Pitching to Angels

Think of it like an elevator pitch, if you're in the elevator of a very tall building. And the people you're pitching to are experienced investors from the Keiretsu Forum, the world's largest angel investor network. That's how it was for the seven contestants in the Business Idea Competition—hosted by the School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA)—who each had just two minutes to pitch their ideas.

"A two-minute pitch is insanely short," said Michael Woodcox MBA '14, the winner of the competition. His idea is to merge 3D printing technology with architectural design, resulting in a panelized building method that reduces waste and construction time, while increasing thermal performance. "I honestly felt I didn't have a chance of winning. Construction isn't very sexy," he said.

In addition to hosting the competition, SEBA held a coaching session to help students prepare their pitches. Chris Phan MBA '13, winner of the audience choice award, said "it was instrumental in helping me focus my idea and tailor my message."

His project, called Spec-Box, is an online database that helps users with their structural packaging needs. In addition to a $1,000 prize, he said, "Winning the people's choice award really encouraged me to pursue this, because when you resonate with a lot of people, that's a good thing, especially for something as abstract as packaging."

Meanwhile, Woodcox won a $2,500 prize, three hours of legal consulting at Hanson Bridgett, and, best of all, the chance to pitch his idea at the invitation-only Angel Expo, a premier gathering of the angel capital community hosted by the Keiretsu Forum.

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