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Strategy of Innovation

Knowledge + Imagination + Entrepreneurship = Innovation = The key to guarantee our common future!

How to Pitch Yourself, your Idea, your Project or your Startup

A) How to cold-email me (or anyone else)


Hereafter, I copied and pasted the excellent post of Thomas Korte, founder of the startup accelerator AngelPad (San Francisco, USA), about "How to cold email someone" (consultant, client, investor ...). 




In the case you cold-email someone, if he/she replies (even if he/she is not interested to go further with you), do not forget to thank him/her for his/her time and answer!

How to cold-email me (or anyone else)

Being on Angellist @venturehacks.com, roughly tripled the amount of “pitch emails” that I usually get. It inspired me this post about how to contact me or anyone you don’t know and can’t get an introduction to.

Here is the “cold-email” (as in cold-call) format that I find most useful when being approached. I use this format myself if I can’t get an introduction. The example in italics is an imaginary email.

  • Who are you and where are you located?
    Hi Thomas,
    I am a engineering student at MIT, I will graduate in 2010 and ….
  • How do you know me or who introduced you?
    … I saw your presentation about “social search developments at Google” when you visited MIT in 2007….
  • Why are you writing to me? What is your idea/ product/ vision/ company?
    This is your elevator pitch – do yourself a favor and spend $9 on the Pitching Hacksbook.
    … Inspired by your presentation, I started to work on a product that aggregates a user social graph (FB, LN, Friendfeed), analyzes the content of posts to determine the users subject knowledge and uses that information to rank users for specific subjects. So, imagine you need to plan a wedding: You just login to FB and find your friend most likely to be helpful with weddings. Your friend might not even be aware that he/she is the most knowledgeable person you know about the subject matter in your social graph ….
  • Give me additional info (attachment)
    Or even better, send me a login to your alpha site
    … Attached is a presentation/ document/ thesis/ article that explains the idea/ product in more detail…
  • How can I help you and why do you think I can help you?
    … I am currently looking for $50k to work full time on the alpha product launch. You would be a great person to get on board, both as an investor and advisor given your background in social search at Google and the patent you published in 2004 …
  • What is the next step?
    … If you are interested, I am in SF on …. and would like to show you an early version of the product.
  • (Extra Credit) Get me excited!
    … During the visit I am also meeting with xxx (smart angel investor) and yyy (smart product person at great company e.g. google)

B) How to adress to someone you don't know


My advice to complete the above post:

When you look at the LinkedIn profile (or in any other profile) of a person you don't know and you would like to contact, if the person indicates in his/her education to have a PhD, this means that you should start your email with :

Dear Doctor Last-Name or Dear Dr. Last-Name,

Indeed, PhD means that the person followed a doctorate program. If the person is occupying a teaching position at a University, and if the teaching position is Professor or Associate-Professor, you should start your email with:

Dear Professor Last-Name or Dear Prof. Last-Name,

If the teaching position is Assistant-Professor, the etiquette is to start with: Dear Dr. Last-name (if of course, he/she holds a PhD)

The Doctorate is the highest degree delivered by a University recognized by its country (or state or county). And every people, in every disciplines, having succeed a doctorate program should be called Doctor

The PhD is the Doctorate degree commonly delivered in soft or hard sciences (soft sciences = human sciences + social sciences / hard sciences = formal sciences + natural sciences). Even if the PhD is not a job position, but a degree, the etiquette is to call a PhD holder: Doctor. In France, a journalist after an interview of an academic researcher in chemistry, mentioned the researcher name in the article with quotes "Doctor X" to indicate to readers that the researcher claims to be a "doctor" but in fact he is not or he is not a real doc (as physicians)! Of course, the researcher offended by the quotes, sued the journalist and Dr. Chemistry won, and got serious and published apologizes from the journal.

The etiquette explained above concerning starting your email with "Dear Dr. X," is also true for other kinds of Doctorate degrees: 

- MD = Doctor in Medical Sciences (physicians hold a Medical Doctor degree)

- JD = Doctor in Juridical Sciences (some lawyers can hold a Juris Doctor degree)

- For a complete list of Doctorate degrees : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctorate


The Doctorate degree in some healthcare fields is both a University degree and a professional title/job position. The best-known is in the medecine where MD = Physician/Surgeon, but also your dentist having a DDM (Doctor in Dental Medicine), your pharmacyst holding a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy), or your veterinarian holding a VMD (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).

C) How to introduce your project, startup or company in one sentence


Hereafter, another post from Adeo Ressi, Founder of the Founder Institute:


How to introduce your startup in one sentence

(it's like the corporate "mission statement" sentence that you find in the website of companies) 

“My company, _(insert name of company)_, is developing _(a defined offering)_ to help _(a defined audience)_ _(solve a problem)_ with _(secret sauce)_”.

Madlibs for Pitching from Founder Institute on Vimeo.

This video on perfecting the opening to your pitch is by Adeo Ressi - Founder of the Founder Institute.
Website: http://fi.co 

D) How to pitch your project, startup or company to investors


This video by Dr. Sean Wise (Assistant Professor at Ryerson University, and VC expert) explains:

How to make a terrific Elevator Pitch                                                                                                                                       


D') How to pitch your project, startup or company to investors


Hereafter, a video by David S. Rose, serial entrepreneur, serial angel investor and Chairman of the Business Angel club "New York Angels", founder-CEO of gust.com (THE web platform dedicated to connect entrepreneurs and angel investors) :


E) How to write your Elevator-Pitch and Executive Summary


Hereafter, I recommand to read the excellent advice from Garage Technology Ventures (VC firm of Guy Kawazaki, former Apple Marketer) about :

- Critical Factors for Obtaining Funding

- Writing a Compelling Executive Summary

- Perfecting Your Pitch


F) How to design and explain easily your Business Model to Investors or to anyone

Business Model =  it's a visual way to design, write, show and pitch your Business Plan (value propositon, value production-communication-distribution, revenue model, strategic partners ...)




HackFwd: Visualize Your Business Model in 15 Minutes Flat from IDEO on Vimeo.


3h de formation sur le pitch startup par un excellent confrère, le Dr. Philippe Méda, CEO du cabinet de conseil en stratégie Merkapt basé à Marseille http://www.merkapt.com/




The single biggest reason why startups succeed

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