors will be given ten votes in order to adequately assess the aspects of innovation/customer benefit, market opportunities, team composition and the social impact of the project.
All nominated teams are in the early stages and have not yet founded a company. What special challenges and opportunities do you see for these “young” start-up ideas in the competition?
Some of the nominated teams have probably never presented their projects in front of a larger audience or without slides. So this form is probably new territory for some participants and thus a challenge. In a way, the unfamiliar situation is a replica of the proverbial “elevator pitch”, in which you have to pitch your idea to someone without any prior knowledge, even without the support of slides. In an “elevator” usually also in front of an audience… In this respect, the Campus Pitch is an opportunity to practise this kind of presentation.
The event emphasises the importance of diversity in the founding teams and encourages women in particular to participate. Why is this focus on diversity so important, and how do you plan to promote it in the event?
Diversity in a founding team, in all the experiences we have had over the past twenty years, promotes the likelihood of success of a venture. Diversity refers to the different genders of the people involved, the national, cultural and social backgrounds as well as the different educational backgrounds.
The cash prize of 500 euros, sponsored by TEMPOWERK, is certainly an incentive for many young founders. Apart from this prize, what other opportunities and advantages open up for the winning teams in the start-up scene?
At the Campus Pitch, supporters from the Hamburg network will be present, as well as investors and founders who have already successfully completed the process in which the applicants are currently engaged. All of these people will be on hand to give the teams advice and support them on their way. In addition to this networking component, the award itself is of course also a benefit. If a jury and an audience have already positively assessed my start-up project, it will be easier for other actors in the further start-up process to also examine it favourably and grant me funding or other advantages.
Finally, for those who are considering whether to participate as a team: What advice would you give them and what do you hope all participants will take away from this experience, regardless of whether they win or not?
There are probably dozens of pieces of advice – but since I don’t want to interfere at all with the preparation of the teams, I’ll limit myself to the most important one: stay authentic and be yourself! The jury and the audience won’t buy anything else anyway 🙂 And I hope that all participants have fun with this somewhat unusual form of pitch – and that they take away a colourful bouquet of new and helpful contacts from the networking that follows the award ceremony.
Are you interested in participating as a team?
Then contact the start-up support institution at your university/research institution. Each university and research institution in the Startup Port network of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region nominates a promising team in advance that is still in the early stages at the time of the pitch and has not yet founded a company.
We place great value on diverse teams and especially invite women to participate.
The Campus Pitch takes place as part of the nationwide Start-up Week and our Female Entrepreneurship Week.