Auburn shark Tank Startup Contest Startup tips

Shark Tank Investor: Startup Pitches Must “Tease, Please, and Seize”

Most pitches fail to attract investment dollars, leaving entrepreneurs poor and startups unfunded. There’s got to be a better way!

And there is, according to Kevin Harrington, an original Shark Tank investor. In his keynote speech at Auburn University’s Top Tigers luncheon on April 24, Harrington revealed some simple secrets that have helped him rack up more than four billion dollars in sales. Harrington joked that “tease, please, and seize” is not a subtitle for 50 Shades of Grey, but instead is his three-step formula for a great pitch.

Tease involves quickly building intrigue by presenting a problem. One example appears above: “Most pitches fail to attract investment dollars.” Another example was offered by a startup called SimplyProse in the finals of the Tiger Cage competition a few hours before Harrington’s speech. As seen in the photo above, SimplyProse explained to Harrington and his five fellow judges that aspiring writers and skilled editors would like to collaborate, but they have a hard time finding each other.

Please involves explaining your unique solution to the problem. For example, SimplyProse has created a user-friendly website that makes it easy for writers and editors to meet and, more importantly, to do business together. SimplyProse plans to make money via monthly subscription fees and by taking a small cut of the fees that editors charge to writers.

Seize involves convincing investors that funding your startup is a smart move. SimplyProse succeeded in doing so; they received a $5000 prize for their idea. A little creativity and humor helps too. To encourage further funding, SimplyProse closed their pitch with their bank account number and encouraged the audience to use it.

Tease-Please-Seize: it’s an easy to remember process that can help you improve your next pitch and just might get you funded.