One Bad Pitch Doesn’t Mean The End

On Friday June 2, AMO Opportunities won the Polsky New Venture Challenge at Chicago Booth.  They received $100,000 prize.  They also get exposure.  If they decide to raise capital, I bet they get a check from someone.  Congratulations to them, but there is a bigger story behind their win that I want to relay.

Initially, I saw them pitch in a class.  Their pitch was the worst startup pitch I have ever seen in my entire life.  It was terrible.  It was disjointed.  Boring.  The pitch told you nothing about the business.  The slides sucked.  The numbers on the slides sucked.  The pitch reflected back on the team.  If they did that pitch in front of a VC, it’s doubtful they would have gotten a check.

Was it game over?  No.  Even with an atrociously bad pitch, you could tell they had a business.  AMO has over 1,200 customers and has cumulatively done $2.3 million in revenue.

Fast forward.  A couple of months of working with coaches and continually practicing/refining the pitch to make it flow, get the words right, get the slides right, get the numbers right, and BOOM.  They win the most prestigious startup pitch conference at the best business school in the world.

It shows they have grit.  They didn’t quit.  On the flip side, it shows that when an entrepreneur gets meaningful feedback from people and internalizes it, they can stitch together something pretty amazing.  Very important on the mentor/judge/listener part to give meaningful feedback.  Not just the same pablum you hear from a lot of people.

It’s also important for the entrepreneur to listen to feedback correctly.  Even though it’s criticism, it’s designed to help.

The team at AMO did just that.  It’s a great lesson in stick to-itiveness.  Isn’t that what great entrepreneurs do?  Godspeed to them and I wish them well.