PodioBox: How to Run a Perfect Startup Pitching Contest

During the development of our flagship product PodioBox I've took part at not less than 20 pitching contests – for a total of more than 300 startup pitches.

It was an exciting journey that helped to learn more about one of our target customers' field – startups event planners and incubators. I've derived this guide using the acquired knowledge.

Advice: Take the necessary time to present PodioBox to the audience.

Task 1. Collect and make all presentations ready to start the contest

Problem: every speaker wants to modify his presentation on the fly, even in the last second before the start. That's why sometimes he arrives with a memory stick with his presentation inside and insists on presenting with this device. All those presentations are in different formats (mainly PDF, PPT, Keynote) and size that usually makes a problem to combine.

Solution: with PodioBox you can demand the collection of various presentations – invite every speaker to a personal reserved area where each of them will be able to upload and test his own presentation in different formats.

Task 2. Make an optimal presentations order

Problem: every pitch has to be performed in a determined order and time limits of every pitch have to be strictly determined (timer).

Solution: with PodioBox you can easily set a visual timer with automatic start for each presentation. A customizable ‘end of time’ message appears on the display when the timer expires.

Task 3. Switch between presentations fast and smooth

Problem: usually it is quite difficult to switch from one presentation to another one in a fast and smooth way – that's why this moment is one of the most uncomfortable for the speakers and contest organizers.

Solution: with PodioBox you can easily determine the order and switch between presentations thanks to the sortable presentation list. Speakers don’t need to present with their own laptops, use only one laptop connected with the beamer. To switch to the presentations just click on it.

Task 4. Perform videos easily

Problem: playing a video during a presentation is often a source of compatibility problems caused by different formats that mainly appear when the video is integrated into a presentation. The problem increases if you want to play the YouTube video: you have to close the presentation, to open a browser window, then to open the video page on YouTube in a full screen mode and to start/pause/stop it manually, to change volume with the laptop keyboard.

While these exercises the audience is looking at your fancy desktop background and all your actions. This is really ineffective waste of time.

Solution: in PodioBox the video managing process (MP4/YouTube) is separated from the presentation. You can start the playback at a chosen slide automatically. You can easily select a part of the video to be performed.

Using your mobile device as remote you can control the video (start/pause/stop and volume) in a comfortable, professional and easy way without even touching the laptop keyboard. All the process is performed seamlessly without any stress and unprofessional mess on the screen.

Task 5. Manage your Q&A process

Problem: the majority of speakers plan the question-and-answer time to the end of their presentations. In the last minutes people raise their hands and ask questions. This type of communication significantly limits the interaction process and some useful questions can be missed.

Solution: if you use PodioBox, the ‘Q&A time is all the time’. All your attendees are staying connected to the presentation with their own devices every second while you are presenting. They are able to send personal questions to the speaker any time. At the end of the presentation you'll collect all those questions in a list and show/answer them (or not ;o) ).

Task 6. Make a voting/polling/survey session

Problem: there are several currently available online services to make polls and surveys, but they are not integrated into your presentation process, that's why you can't manage results in real time (and this is not the only problem with those tools).

Solution: with PodioBox you can act in two different ways.

Polling. Create a polling easily with a single choice question. Any attendee can answer to it with his own device. You collect all the data in real time and have an opportunity to show the results to the audience in the form of a graph.

Survey. PodioBox offers an integrated survey system – so you can provide more articulated and complex surveying. Single choice, Multiple Choice, free text, starring are the type of answers that the tool can manage in multiple steps. The results are available in real time and you can show them to the audience.

All the data collected during the event (questions, polls and survey results grouped by the presentation) is summarized in a detailed PDF report.

As you can see, planning and performing a pitching contest becomes easy, stressless and professional with PodioBox.

In future articles we'll talk about presentation webcast recoding and digital documents distribution to the audience. Stay tuned!

Antonio Casula, creator of PodioBox

© PodioBox 2017

Posted in Developer's Guide, PodioProfy on May 09, 2019.