How to create an effective pitch? - Vrainz


There are very few cases in which it is enough for a Startup to show a list with metrics and outcomes to draw an investor´s attention . In most cases, even when things are going well and we can demonstrate an exponential growth and promising business model that delivers results, capturing the attention of an investment fund, an angel investor, an acceleration program , or even the press, requires an effective and well planned pitch.

A pitch, a term that may already be beaten so much that we hear it, involves much more than the words we speak for a demo day, an exhibition, while we present ourselves to someone else at a fair, or during an informal chat over coffee. A truly effective pitch can briefly sum up the problems we intend to solve, the solution found to this problem, the implementation of this solution, how to market it, and if we are seeking for funds, a plan of action for the money we are asking . But while some of these points may be absent and there is actually a unique structure that we use, there is an element that is fundamental and can not be missed under any circumstances; a good pitch should generate enthusiasm and willingness to learn more.

It is for this reason and to maximize the chances of success that even those who have a way with words and do not suffer when speaking in public, need to take the time to outline his pitch, and incorporate practice. Because no possibility exists-even if we are in a good day- to improvise something that works really well without at least a basic idea or a thread that we can continue.

But before we sit down to write is necessary to know in what to think about. That’s why we put together this little guide, which includes the most important elements we have to keep in mind when thinking about the words that, whenever we can, we will present in our project.


The foundation: a good story

One of the fundamental aspects of a pitch that generates interest is to have a story. One reason that led us to discover the problem which then we will delve.

A good story has several advantages. On the one hand allows us to explain through a metaphor or an analogy the problem we will talk about in such a way to simplify it for the audience. Secondly, a story allows the public to interact with us, understand us and know us better. Finally, you can prove passion for what we do, and true motivation for creating a great product.

No need to tell a true story . The important thing is that pulls together these requirements and is credible enough to generate a positive impact. An alternative, if we can not achieve this, is to appeal to exaggeration and humor, although sometimes can backfire if it is not applied with surgical precision and with great confidence.


PSP: Problem, Solution and Product

Once we have the attention of the audience, we move to the next point, which is to explain the problem that your product or service seeks to solve. It is essential, when the problem is detailed, to explain to whom it affects. That is, what will be our market, in what way, and to what extent is afflicted by it. Understanding the problem is the first step to understand the product, especially when it comes to complex markets or innovative solutions, so it is necessary to be clear and concise on this point.

The next step is to explain the solution. It is, in short, how we propose to solve the problem. At this point we can use an analogy, or a conceptual description of what we do and then delve into the product itself again.

It is essential to note that, unless we are talking about a product pitch, or that we have something completely different from anything seen, it is not necessary to cross it step by step, but to tell briefly what it is about,  why it resolves the problem, and why it is vital to our target audience.


The business model

This aspect of the pitch is not essential in all cases, but it is important for companies with a certain journey, and when we present ourselves to any type of investor. It comes to explain what will be the business model through which the company will generate a turnover. It is prudent to explain why this model was chosen and, as far as possible, incorporate some projection to show that it will generate growth and is scalable.


Metric and adoption

This is a point of the pitch that will vary depending on the stage in which we find our Startup. Anyway, it’s always good to show some traction, which can be observed in a large number of users, a lot of customers, or a certain revenue levels; or at least a great potential, which can be seen in the number of customers or users that showed interest in our product or service, or the results of a successful competitor in our own market. Whatever the case, we must show that our product or service, with appropriate funding, has the potential to become a real success.


The Team

This point, which is many times overlooked, it is of great importance for most investors, and is completely vital for incubation and acceleration´s programs. A good team is the foundation of a successful company, much more than the product which always suffer changes- or business model. A solid, experienced team, with different profiles and skills, a background to offer any kind of support and safety generates trust and interest in backing the project. Of course, not all Startups meet all these requirements. However, it is important to present what we have with the greatest enthusiasm possible, and showing that it is a suitable group capable of taking the company forward.


The Action Plan

This point is only necessary if we are looking for a particular investment, but it is important to show why need the money, and if we receive it, in which we will be investing.

This plan must be consistent with everything we have about the product, our market and our business model, although not necessary to enter into specifics. We just need to show that we know our business and we know what their needs are.


An attractive closure and a call to action

Finally, to close our pitch we need a consistent close to our history and to generate enthusiasm. It can be a high turnover figures or users, or just a future promise. Either way it should sound realistic. At the same time, it is necessary to convert the interest we’ve woken up in a concrete benefit, so it is important to include a call to action such as an invitation to contact us or directly to learn more about our company, so as to let us know which audience is willing to get in touch or interested .

It is important to remember that, at times, a pitch may include a round of questions, so it is good to select one point we want to highlight and strategically leave it out of our presentation, or mention without giving much detail, so as to guide the public to focus on that topic.

How we said at the beginning, there are several circumstances in which an entrepreneur needs to appeal to their pitch, so it is not advisable to fit a single format. After all, it is not possible to give a five-minute monologue for a coffee. But if it’s important to write a story, meet each of the points mentioned above, and to adapt to the circumstances in which we speak. In this way our speech will always be consistent, and  will come out easily either to talk for twenty seconds without ever going into detail or give a lengthy presentation by focusing on each point of our company.

Writing a good pitch can be difficult and require some inspiration,  therefore  we have included some videos that can arouse enthusiasm and desire to sit and create your own:



A correct pitch with a classical structure very well done.


This pitch uses the grotesque to draw attention in a manner consistent with your product and its potential market.

A pitch that uses a story to introduce your project and builds its identity from her.



Is frequent in the it business that the success of a company fires huge amount of copycats, ie similar products or services geared to other markets to other consumer segments, incorporating some extra enhanced functionality, that makes that new application an overcoming version of the original. This sometimes happens because of lack of creativity, but in most cases because a proven business model enables on the one hand, to greatly reduce the time needed to investigate the feasibility of a project and, second, to convince potential investors more easily that it is worth to bet on the idea. At the same time, facilitates the communication of the product in the press, which often escapes from being too innovative or with difficult concepts to explain to your readers. Despite being a relatively common phenomenon, few markets saw a flurry of announcements and releases as massive as one of the newest hot markets in the mobile industry: mobile messengers.

Born over five years, but exacerbated since Facebook bought Whatsapp for 22 billion dollars, the market for messengers has continued to see the birth of new players, of which it is possible to learn through the press, publishing the emergence of a new rival or “murderer of Whatsapp” almost every week. Thus, only in the last year, we met Telegram, a Russian project that offers more security and the guarantee that will never be sold to a mega-corporation; the Chinese WeChat application, which already had more than 300 million users in their home country and began to expand into the Western market; Msngran implementation built with a focus on feature phones ; Wire, a messenger created by the founder of Skype; and lately we found out that Google and Etermax, creator of the popular game “Preguntados”  Argentinian company, are preparing their own mobile messengers. To this we add Viber, Israeli company and the Japanese; Line, probably the only large real Whats App´s competitors, which in October 2014 amounted to 449 million and 560 million users respectively.

However, despite the passing success that achieve some of these new contenders, the company acquired by Mark Zuckerberg is growing at an increasingly rapid pace, having crossed the barrier of 700 million unique users, and becoming a leader in virtually every market, making it increasingly difficult to dethrone the titanic task. In this manner, the question whether it is worth to compete in a market as hot as this one, but so largely dominated by one company, and in which its main competitors already reached gigantic user base.


The answer is yes

The reason why so many big companies invest in the market of mobile messengers, and for which many new startups are encouraged to launch their own products, has to do with several factors. For one, although it is already a mass market, its potential is even greater. In 2014 only 24.5% of all mobile phones worldwide were smartphones, which means that 75% of those with a mobile does not yet have the ability to access many of the services that these devices offer. This situation is even more evident in emerging markets such as Saharan Africa, India, and even regions of Latin America, where although there is already a domination by any of these messengers, it still reaches a small portion of the population, thus there is an opportunity for any new competitor to become a leader without the need of dethroning a previous competitor. This, for example, is what Google suggests in India, where through Android One, a line equipped with its operating system available for under $ 100 phones, plans to take the local market and create a fertile ecosystem to offer their new messenger.


On the other hand, while reaching mass audiences in more developed markets may not be easy, there is potential to target different segments or small niches with its own identity, like the business market (where the BBM continues to lead) or the market of youth and adolescents, where Snapchat became popular.


However, the key reason why it makes sense to invest in this market has to do with which, by their nature, will surely culminate in the consolidation in just one or two companies. This creates a huge opportunity. On the one hand, if a new competitor is able to develop a sufficiently attractive feature and it has the potential to capture users that already use other services can consolidate as one of those competitors. But on the other hand, a new startup that achieves to install in an emerging market, in a certain niche, or resulting annoying enough for the big players, there is no doubt that will become a perfect candidate to receive large investments in order to expand its development, to be acquired by one of the leaders, or one of the Internet giants looking to strengthen its presence in this market.


Monetization: the great challenge

Despite the enormous skills shown by Whats App, and definitely by Facebook, to grow and accumulate users, a problem that these companies still face can be a key to its future. This has to do with monetization.

Today WhatsApp does not generate money and, in fact, with a turnover of just 15 million during 2014, earned him millions to social network losses. It is still unclear what the plans of Mark Zuckerberg and his team to monetize the application are. For now, it is clear that they put the focus on market leadership, so this is a concern that deferred to the future. However, it is important to note that the incorporation of advertising can generate a low mass of users, so whatever the plan is, should be taken forward with caution.

Some competitors, however, have achieved positive balances in recent years. One of the most emblematic cases is “Line”, which billed $ 335 million in 2013 with the sale of stickers by sponsoring brands and other advertisers.

Competing in a hot market, especially one with so much potential, is risky and requires large investments and creativity. However, the benefits that a good product strategy and growth may entail are so high that it is expected that hundreds of entrepreneurs of all types and sizes will launch to conquer the market.





There are a huge number of possibilities when thinking about an exit strategy, ie a strategy to abandon a Startup and capitalized in the process. While not all entrepreneurs planned from the beginning where they plan to arrive with their projects, investors often take it into their heads from the minute they put their hands on the business plan.

The multiple possibilities includes: the sale to a competitor or a giant in the market, which generally results in a multiplication between three and ten times the investor invested capital, and a very generous pay for the entrepreneur; the acquihire, ie the sale to another company acquires the Startup for his talent, resulting in a small profit for investors and a very good job in the purchasing company for the entrepreneur; settlement, which involves closing the the Startup and generally report losses and a blow to the reputation of the entrepreneur; the Startup exploitation, which involves collecting a good salary for the entrepreneur, and the possibility of withdrawing indefinitely dividends to investors; and the IPO, ie convert the Startup in a public company listed on the stock exchange, which often lead to investors multiplied dozens of times their profits, and entrepreneurs earn enough money to live in peace the rest of their lives, or more. This last strategy is, undoubtedly, less frequent.

In the United States in 2013 only about 5,000 companies had the status of public, this is a tiny fraction if you consider that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of companies  only in that country. This has to do primarily that there are a number of requirements that public companies must comply. These are: to fully open their books to the public and its shareholders requiering a fierce administrative work and submission to special rules and ongoing scrutiny of the SEC (or CNV, if we speak of a case such as Argentina). However, contrary to the ideas installed in the popular imagination, it is not necessary to make billions of dollars for an initial public offering. On the contrary, as we proceed to attract any type of investor, all it takes is showing solid metrics in a sense that builds trust in the company, and certainty that the investment will bring some sort of return (in this case, in the form of growth of share value), even in the long run.


The road to IPO

Reaching an IPO is not a short or easy way, and requires a certain visibility and plausible path back operation. At the same time, it is necessary to have a lot of resources to plan and execute the IPO, as well as an experienced and well connected team to take it forward. In general, these operations are approached by a few mutual funds that detect which companies have the potential of becoming public, and put money in them to guide them in that way.

However, it is not necessary to wait for these startups to ripen for a decade and bill hundreds of millions to launch them into the bag. For some analysts as Eric Jackson, from Forbes, even companies like Facebook, Twitter and Groupon were questioned in time for becoming public very quickly, or not having fully developed their business models at the time of IPO. According to the analyst, putting into the focus of the ordinary investor (not specialized in Silicon Valley technology funds) requires companies to answer uncomfortable questions and having to rethink its structure with total openness, which often results in greater creativity so as to start monetizing and developing their full potential.


Acquisition vs IPO

Going to the specific case of Groupon, if the company had accepted the bid for 6 billion dollars from Google, it probably wouldn’t have been forced to make the radical changes it had to do, replacing its CEO, incorporating some aspects of traditional e-commerce, and adding new monetization channels such as discount coupons from all shops and online stores. In the hands of Google, Groupon would probably have ended more like an abandoned project or as a secondary service in which the company would not have put the focus needed. While financially the acquisition would have been easier for its founder and its investors, no doubt there would not have been better for the company.

Today, companies like Snapchat which last month raised $ 485 million in financing for 23 private investors, which enabled it to survive and continued its expansion to become one of the most popular social networks (or messengers) among young, accumulating hundreds of million users could well point to becoming public. While this the Startup, which already rejected three offers from Facebook, haven´t billed a penny, it has enough traction and a high growth rate in key demographics that with the huge capital injection which represents a IPO, and the pressure that new shareholders exert over their heads, could certainly become a highly profitable company that offers great returns in the long term.

On the other hand, without developing a business model that generates revenues that allows to originate a return, an IPO can be a good way to recover the capital invested (and multiply it several times), and to compensate entrepreneurs for their years of effort relatively quickly. Unfortunately, this path is valid both for those who have a legitimate purpose to seize the traction, capital and reputation of the company to turn it into a highly profitable, and for those who simply want to cash out and forget about the company’s business.


A paradigmatic case to analyze, when we talk about IPOs carried out early, is the case of Amazon. The leader in the field of electronic commerce conducted its IPO just three years after being founded, and when it held a modest turnover of 16 million dollars. It was just an SME standards of the United States. However, thanks to notoriety it had a successful exit to markets. And it was probably thanks to public exposure, and initial skepticism of investors, Jeff Bezos was forced to consider clear objectives and develop a vision for their company, which led her to become one of the giants of the Internet, generating an incredible return on investment for those who bet on it.

Not all Startups have what it takes to become public companies. After all, besides great potential it takes at least a great metric to convince the right investors – and then to markets – that the IPO is a worth taking path. At the same time, the necessary capital is needed to carry it forward, and with enough preparation to face the enormous challenge and the great burden to carry out a public company.

However, if you have great traction, an important notoriety in the press and in a market segment, and the conviction that with indicated capital is possible to develop a large business it is not necessary to have billed even a single dollar to carry out a relatively successful IPO, and to use it to build a great company.




2014 was a great year for Latin American entrepreneurs. While Silicon Valley remains a mecca in which all look to learn the latest in innovation, and the search for resources to fund us, our region offers increasingly better projects and teams who are encouraged to innovate themselves, as well as greater opportunities and respect for the global community.

That’s why, at the beginning of the year, we chose five Startups born in Latin America, targeting different markets and designed in totally different ways that are very promising for 2015.


iBillionaire´s (Argentina / Ecuador / USA)


Founded by the Ecuadorian Raul Moreno and Argentinean Alejandro Estrada, co-founder of DineroMail, this Startup has various features that make it unique. Conceived initially as an iOS application, iBillionaire´s was created to help small investors compare their portfolios with billionaires like Warren Buffet and George Soros who, according to Moreno´s premise, often make better decisions and beat the most popular investment funds. This in itself made the company win over a lot of media coverage as well as making it a major success in the United States. However, during the last year the project evolved, and with it so did their goals and business model.

While initially the intention of the company was sustained through a freemium model, to access certain features of the application required a paid subscription. The model evolved to make the App a means to attract investors to iBillionaire´s own ETF based on thirty billionaire´s portfolio (for the English meaning of the word) to draw investors wishing to place 20 to 30,000 US dollars.

An ETF is an investment fund that can come and go at any time and that is listed on the stock exchange, as if it were an action.

The ETF iBillionaire´s is under approval and is expected to become operational in 2015, thus it is worth following the future of this company.


Games (Mexico)


This small independent studio founded in Mexico in 2012 embodies, in a way, every entrepreneur’s dream: to use their own talents and resources to create a great product that achieves success and recognition. And that’s exactly what happened with “Celleste”, the first game released by this startup which was selected by Apple’s AppStore as one of the best games of 2014, along with Boom Beach, FIFA 15 and Farmville 2, among others.

This game, only available for iOS, allows one to take control of various forces of the universe and of natural events, such as meteorites and the void of space phenomena, in order to help a group of alien cows to move between different planets and thereby protect them from danger.

What makes Elevator Games so interesting, beyond the enormous talent shown by his small team developing Celleste, is the fact that from its beginnings they did not receive any support of any mentor or investment institution. In fact, their entire team worked for two years while holding other jobs, investing their own money and time without receiving a salary.

Already established as a company, gaining reputation while also making a turn over, they intend to launch new games for 2015, so it is worth being aware of everything they do.


Criptext (Panama)


In a world marked by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the massive espionage of intelligence agencies, and in which large companies like Sony are victims of cyber attacks, it is logical that an increasingly promising market for security applications has begun to emerge.  Criptext, one of the most promising Latin American Startups 2015, is more than aware of it.

Created by Mayer Mizrachi and his team, this Startup seeks to dethrone BlackBerry Messenger as the messaging application of choice for companies and governments. The key is to apply all kinds of protections to shared information. On the one hand, the messages are encrypted and self-destruct fifteen seconds after being received. In addition, messages never show information about the issuer, so even if they are intercepted or taken a screenshot, it is impossible to prove from whom they come from. Designed for large organizations, Criptext must be installed on client’s own servers, and allows the IT department to have complete control over its members.

With only a few months in the market, this application already secured contracts with large customers, including a Regional Government, so it is advisable to remain aware of what they will be doing in 2015.


Satellogic (Argentina)


This Argentinian Startup founded by Emiliano Kargieman, embodies one of the most ambitious projects in the entrepreneurial world: to reinvent the TV. Founded in 2010 -after the passing of its founder through the Singularity University- Satellogic plans to launch small satellites which are the size of a hard disk into space, and place them in a low orbit, allowing to take pictures of anywhere in the world in HD instantaneously.

This is useful for such diverse tasks as agricultural production, security, and energy production.

This objective, that may sound far away from reach, actually it is not that far. The company, which has already raised $ 4.5 million in investment, launched its first satellite called “Tita” and plans to launch ten to fifteen this year. Keep yourself quite close in following their progress during 2015.


Bitpagos (Argentina)


Another application of Argentine origin is BitPagos, a mobile payment processor that allows Bitcoin to receive payments from anywhere in the world. Created with commerce and mobile transactions in mind, this application is distinguished from other services by a function that is extremely attractive in highly regulated Argentine and Venezuelan markets . It  allows to take credit card payments in which capital becomes Bitcoin automatically, whereby the trader always receive the virtual currency.

Having emerged from Boost Accelerator VC in Silicon Valley, this Startup is rapidly growing but it also faces the challenge of educating Latin American traders about the potential of Bitcoin as a currency which critics say it´s not yet proven.

However, with more than $ 600,000 in investment, the company promises high growth in 2015, and we will begin to see it implemented in more and more services and mobile stores throughout the coming year.


With over 600 million people, economies increasingly booming and an infrastructure that improves daily, Latin America is one of the most promising markets for all kinds of industries over the coming decades. With penetration reaching 134% at the regional level, the cellular telephony has become an essential component of the economy of the twenty countries that compose the region, and the primary means of access to information and other critical services for their population. However, with its own culture and characteristics, Latin America has some peculiarities that are important to know before tackling a project in any of their countries.


Mobile became the main tool for Internet access

In the last years, cell phones have become the main sources of Internet at regional level. In 2011 mobile connections exceeded the number of connections through fixed networks. This occurs for two reasons. On the one hand, there are major infrastructure problems in different countries of the region. Furthermore, the large expanses difficult the access to fixed networks in rural areas.

For these two reasons is that mobile networks have become the main gateway to the network in Latin America. Regionally, fixed broadband reaches about 20% of households. Even in countries with more developed infrastructure, such as Brazil and Argentina, where 60% of households have such connections, the penetration of this technology in low-income households barely reaches 8%.

Moreover, according to data from GSMA, with over 200 million users connecting via 3G networks and, in some cases, 4G, mobile Internet already has a penetration of 33% and is expected to reach 50% by 2020, numbers both today and projected to five years, exceed the world´s average.

In 2013 via mobile networks, Latin American users exchanged 91,863 TB, and in 2014 about 177,273 TB per month, a figure that is expected to continue to grow together with the industry.


Five countries represent 70% of the regional market

While Latin America is a region in itself, it is important to remember that there is great diversity among different countries in which the mobile industry is concerned. One of the easiest ways to identify variations has to do with the magnitude of each of the markets, due in part to the size of the population of each of them, but also by their socioeconomic characteristics.


Thus, only five of the twenty countries that compose the region, represent 70% of the market. These are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela, summing 230 million unique users. At the same time, many of these countries represent some of the highest rates of penetration of cellular telephony, in all cases greater than 95%.

These five countries also share other characteristics such as having the highest rates of smartphone adoption. These devices constitute 45.1% of the total in Venezuela, 32.4% in Brazil, 31.9% in Argentina, 26.9% in Colombia, and 17.9% in Mexico.

While competition is increasing in these countries, only two companies concentrate 71% of the market. It’s America Movil (Claro) and Telefonica, which operates with Movistar and Vivo brands.

Although prepaid connections constitute 80% of lines, Latin America is shaping up to be the second smartphone market globally.

However, as mentioned earlier, there is great diversity among different regional markets, prepaid connections are imposed in all countries of the region. Even in more developed markets such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the postpaid customers, those with a fixed monthly plan, reached in 2013 only 30% of the total.


Anyway, it is held in all segments, the growth in smartphone´s sales, which, according to eMarketer, already represent 30% regionally, figure that will continue to grow thanks to the increasingly development on better phones in medium and low ranges .


The online messaging is replacing SMS

One of the keys to understand the breakthrough of data plans among mobile telephony users  in Latin America, lies in knowing their habits when communicating. One of the main incentives to adopt Internet connections on mobile phones has to do with the increasingly widespread social networks like Facebook use and, in particular, online messengers such as WhatsApp and Viber.

In fact, WhatsApp, the most popular service in the region, has a penetration of 75% in markets such as Argentina, and 67% in Mexico (88% if taken into account only smartphones). Such is the impact of these messengers that companies like Telefonica were affected in their revenues due to the fall in the use of SMS over recent years.

The mobile industry produces 4.1% of GDP at the regional level and generates more than one million jobs.

Finally, it is important to highlight the enormous impact that the mobile industry has on the regional economy. According to GSMA, the mobile industry generates about 242 billion dollars in Latin America, which directly contributes to 4.1% of GDP. At the same time, generates more than one million direct jobs and allows, thanks to its infrastructure, allows other industries to develop such as electronic commerce, which already sees 4.8% of their transactions through cell phones, one rising figure that will continue to grow if we consider that, according to Amazon, Latin America has become the second largest market in terms of online retail expansion after China.

Another market that is greatly benefited by the growth of connectivity is the mobile applications and content created for these devices. Although, according to ComScore, the most popular applications in the region are social networks and free messengers, they generate revenue through the publish, and mobile gaming industry which by itself in 2013 generated more than $400 million billing regionally.

As can be seen, the market for our region is constantly expanding and going through a paradigm shift that will lead to a traditional model to a service based primarily on data. Mobile phones, are the main way to connect to the network and communicate among Latin Americans.