Product, team, customers and funding, the essential elements of a startup. But one more essential piece is missing: the Pitch.

The Pitch is arguably the most important non-business piece of your startup. From your elevator pitch, to your public pitch, to your investor pitch, the more successful you are, the more integral these will become to your business and your life. Because of its importance, you should take every opportunity you can to practice your pitch, especially in the early stages.

That’s why we’re inviting early-stage companies to IBM SmartCamp to get a bit of pitching mentorship and practice, then compete for an invite to the biggest startup festival in the world, LAUNCH Festival. where ten finalists will be in the running for a $25 thousand investment from well-known investor Jason Calacanis and a spot in his LAUNCH incubator program.

A few cities have approaching deadlines for applications. If you’re in Seattle, Wilmington, Seoul, Mexico City, Tokyo, Dubai, Taipei, Bangkok and more, move quickly to click here to request an application so we can see you on stage.

And to give you a briefing on what is happening in other cities, we want to take a moment to congratulate SolarChange who is creating a global network of services and applications meant to improve and increase the use of solar energy worldwide and StepInside, a teleportation platform that enables live 3D video streaming of real people into virtual and mixed reality. These two talented teams will be in the running for a chance to move on to the next stage of the SmartCamp competition.

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And with that, here are two more benefits of why pitch practice is great for your startup:

  • The first and biggest benefit from the always pitching mindset is practice. Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong, is the modus operandi of true professionals in every walk of life. This needs to be your motto. Living room pitch practice only takes you so far; get out in front of the public and practice your pitch.
  • Now that you’re out in the public, you’ll benefit from the next most important thing: feedback. The Lean startup methodology is build, measure, learn. When you have built something, whether mockups, a fully functioning product, or anything in between, pitching becomes a part of the measure stage, and the feedback you receive is part of learning. Use this to iterate for your next pitch and your next build.
  • We look forward to seeing you on stage at IBM SmartCamp

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