The Best Startup Pitches

11 minute read

In this post, you'll find an overview of the elements that make a pitch successful. And to top it all off you'll find a list mentioning the amazing award-winning startups from competitions around the globe. If you're more into the visual side, you'll even find a video of the award-winning pitches.Show me innovative startups →

Still hesitating whether or not to participate in a startup competition? Get to know how winning startups pitched their concepts and won incredible prizes!

The best inspiration comes from learning from those before you and learning from their mistakes. And for those of you who are looking to take part in a startup competition, you can take all the inspiration you need from this list compiled on the winning pitches of recent years.

It takes a lot of guts to be able to pitch in front of an investor or stakeholder. Especially when there are awards to be won and you're up against your competitors. Preparation is a must. It’s always worth watching how they have presented their startup presentations, offering you a chance to learn the best practices and from the best pitch examples.


The powerpoint

In one of Valuer’s previous blog posts "They Raised How Much? Secrets About Great Pitch Decks" we described the process of creating a great pitch deck. It covered the most important points to include in your pitch, giving examples of how to make your presentation visually appealing to investors.

But the speech that accompanies a pitch tells a greater story to your audience. It's all fun and well to create an aesthetically pleasing presentation that hits all the right points, with contrasting colors and one idea per slide.

However, if you're relying solely on your presentation, hoping it'll do the work for you...well boy have I got news for you. You're going to crumble to pieces. Think of your presentation as a helping hand, a visual aid that enhances your pitch.

What matters most is the person behind the powerpoint. And the pitches that win awards tell a story and are able to master the art of storytelling. Not everyone has the charisma to blow investors out of the water. But if you can pull off a pitch that tells an engaging and memorable story, you'll be more likely to gain emotional investment and trust in your idea.

It can seem all too big of a task from the start. But the motivation to create a kick-ass, award-winning pitch that will pull in investors is the hard part. The rest will come. First things first, you've got to make a draft.

We're all guilty of thinking we can smash a presentation with little effort, just coming up with the speech as we go along. But let's be realistic... when you're standing in front of a group of investors with no preparation, you're most likely going to stumble and forget what you were going to say. And boy would that scare off investors and make you look unprofessional.

But what exactly about storytelling makes a pitch so great?



Why is storytelling is so successful?

If you're interested in the science behind it, read on. If not, skip to the next paragraph!

Dopamine is the culprit here. By telling a story that creates suspense and leaves the audience on a cliffhanger, or one that the audience can connect to, you're creating an emotional investment. The listener's brain will release dopamine, and it'll make them more focused, motivated and increases their memory. Who wouldn't want that for an investor?

So don't bore the listener with a bunch of figures and facts, bring you and your team's story into the mix!

David Phillips is a guru in the world of presentations and he offers interesting insights on the subject, especially on how to motivate the listener.



It can be a stressful situation trying to figure out how on earth you're going to fit all your ideas and explain why your product matters into a pitch that's supposed to last a couple of minutes. And in that time you're trying to woo potential investors.

To make sure, you are doing it right, check out the following points Valuer has prepared for your pitch to be adored by all.


Grab attention

story telling in presenting graph Photo from Mandala Point / CC BY 2.0


Meeting a potential investor is an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-timers. And investors are fully aware of that. But there are no excuses for missing out crucial points in your presentation.

- Let them know what's at stake by explaining the unique features that distinguish the startup from others.

What makes your product valuable, and why should it receive funding? These are crucial questions that should be answered.

Don't shy away from mentioning the pros and cons of your product/service.

Explain the personal value of the product/service and the value it has.

Don't be afraid to mark all the possible risks, and explain how to avoid them. The first two minutes of your speech are the most important as the level of attention is high in the beginning. If you have pitched your idea well, you will be rewarded with high interest in your concept and desire to see what it’s all about.



presentation powerpoints graphic Photo from HGA Creative / CC BY 2.0


Emotions are key in any presentation. This is where your powerpoint comes in hand as the visual guide. By using meaningful language and storytelling, coupled with visual heavy and colourful slides, it will be easier to connect with investors. If you include numbers and facts that are explained robotically, you'll be no more memorable than the next guy.

You can evoke negative or positive emotions in your pitch. Bringing a negative emotion into your pitch isn't a bad thing. They can be used to describe a conflict or something that makes life difficult. You can then introduce your product and explain how your product alleviates this negative emotion. By giving listeners/investors a more personal story to connect to, they will be more likely to remember your presentation.

Telling tidbits and cliff-hangers will add more value to your presentation as it builds a strong connection between the speaker and the audience. Attracting attention, pointing out facts and steps that the product has overcome drives more understanding of the nature and features of your product.

The listener will be happy to discover the product development, key points, and history of your startup. This information helps in revealing characteristics of the idea itself and the founders’ intentions.



red and blue knot with text Photo from Honigman Media / CC BY 2.0


We're not saying that influential investors particularly enjoy informative presentations with data-heavy analytics and LOTS of evidence of the awesomeness of your product/service. But investors also want to feel engaged. Imagine how many bog-standard presentations investors have heard in their lifetime. If yours is just like the rest, how will it be memorable?

Create an atmosphere that is friendly. The most interesting thing about telling the story of your product is that most attention can be gained through communication. Try to look at the audience (not the floor!), ask questions, build trust and build a reciprocated connection with your audience to make them feel closer to you and your startup.

By communicating your USP and asking open-ended questions during your pitch, you'll be more likely to get engagement. And while the next couple points sound incredibly self-explanatory, they are points that presenters find difficult to nail.

- Annunciate your words

Speak up, make sure your audience can actually hear you

Leave enough time for pauses. You gotta breeeath!

Be careful with your tone of voice, you won't grab attention by being monotonous

Check out the video of TED Speaker Julian Treasure who has listed the main points on how to speak and expect your audience to listen to you.



The future

Don't just focus on the past, talk about the future of your start-up too. Yes, investors want to hear about the evolution of your product, but they also want to hear about the direction you're going to take in the future. Think of it in terms of your overall mission statement. What is your overarching goal? And how do you see you and your company reaching that milestone?

By linking the past with the future, you'll create a story of the evolution of your product and the inspirational and promising future that lies ahead in the companies development. You and your team must include this crucial element in your presentation. Show the potential investors your concept, the expectations and general vision of how the product will be beneficial for the market.

Your startup is evolving and in a constant process of change. So mention up and coming dates and the possible upgrades expected. This will make the expected outcomes of your startup more comprehensible to the listener, and also show them that you have a solid plan of action and are confident about the future of your startup.


Evidenceproduct/market fit graphi

What is the market potential for your product? Is there a market for your startup, and how do you know that? It’s always good to show the potential of your startup and include data. Provide realistic figures and prove to stakeholders that your product/service is worth the investment. Make them desire to be a part of advancing your startup.

But don’t overestimate the capabilities of your startup idea. Be honest with its evolution so that there is no room for doubt. The more you try to convince, the shadier it looks. Don’t forget to include the sales function you’d like to achieve and what they have already obtained.


Ready? List of winning startup pitches

These startups all have one thing in common. They knew exactly how to work the audience, and hit all the points that make a pitch successful. Get your notebook out and watch these real examples of winning pitches between 2014 and 2018. The events that they competed in are well-known and dotted around the globe. Let us know the start-up pitch that you enjoyed the most.

Without further ado, check out the ideas being approved by the public and how these champions pitched their startup.




lifeina logo

Award: Web Summit 2017
Prize: Possible Funding
When: October, 2017
Where: Lisbon, Portugal

Lifeina is an intelligent small fridge for medication that is helpful during your traveling.

Watch the presentation of Lifeina


Zap Zap Math


ZapZapMath Logo

Award: PITCH at RISE 2017
Prize: Possible Funding
When: April, 2017
Where: Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The founder of Zap Zap Math created a free mobile app made for kids to learn math.

Watch the presentation of Zap Zap Math


Fresh Strips

Fresh Strips Logo

Award: MITEF Greece Startup Competition 2017
Prize: €10.000
When: July, 2017
Where: Athens, Greece

This product indicates whether food is safe to eat by attaching a sticker to the container.

Watch the presentation of Fresh Strips



CybelAngel Logo

Award: Slush 2016
Prize: €500.000
When: December, 2016
Where: Helsinki, Finland

CybelAngel offers a product made for securing your company against cyber threats.

Watch the presentation of CybelAngel




burner fitness logo


Award: 43 North 2017
Prize: $1.000.000
When: October, 2017
Where: Buffalo, New York, U.S.

Burner is a wellness app that gives employees a personalized wellness program. The program uses the employee’s goals combined with their claims, biometric and health risk data to recommend daily workouts, meals and meditations.

Watch the presentation of Burner Fitness




skytree logo

Award: Hello Tomorrow Environmental Winner 2017
Prize: €15.000
When: October, 2017
Where: Paris, France

The 'Skytree' founder discovered a new concept of air recirculation.

Watch the presentation of Skytree




pi logo

Award: Disrupt SF 2017 Startup Battlefield
Prize: $50.000
When: September, 2017
Where: San Fransisco, California, U.S.

Pi Charging presented their new device that enabled wireless charging of multiple devices.

Watch the presentation of Pi



donde logo

Award: G-Startup Worldwide 2017
Prize: $250.000
When: November, 2017
Where: Tel Aviv, Israel

Donde won the first place by presenting a new online shopping platform that is based on mimicking the way customers' think.

Watch the presentation of Donde




claire logo

Award: Dreampitch Competition at Dreamforce 2017
Prize: $150,000
When: October, 2017
Where: San Fransisco, California, U.S.

Application of testing potential products to customers, helping to reduce retail and brand 'dead inventory'.

Watch the presentation of Claire




cinchapi logo

Award: 2017 Atlanta Startup Battle
Prize: $100.000
When: April, 2017
Where: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Cinchapi is a platform that makes your company a data-driven enterprise.

Watch the presentation of Cinchapi




wallbox logo

Award: South Summit 2017
Prize: Possible Funding
When: October, 2017
Where: Madrid, Spain

Modernized charging for your electric vehicle.

Watch the presentation of WallBox




kenzen logo

Award: Google for Entrepreneurs 2017
Prize: Possible Funding
When: April, 2017
Where: London, U.K.

A platform that carries out healthcare analytics to secure health.

Watch the presentation of Kenzen




megabots logo

Award: Launch Festival 2017
Prize: Possible Funding
When: April, 2017
Where: San Fransisco, California, U.S.

The first giant piloted mech was presented by the Megabots founder.

Watch the presentation of Megabots




wefarm logo

Award: 4YFN Award 2017 Disrupted by Mobile Winner
Prize: Possible Funding, SendGrid Accelerate Program
When: May, 2017
Where: Barcelona, Spain

Creation of the network WeFarm to keep farmers in touch even where internet access is not available.

Watch the presentation of WeFarm



FamZoo Logo

Award: FinCon FinTech Startup Competition 2015
Prize: $6.000, exhibit space at FinCon 2016
When: September, 2015
Where: Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.

Family finance app to financially educate children including prepaid cards.

Watch the presentation of FamZoo



kavout logo

Award: FinCon FinTech Startup Competition 2016
Prize: $4.000, exhibition space at FinCon 2017
When: October, 2016
Where: San Fransisco, California, U.S.

A platform that conducts analytics and shows the right time to invest, what to invest and how much to invest.

Watch the presentation of Kavout



birch logo

Award: FinCon FinTech Startup Competition 2017
Prize: $4.000, exhibition space at FinCon 2018
When: October, 2017
Where: Dallas, Texas

Birch is a mobile app for earning rewards on your card.

Watch the presentation of Birch



vurb logo

Award: Disrupt NY 2014 Startup Battlefield
Prize: $50.000
When: May, 2017
Where: New York, New York, U.S.

Convenient mobile search engine.

Watch the presentation of Vurb




humon logo

Award: MidemLab Music Startup Competition 2017 Music creation & education category
Prize: Possible Funding
When: June, 2017
Where: Cannes, France

This mobile application 'HumOn' turns people’s humming into music.

Watch the presentation of HumOn




multisense logo

Award: The Israel Mobile Summit 2017
Prize: Participation in Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018
When: June, 2017
Where: Tel Aviv, Israel

Software that verifies users, using a combination of voice and face recognition.

Watch the presentation of Multisense



dot logo

Award: Get in the Ring 2016
Prize: Pilot Contract
When: November, 2017
Where: Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Founder elaborated smartwatches for visually impaired people.

Watch the presentation of DOT




money fellows logo

Award: Arab Startup Competition 2017
Prize: $160.000
When: May, 2017
Where: Bahrain

Application 'MoneyFellows' gives users access to interest free credit through trusted circles.

Watch the presentation of MoneyFellows


Sophie's Kitchen

Sophie's Kitchen Logo

Award: Slingshot@Switch 2017
Prize: $200.000
When: September, 2017
Where: Singapore

Provision of plant-based seafood.

Watch the presentation of Sohie's Kitchen


Paragon Real Estate Technologies

Paragon Logo

Award: Queens 2018 StartUP! Competition
Prize: $50.000
When: May, 2018
Where: New York, New York, U.S.

Open online real estate marketplace.

Watch the presentation of Paragon Real Estate Technologies



tenX Logo

Award: 2017 Florin Asia Innovation Awards Winner
Prize: Participation in Global Payment Summit in Singapore
When: September, 2017
Where: Singapore

Cryptocurrency payment platform.

Watch the presentation of TenX




the motion logo

Award: NOAH17 Berlin Winner
Prize: Possible Funding
When: June, 2017
Where: Berlin, Germany

Founder suggests using dynamic video ads in Facebook to attract more attention from customers.

Watch the presentation of The Motion


Siren Care

siren care logo

Award: INNOVATION@50+2017
Prize: Possible Funding
When: April, 2017
Where: Mountain View, California, U.S.

Siren Care presented socks for preventing diabetic foot ulcers.

Watch the presentation of Siren Care



swinetech logo

Award: The International Business Model Competition2016
Prize: $10.000
When: July, 2016
Where: Utah, U.S.

SwineTech focuses on technology for farmers that enables to eliminate piglet deaths.

Watch the presentation of SwineTech


Raptor Maps

raptor maps logo

Award: The 2015 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition
Prize: $100.000
When: May, 2015
Where: Cambridge, Massachusetts. U.S.

Raptor Maps has created Ai software that is embedded in drones to collect information about solar and prepare analytics.

Watch the presentation of Raptor Maps



findair logo

Award: infoShare 2017 Startup Contest
Prize: €20.000
When: May, 2017
Where: Gdansk, Poland

The main task of FindAir is to provide life without asthma symptoms by introducing interconnected products as mobile app, smart inhaler and a doctors platform.

Watch the presentation of FindAir



fractory logo

Award: Latitude59 2018 Pitch Competition
Prize: €170.000
When: May, 2018
Where: Tallinn ,Estonia

Fractory provides a convenient metal sheet marketplace.

Watch the presentation of Fractory



amodo logo

Award: Zagreb Connect 2015
Prize: $10.000~
When: November, 2015
Where: Zagreb, Croatia

Amodo is a tech platform for developing a customer base in insurance industry.

Watch the presentation of Amodo



catchys logo

Award: Bits&Pretzel Startup Pitch Winner 2017
Prize: €5.000
When: September, 2017
Where: Munich, Germany

Online platform for buying second hand clothes or furniture offered by numerous shops.

Watch the presentation of CATCHYS



salemove logo

Award: FinovateEurope Fall 2017’s Best of Show Winner
Prize: Best of Show Trophy
When: February, 2017
Where: London, U.K.

Retail marketplace SaleMove allows you to interact with customers using audio, video or collaborated browsing.

Watch the presentation of SaleMove




spray printer logo

Award: TechChill 2017 Winner
Prize: All Expenses Paid Trip to Silicon Valley
When: February, 2017
Where: Riga, Lativa

SprayPrint offers smart printing technology embedded in sprays for the purpose of making walls look awesome.

Watch the presentation of SprayPrinter 


Discover innovative startups


Have you checked our interactive map? 



Take the preparation process seriously, and it will be a big advantage to you. Even if you reckon you have the most promising product, preparation is always a must. Most investors' attention is gained through a great speech. Thus knowing the main tips as well as misconceptions will add more value to your presentation and idea itself.

Even if you don't win, you'll still gain valuable experience. It'll be an opportunity for you to get exposure, to network and receive valuable feedback from investors. At the end of the day, you learn more from failure than you do from success. Each time you fail, you'll be one step closer to success.

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