Korean Startups Need to Perfect Their Pitches to get Funded

Korean Startups might have new and innovative ideas but in order to become a successful startup, they will need to perfect their pitches.  These pitches, of course, will need to be done in English to get the attention of global investors and partners.  Korean startups might have a great product or service but they lack the support system and global connections to move forward.  For startups to grow they need funding, partners, press and most important…global mentors.  The best place to find all these are at pitch events and startup meetups.  Pitching contests are the best platform for startups to get maximum exposure from the startup community.  It is not a matter of winning the competition but rather growing your network and brand.

A successful pitch can lead to funding.

That is the key, having a successful pitch.  This is why Korean startups should practice in order to perfect their pitch.  By going to as many pitch contests as possible, it will give startups the chance to practice in front of a large audience.  Doing pitches is all about trying to raise capital.  Many pitch contests will have investors in the audience.

Korean Startup Pitch Competition

During pitch contests, startups have an opportunity to meet entrepreneurs with the same goals.  This is a great opportunity for partnerships.  As startups form partnerships, they gain strength as they will improve their network which in turn can open doors for new partners and new ideas.  Many Korean startups are closed off because of their lack of English speaking abilities which is why they are hesitant to join these global pitch competitions.  This is why it is crucial to practice and invest in a great pitch.

Here are Top 10 Tips for Korean Entrepreneurs to Perfect Their Pitches

1. Show that your care.

For many Koreans, showing passion is not easy.  They are taught at a young age to suppress their emotions.  However, in a startup pitch, emotion is key.  You shouldn’t have to fake passion.  The audience and the judges need to see your passion in order to care.  They are investing in the entrepreneur more than the product or service.  They want to see the enthusiasm and genuine passion for their vision.

2.  Tell a story.

Storytelling has been proven to capture the audience’s attention and hold it.  It also makes your pitch easily remembered by the judges who might have to listen to 5-10 other startups.  Many of these judges and investors can find your information through your site or your deck.  Pitches are a chance to show them something they can’t find on a term sheet.  A good story can really connect emotionally with your audience.  You can tell a story about a real customer.  Your startup origin story.  A story that shows why your product or service is important.  Keep it simple but memorable.

3.  Start off with a bang.

Experts say that people start to tune out within the first 30 seconds of a pitch.  The first step to perfect their pitches is to grab their attention early.  This is why if you have something important to say you need to say it right away.  Don’t wait until the end of your presentation.

4.  Clearly explain your product or service.

A helpful tip is to use Analogies.  Saying that you are the Uber of Korea or the Netflicks of Korea clearly explains what you do.  Furthermore, when explaining your product or service, try to stay away from technical terms that most people will not understand.  Your goal is for your audience to clearly understand what your company does.  A few tips might be to actually have your product and hand it to the judges or investors.  If it is a service a quick video or a few images should clearly explain what your service does.

5.  Show why you are better than your competition.

When doing this don’t talk bad about any company.  Just explain why your company is different and smarter.  This is very important as you will need to have SOMETHING that separates you from your competition.  The more the better.  As your company grows, keep adding to the list.

6.  Clearly explain your target market.

Korean startups always need to show whether or not they are looking locally or looking to go global.  Market ideas and techniques will be different depending on the market.  If it is only for the Korean market, clearly explain that and the reason why.  This is crucial in order to perfect their pitches and will show that you know your customers and the formula for acquiring these customers.

7.  Explain your revenue model.

Most investors invest because they want to see a return on their money.  Your pitch will be a success as long as you show how your company will make money.  Most Korean startups will not have sales to show, however, a tip would be to show a sample beta test or sales from a local show.  Even a small sample can be used to showcase the potential of your product or service.

8.  Be realistic.

Judges and investors know when an entrepreneur is talking above their heads.  IPOs and exits might look good but is it realistic?  The more realistic you are, the more believable you will be.  You don’t want to look like a salesman up there.  Many of these investors have trusted entrepreneurs who have promised the world and already have been burned.

9.  Practice 2 min, 5 min, and 10 min pitches.

All pitches are never the same.  This is why you need to prepare for all lengths.  There might be times when you enter a pitch competition thinking it is a 5 min pitch, only to find out it is actually 2 minutes.  Being prepared for all situations is crucial.  Also, there will be many times when you will have to give a pitch on the spot.  Then you have the option to choose depending on how much time you think you have.  Options are key.  Once you have these three pitches ready….practice, practice, and practice some more.

10.  Prepare possible questions that might come up.

When you practice your pitch try to practice in front of other entrepreneurs.  Then collect all the questions they have and form answers to all these questions.  This way no matter what kind of question is thrown at you during your live pitch…you will be ready for every one of them.  You should never be caught off guard by any question.

Potential Global Exposure

Now that you are ready to present it is important to think outside of Korea and enter global startup pitching contests.  These startup conferences will have press covering startups.   This could, in turn, lead to global exposure.  Getting your startup covered can bring many opportunities in regards to funding and partnerships.  One mention in a big tech media site like TechCrunch could give startups valuable exposure.  Startups will also get a chance to meet the press as well as experts in their field at these events.  Feedback will be crucial to not only improving your pitch but also improving your product or service.  Think of this as a comedy set where you learn every time you perform.  Getting feedback directly from the audience and experts will give you valuable feedback that would be otherwise hard to get.

A pitch can be short and to the point.  Getting the message across to the audience in a clear way is the key.  Seoul has many pitch competitions as well. Pitching at live events in front of an audience and a panel of judges comprised of industry experts is something every Korean startup needs to do.