In the startup world, pitch events are great potential avenues for raising money, meeting potential investors and advisors, and gaining customers and visibility. But what if you’re not actually pitching? Though the benefits may not be as apparent, there are plenty of ways to maximize your time at pitch events if you’re just there to observe. Here are three suggestions:
1. Listen and Take Notes
Whether you’re there to support a friend or colleague, or because you’re thinking about participating in a pitch event later, show up ready to take plenty of notes. Listen to the judges’ critiques and the reasoning behind their comments and watch for the signs that separate the evocative pitches from the duds. This is one of the best ways to gain insight into how to build a strong pitch for your own startup.
2. Rev Up Your Networking Game
From the judges and participants to most of the spectators, pitch event audiences are full of startup people. While not everyone will fit into your target market, they could all potentially add value to your professional network as new contacts in the startup community.
For example, raising money may not be an immediate need now, but it could be later on. Take advantage of pitch events to make potentially important financial connections. If you know that investors will be there, research everything that you can about them – from who they are and how they blog to what they invest in – using investor-friendly sites like AngelList, Quora, and LinkedIn. Remember: every little detail counts.
3. Do Some Recon on the Competition
You can use pitch events to discreetly learn more about who else is pitching. Investigate who their investors are, who’s on the managing team and who they’re connecting with. If you’re interested in your competition’s talent, this can be an opportunity to meet and engage with some of the talent that’s there and potentially start a relationship.
Photo Credit: Cathy Black via Flickr