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Elyssa Pallai

VP Marketing


Digital marketer and translator, Elyssa spends her time putting NPD and engineering concepts into plain english and working on new and meaningful ways to connect with Playbook's amazing clients.

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Oh What A Night! The CU New Venture Challenge

Elyssa Pallai- 11/1/13 03:33 AM

I am so glad I can say that I did not miss the CU New Venture Challenge Pitch Night held in Boulder this evening. It was an evening of creativity, business nous, new product development, and uninhibited inspiration that can only be delivered by students filled with passion for fixing the world around them. I can't wait to follow these teams through to the finals next year.

The 60-second pitch presentations were fixating. In fact, I was told exceptional compared to previous years. These students have real ideas, that have real business models and create real market opportunities. They also have the self-confidence to deliver on them. Here is some of what I learned.

  • 40 billion dollars is the amount parents spend on their kids activities per year
  • 95% of Kenyans own cellphones
  • Bio-Char is a technology developed 4000 years ago in the Amazon that can solve our energy problems
  • Broken solar panels can make a great kids game
  • Ayni means reciprocity in Bolivian
  • Miswack is a chewy stick that has 19 natural substances that removes plaque, improves digestion, and connects you to nature.
  • India has the worst air quality in the world and has 19 million diesel irrigation systems
  • Students are serious about solving the world’s problems.
  • And most importantly, Jim Franklin not only is a great CEO of the very successful SendGrid but he would also make a stellar game show host as well.

In all seriousness Jim did an excellent job giving feedback on 60-second presentations – the clock, a difficult master indeed. Here are some of his comments about what you need to cover in your business pitch to get a 'yes' from an investor.

  • What is the problem you are solving?
  • How big is the market?
  • How will you gain traction (distribution, marketing)?
  • How is your solution different than your competitors' (current state vs desired)?
  • If one of your differentiators is reduced cost or increased profit, ensure its a 10 x difference.
  • Make sure the 'ask' is clear
  • Be engaging - make me want to follow you.

The winner of Pitch night was Kristy Feng who is creating high fashion purses out of trash while changing the lives of women who live in the trash heaps in China. Her stage presence was powerful and her message clear along with the opportunity. If I had that level of confidence in my 20’s I can honestly say my life would have turned out much differently. She is inspiring.

Last but most importatly, thanks and congratulations to Mystery Murphy for creating and MCing an excellent night.

At PLAYBOOK we are passionate about unifying teams in new product development. In order to participate in NVC all you need is 1 person on your team in possession of a CU ID -- students, faculty or staff. Don't miss this opportunity to create something game changing with the support of fantastic mentors. Got an idea? Register here.