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6 Rules to Win TechCrunch Disrupt

Want to score major investment and massive PR? Just win TechCrunch Disrupt at their next conference. The winner walks away with the $50,000 grand prize and often millions more from investors. But how do you win the top spot?

I ran the data analysis on TechCrunch conference winners from 2007-2014 by using a set of quantifiable variables. The analysis included companies such as Mint.com, GetAround, and UberConference. The results: there are powerful guidelines you can use to make your pitch great.

Here are the top six:

1. Give a relatable demo. Show your demo in a way that the audience can personally experience. Some winners walked through the demo as-if they were a customer, including RedBeacon in 2009 and YourMechanic in 2012. Others like Lock8 in 2013 simply created scenarios that showed (not told) the functions. As an aside, winners on average demoed two scenarios. 11 of 11 winners made their demo relatable.

2. 30/90 Rule. Intro your problem in 30 seconds if it’s simple, 90 seconds if it’s obscure. In 2011, GetAround succinctly described the problem of idle cars in only a couple sentences; later in 2013, Enigma outlined the esoteric issues of public data access in 90 seconds. 10 of 11 winners followed this rule.

3. Deliver at least 3 benefits. Translate features of your product into value for the customer. When Layer presented their open communications platform in 2013, the team said (feature) they provide the UI as an open source component so (benefit) “you can get started really quickly with messaging and calls.” 10 of 11 winners delivered multiple benefits.

4. Establish credibility. Show you’re the right team to run your startup either because you’ve experienced the problem as Mint.com showed in 2007, you have a great technology background as Qwiki showed in 2010, or you have awesome partnerships as GetAround showed in 2011. It’s not a team slide, it’s spoken. 8 of 11 winners did this.

5. Don’t discuss competition. Only 1 of 11 winners discussed competition, and that was for half a sentence. ‘nough said. The conference focus is on you, save competition for investor meetings.

6. Share your vision. Imagine a better world where your product is successful and everyone is happy. That’s what Soluto in 2010 and Shaker in 2011 presented during their pitches. Some winners chose to introduce the vision at the beginning, but the majority wrapped up their pitch with a vision near the end. It only took 1-2 sentences. Follow suit. 8 of 11 winners presented a vision.

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