Prizes for pitch competitions come in all shapes and sizes, so when you’re an expert at winning them, the earnings can really add up.
Like all overnight success stories, the hard work and preparation started long before Dr. Izuakor set foot on stage to claim her winnings.
Dr. Izuakor generously shared her methods for becoming a pitch competition pro, so we could in turn share them with you.
Before sharing what it takes to win multiple pitch competitions, let’s take a look at what Dr. Christine Izuakor is actually pitching.
About Cyber Pop-Up
Cyber Pop-up is an on-demand cybersecurity service platform powered by vetted and highly skilled cyber security experts.
The startup alleviates the pain of cybersecurity by connecting companies with experts to work on “pop-up” style projects or to answer any cybersecurity questions a company might have.
By working with Cyber Pop-Up, companies can avoid high overhead hiring costs, termination fees, and long timelines for hiring knowledgeable talent.
There’s no question that the concept underpinning Cyber Pop-Up is genius, but a great idea and business model aren’t what secure the win at a pitch competition.
Secrets to Winning Pitch Competitions
Let’s revisit how much financial capital Dr. Izuakor has won through pitch competitions… $300K. To put it into perspective – that’s enough to buy a home!
For those wondering, what competitions, Dr. Izuakor won, here’s the list:
- 1871 Black Founder Pitch Competition
- TechRise Pitch Competition
- Atlanta Startup Battle (Pitch Competition)
- mox.E x Entrenuity Pitch Competition
- Next Generation Women’s Development Center Pitch Competition
- Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (Grant)
Now for what you’ve been waiting for. Here are Dr. Izuakor’s tips for becoming an expert at winning pitch competitions.
Find a Professional Pitch Coach
There are coaches for everything – even for writing and delivering a startup pitch!
Dr. Izuakor says her startup coach helped her get her initial thoughts onto paper and craft them into a solid story. She credits Raj, the Startup Hypeman, for guiding her through the pitch-writing process.
Though some coaches charge a fee for their services, there are also opportunities for founders to work with coaches for free. “With a little searching,” says Dr. Izuakor, “founders can find programs that include free pitch coaching. Some pitch competitions even offer coaching services to finalists!”
Pitch! Pitch! Pitch!
As stated earlier, Dr. Izuakor’s winning streak didn’t happen overnight. In fact, her winning streak includes a considerable amount of losses, and she’ll be the first to tell you.
She realized early on that it would take several failures before reaching a success, so she set herself up with as many pitch opportunities she could find to get in the repetitions – many of which came from Goodie Nation’s database of funding opportunities.
“I would sign up for pitch competitions even if there wasn’t a prize because I needed the practice,” says Dr. Izuakor.
Dr. Izuakor would go on to use this philosophy to build her confidence and ability to master the segment that often gives founders the most trouble – the Q&A.
Leverage Mentors and Investors
Knowing that repetition was the key to perfection, Dr. Izuakor leveraged time with mentors and investors to practice for the Q&A portion.
She would constantly run her pitch by mentors in various programs to see what questions they came up with and which answers provided the most clarity for them.
Dr. Izuakor also took copious notes after talks with over 100 investors, so she could identify weak components in her pitch and reveal blind spots in her query of answers.
This tedious process of collecting all possible questions and forming iterations of answers is what consistently helps Dr. Izuakor ace the Q&A portion because it’s almost as if the answers to seemingly unique questions are their own practiced pitches!
By now, it should be no secret that one of the biggest factors in Dr. Izuakor’s success is her preparation, and that’s not just limited to pitch competitions.
A Community in Goodie Nation
Dr. Izuakor is an active founder in the Goodie Nation community which has helped her prepare for challenges she hadn’t even considered. “In our weekly huddles,” says Dr. Izuakor, “I learn so much just listening to founders think through challenges and find solutions.”
In addition to learning from other founders, Dr. Izuakor leveraged the Goodie Nation community to find opportunities through our database. One of which was the Atlanta Startup Battle, where she won first place for $100K!
She also joined a pro bono support program hosted by SAP that provided the hands-on assistance that “helped create the foundation for future products.”
Dr. Izuakor is just 1 of the 290 founders using Goodie Nation to propel them forward in their founder journeys, and we’re so glad to see it happen. We can’t wait to witness what Dr. Izuakor will accomplish.
Dr. Izuakor’s Next Steps
The Cyber Pop-Up Founder plans to use her winnings to grow her team and to launch new products. Dr. Izuakor says she has big plans for the future as there is “an overwhelming demand for the solutions Cyber Pop-Up is providing.”