How to Give a $50,000 Pitch; YourMechanic (Winner of The Disrupt Battlefield) CEO Shares His Secrets

September 16, 2012

5:25 pm

The perfect pitch.  It's something every startup founder dreams of.  The quality of your service or product will largely be interpreted by your ability to convey its potential with only a short allotment of time.

At this week's TechCrunch Disrupt, 30 startups vied against one another for this top spot.  The field was narrowed to seven who then pitched on stage to a group of panelists, including Michael Arrington, Marissa Mayer, and David Sacks.

YourMechanic, the Mountain View-based online marketplace where mechanics come to your home or your office to fix your car (in the San Jose and Peninsula area – for now), took home this year's top spot and its $50,000 prize. According to the YourMechanic, car owners will save 20-30% on repairs through their service compared to dealerships and repair shops.

They couldn't fit $50,000 onto the normal sized check

The $50K prize will be added to the already $1.8M the team has raised from Y Combinator (graduates from the Winter class of 2012), SoftTechVC, Andreesen Horowitz, Ashton Kutcher, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Yuri Milner, Leerer Ventures, Launch Capital amongst others.

I caught up with Art Agrawal, YourMechanic's co-founder and CEO, to learn more about his service, their plans for expansion, and what goes into a $50,000 pitch.

Tech Cocktail:  What was the inspiration for YourMechanic? Does this stem from a personal frustration?

Art Agrawal:  We created YourMechanic in response to our own nightmarish experiences with traditional auto repair. The instance that set it off started with Dongyi’s (my co-founder’s) car breaking down. I went over to his house to help him out and we ended up in a repair shop with a very questionable $600 bill. After spending half a work week dealing with the repair job, we wondered, “Wouldn’t it be great if the mechanic came to you?” We later found out that mechanics have been fixing cars on-location for years.

Tech Cocktail:  What is YourMechanic's plan for expansion?

Agrawal:  We’ve been fixing cars and building our technology in the San Jose and Peninsula area for more than 18 months now. We aim to offer service around the San Francisco area in a few months. We plan to open the platform for any mechanic from any location to join in the next 12-16 months.

Tech Cocktail:  What advice can you offer to other startup founders on delivering the perfect pitch?  What elements are most crucial?

Agrawal:  When you are pitching, it is important that you quickly and clearly identify the pain point that you are solving and for whom. Keep it brief.  Additionally…

  • Get to the product demo as quickly as possible. A lot of speakers spend a minute or two talking about the market.  You should try to keep it between 30-40 seconds, and get into your product demo fast!  Seeing is believing.
  • Show how big the market is (but keep it real… show bottoms up approach.. instead of saying $1T auto market, say, 200m people who drive cars between a certain age are spending $X every year, and we can fix y% of those problems).
  • Speak passionately and with full conviction. People have just a few minutes to learn about you, pain point, solution and market. They don’t have time to do research on any of these topics. They will use their intuition and take cues from your passion and confidence.

Image credit: TechCrunch

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.