Icehouse Fast Pitch Finals 2009

October 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm Leave a comment


This year I chose to pitch in the Icehouse Fast Pitch competition, where you had 60 seconds to present an “Elevator Pitch” for your business or idea. After checking it out last year in the audience, I bit the bullet and entered this year to get the experience public speaking, put myself out of my comfort zone and hopefully get DonateNZ in front of some people who may be in the position to help us out. In addition to this, recording the pitch for Youtube means it could be shared to a wider audience other than just those who were there.

The competition process was rolled out over about a month, first with an intro night, semi finals and lastly the final which was held last night at Auckland Uni. I was pretty stoked to get into the finals, being firstly the only charity in the final 10 and also surprisingly the only female!

I was pretty pleased with how my presentation went – I went under time with minutes to spare and only managed to deviate from my original pitch by omitting two sentences. Review of the video wasn’t too painful except I did notice I waved my arms a little like a conductor, must remember to tone that down a little next time!


Thanks to those of you who helped me prepare my pitch and those who came along to support on the night. Unfortunately I wasn’t a winner, however I do congratulate the very deserving winners who had massively fundable, attractive, business propositions and presented very professionally. The winners were:

  • BNZ Best Intellectual Property and Overall Winner- Chris White of Podscape Holdings Ltd
  • Ernst & Young Best Funding Opportunity – Ashley Schroder of World Wide Access Ltd
  • Gen-i Best Presentation – Neil Petrie
  • Microsoft People’s Choice – Brad Lovett of Green Loos

You’d think a one minute presentation of an idea, which is realistically comprised of no more than 12 sentences, sounds easy, but in practice it’s really not! You’d be surprised how much effort and analysis goes into crafting the pitches.

A general plan of a good 1 minute pitch was outlined by Todd Wackrow, winner of last years competition, in the first intro session:

  1. Establish Customer Pain
  2. Present solution
  3. Whats your Competition
  4. Establish credibility
  5. Whats Business model
  6. What we want

I found this particularly hard, as there are several pain points and solutions with DonateNZ. We deal with two completely separate audiences, meeting them in the middle with a solution, but each’s pain points and requirements is very different. It became obvious very soon that it was not going to be possible to cover these all in a minute or under. I chose to tackle this problem by looking at the audience I was presenting to and adapted this to the most relevant pitch for them –>

General audience summary, Fast Pitch Finals:
A. General public with a business interest
B. Judges (representatives from large corporates) and Business mentors
C. Angel investors

Hence the main parts of DonateNZ I chose to emphasise were:
A. What we can do for everyone (helping them find homes for things they no longer need anymore) – emphasis both personally and at work
B. Seeking Corporate sponsor – emphasise benefits of partnering with us

The general breakdown of my pitch went like this:

  • Introduce self from charity (to clearly distinguish from a business idea vs a not-for-profit) 1 sentence
  • Pain point for the average person or business 1 sentence
  • Illustrate further examples 1 sentence
  • Introduce us as solution 1 sentence
  • Explain how it works 2 sentences
  • Establish credibility and illustrate successes 2 sentences
  • Outline what we want (who we’re looking for in this pitch) 1 sentence
  • Outline what we bring to the table 2 sentences
  • Final line 1 sentence

Here is the transcript of the pitch I presented:


Hi, I’m Claire Sawyers, from the charity, DonateNZ.

How many times have you moved office or house and been left with valuable things, you just didn’t need any more? Computers, furniture, appliances, you name it.

DonateNZ is the solution to your predicament, and a great way to help the community at the same time.

Through our website, connect what you have to give, with a good cause who will pick it up and put it to use.

Our automated online system acts as the middle man, think TradeMe, without the cash.

We’re not just a great idea, we’re a reality and the 1st of our kind worldwide.

Since we began we’ve facilitated thousands of exchanges and have over 1000 charities on board. Their spread is nationwide, servicing over 2 million Kiwis.

We’re looking for a corporate sponsor to help us grow in NZ and beyond.

Partnering with us will enhance your sustainability policy and give continuous exposure to our charity audience and the people they serve. Choose us as your charitable initiative.


Here’s the video on Youtube, so you all can see it.

For anyone who has a business or charity idea, I strongly encourage you to enter this competition next year. Besides the obvious prizes if you win, it is great for experience in public speaking, business mentoring and networking. As well as this, anything that puts yourself outside your comfort zone has got to be good for ya!

See more handy info on how to do elevator pitches, with links to helpful sites, in a previous blog I wrote here.


Entry filed under: Business Talk, DonateNZ. Tags: , , , , .

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