For every business idea that launches into the stratosphere, there’s a spectacular presentation, a pitch that drives home the entrepreneur’s vision—and galvanizes potential investors.
The art of the pitch is something that Forbes Under 30 honorees—young visionaries who have developed hundreds of presentations to help bring their breakthrough business concepts to life—know well.
In this article, we begin by showcasing select Under 30 listers and their top ideas for creating winning presentations. Then we offer you, the Forbes audience, a special opportunity to enter the “Paste It Forward” presentation contest. Winners will receive great prizes, including $10,000 and mentoring from the Forbes Under 30s.
Nikita Gupta is co-founder and CTO of Symba, an internship management platform that is democratizing access to the workforce through remote internships. Symba’s platform connects companies with talented remote interns from around the world and curates meaningful remote internship experiences. Gupta and her co-founder, Ahva Sadeghi, recently closed their first financing round. They learned a lot during the process about how to pitch their mission.
“Start with a personal anecdote—paint a picture for your audience,” offers the 2020 30 Under 30 honoree and Cornell University graduate in computer science and engineering. “If you tell a real story about yourself, it makes the pitch more relatable. Be natural and don’t force anything.
“Second,” Gupta says, “your audience needs to know you’re the right person to make this idea real. Stress right away that you have the appropriate skill sets and the relevant experience for the job.
“Third, if investors don’t understand the problem your idea is intended to solve, your idea isn’t going to make any sense to them. Make it as clear as possible how your business is going to provide value in the world.”
Agent Phil Quist, a 2018 Under 30 honoree, hasn’t only given his share of presentations. At Creative Artists Agency, where he represents top musical talent, he’s been on the receiving end of more of them than he can count.
What works when you’re standing in front of a conference room full of people with the power to make your project come to life?
“A pitch should tell a story,” says Quist, who got hooked on the music business when he promoted Dallas-area concerts as a student at Southern Methodist University. “And like every good story, it should have a beginning, a middle and an end.
“Be sure, too, to make clear what’s unique about your product/business. You’d be surprised to learn how many pitches I’ve been through that don’t include that key point.
“Finally,” Quist says, “explain your revenue model and growth plan. People want to hear about your finances. At the end of the day, your project has to be a sustainable proposition.”
Sarah Ahmed, a 2018 Under 30 list member, was chief creative officer at the eco-conscious premium denim brand DL1961 before founding Warp + Weft, a jeans brand that stresses sustainable manufacturing and body-type inclusivity. It’s perhaps her passion for making a difference that informs her advice about giving an effective pitch.
“Start your pitch with an easy-to-digest synthesis of your company that ties into a macro trend or problem,” says Ahmed.
“Setting up context for your pitch not only makes it impactful, but subconsciously defines the market need for your product or service,” adds the Parsons School of Design grad.
To create a great presentation, of course, you need the sort of great idea that each of these Forbes Under 30 standouts started with.
You need a great presentation tool, too. That’s where Paste by WeTransfer, an award-winning tool for turning messy ideas into beautiful slides, comes in.
Paste’s power layout feature lets you add new elements and reformat with a simple drag-and-drop. A grid view maps out your story and gives you a quick overview of the deck. Links and all file types integrate into—and play from—your slides, hitch-free. And much more.
In short, Paste takes the friction out of creating presentations, helping tomorrow’s Forbes entrepreneurial stars make their world-changing visions real.
We’re inviting the Forbes audience to give Paste a try—and enter to win amazing prizes, including $10,000 and mentoring from Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees. Here’s how the “Paste It Forward” contest works:
Entries will be judged by a panel of executives from Forbes, WeTransfer and Noble People.
On November 6, we’ll announce on this page the three selected winners of $10,000 and invaluable mentoring from our 30 Under 30 entrepreneurial standouts.
WeTransfer and Forbes will also publicize the winners and their business ideas on social media, giving them a huge publicity boost.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to residents of the United States (including Puerto Rico) who are 18 or older at the time of entry. Click here for the official rules and complete details, including judging criteria.