Recent OBI Invent: Elevator Pitch Workshop

The biotech start-up world is a stage, and all the aspiring entrepreneurs must be performers.

On February 6th, OBI hosted an Elevator Pitch Workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Portland, OR area. The diverse group of participants included physicians, students, and scientists, each with an idea for a new medical device, technology, or line of research. The workshop was led by Brigitte Piniewski, MD, Oregon Angel Fund investor and advisor to the healthcare start-up Healthcoin, and Tom Kingsley, professional advisor to entrepreneurs and start-ups. Participants also received expert feedback on their pitches from OBI’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence William Newman,, and founder of s2s Public Relations Eric Schudiske.

Workshop participants viewed videos of real pitches given by OBI members. The pitches were then evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses, providing a basic idea of what a pitch is and how it should be designed and presented. Tom Kingsley stressed the importance of scripting, revising, and practicing a pitch. Kingsley also gave an example of editing a 100+ word pitch (which was already good) into a succinct, punchy 76 word presentation.

After learning what elements a pitch should contain, the workshop attendees were provided with a basic structure for designing their own presentation. Working in groups, they wrote their scripts, practiced their performances, and took the workshop advice to heart and revised, revised, revised. Finally, several lucky participants were chosen to give their pitch in front of everyone in attendance. A new silver-based antibiotic was pitched, as well as a new healthcare technology to monitor and encourage medication compliance. An academic researcher also presented a variation of the business pitch, proposing a new area of scientific investigation.

The importance of performance was stressed throughout the workshop. Workshop participants learned that an investor is not just investing in your company, but investing in you. When giving a pitch, you must be passionate, infectious, and exciting. If it doesn’t sound like you believe in your company, you won’t convince anyone else to believe or invest.

Each attendee took away from the workshop a foundation of their own pitch, as well as an understanding of how much work, revision, and practice go in to a successful presentation. Tom Kingsley and William Newman have been gracious enough to offer time during our OBI Expert Office Hours program to provide Pitch Coaching and General Business Advice. You can book an appointment with them at Expert Office Hours.

Images from the OBI Invent: Elevator Pitch Workshop: Participants designed and presented pitches, with expert advice and feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and advisors in the biotech industry As always, there was lots of coffee-fueled networking between attendees!

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