What Brands Look For In A Startup Pitch

March 10th, 2015

Pitching to brands is a lot different than pitching to investors and press. These pitches often times happen behind closed doors with a company’s most senior executives. That’s why KITE’s bringing these conversations to the SXSW Startup Village stage on Monday, March 16 at the Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon F (500 E 4th St) from 12:30-1:30pm.

Ahead of KITE Presents Startup Pitch for Brand Partnerships at SXSW, we asked brand executives who will be judging the pitches to share with us what they look for in a startup pitch.

Check out what executives from L’Oreal USA, Unilever and Q, which works with Coca-Cola, had to say:

Alisa Leonard, Founder and CEO, Q

Rachel Weiss, VP, Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, L’Oreal USA @nycbabylon

I prefer to see pitches that are thoughtful with ideas about how we can work together. We like to see how your company can help solve business challenges and not just proposals for technology in a vacuum. To break through the multiple pitches we receive daily, be ready to show me what kind of results you can achieve and how you can solve our company’s specific challenges. Otherwise, your pitch becomes a “FYI” and you won’t break through the clutter.

Jeremy Basset, Global Marketing Strategy Director, Unilever

Jeremy Basset, Global Marketing Strategy Director, Unilever @jeremybesset

The key things I’m looking for in a startup is an innovative proposition which answers the question: why would someone use this, and how is it relevant to our brands? The great advantage of working with startups is we can launch and learn, so we’re also looking for solutions which are not only able to be piloted, but also able to be scaled.

Alisa Leonard, Founder and CEO, Q

Alisa Leonard, Founder and CEO, Q

Perhaps its obvious, but I really look for a startup who can very clearly articulate the unmet need they are solving for, and what success looks like when using the product. Startups should be smart about their insights into their users, and should be able to tell me / brands in a pitch something I didn’t know before about my own target audience.

Additional startup pitching resources: