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There is a funny infographic going around the internet saying that the entrepreneur’s job is:

  • 33% pitching to his investors
  • 33% pitching to his customers
  • 33% pitching to his parents
Impro Pitch Lyon - L'équipe

The “staff”

That’s a lot of pitching, isn’t it. The “pitch” is a fascinating exercise that I have had a lot of fun dissecting those past two years as I am submitting to it both my students and the teams I’m coaching. There are many recipes of a good pitch, but the most important ingredient of all is practice. And that’s what my friends Cécile, Charles and Louis-Rémi were proposing last night at their Social Mix City event. But, knowing those three it could only come with a twist and lots of laughers.

Impro Pitch

The rules:

Each pitcher has 3 minutes to pitch + 2 minutes of Q&A

Two of the jury members

Two of the jury members

The jury:

For once the jury was 100% feminine (#LeanIn) with Aurélie a freelance translator, Caroline a career consultant, Justine, a local community manager and yours truly)

The pitches:

Impro Pitch - GuillaumeGuillaume (the ball)

Have you ever tried to pitch while a fury Angry Bird is thrown at you by wild audience members? And of course, you have to keep playing ball with them. Catch and throw, catch and throw… and remember what you’re trying to explain… That’s what Guillaume went through while pitching a project about creating and sharing flashcards with fellow students to improve on everyone studying. At 19 years old the Epitech students did an excellent job and has a bright future in front of him.

Impro Pitch - SamySamy (not allowed to say the name of his project)

Could you pitch your project without ever saying its name? Doesn’t sound too difficult? That’s counting without the audience, determined to see Samy fail and asking trick questions again and again. But our pitcher stood strong and told us all we needed to know about this “project around museography” and how to dynamise museum visits and make them more interactive.


Impro Pitch - RemiRemi (blindfolded)

Once upon a time, there was a young serial entrepreneur who practiced the pitch exercise more than once while accelerating his first startup in BoostInLyon‘s first season. And today, it’s another project that Remi was pitching, blindfolded: one that in my role as a teacher I would love to see succeed: Stagiaire.Pro, an online platform that matches students and start-ups to help them find internships.

Impro Pitch - LionelLionel (must use the word “Barbie doll” in his pitch)

Unlike the other pitchers, Lionel is not a regular in Lyon’s startup ecosystem. Turns out, Lionel had never pitched before in his life. He doesn’t even have a project. But Lionel had a dream. And a creepy one with that since it has something to do with following people and chloroform… No, we’re not in danger, the people he was thinking of following were the actual threats and he was coming in as a super hero, saving the Barbie doll girls. Don’t forget the word had to be in the pitch! For a first try, Lionel left with the jury prize, not bad!

Impro Pitch - CaroleCarole (pitch with an accent)

In French we say le hasard fait bien les choses (chance would have it) and it was on Carole that fell the task of pitching with an accent. After spending part of her life in San Francisco, she, of course, chose to use her best Californian bimbo tone to encourage us to get engaged and possibly help finance her pet-project: BoostInLyon. My favorite definition: “BoostInLyon is a château in the city of Lyon inside of which we can put plenty of start-uppers…” Well, all we need now is the castle!

Impro Pitch - LamineLamine (with a headset and listening to loud music)

Last but not least, Lamine jumped in the competition to pitch his startup: Artistoon. Something where he usually doesn’t hesitate, with statements like “it’s like Montmartre on the web”. Catchy. Little did he know, this time he would have to be listening to loud music (get that: I’m sexy and I know it) while doing so. Turns out, music has a not-so-strange effect on Lamine and the first thing he did was shake it baby shake it. In the end, after cooling down on the dance moves, he was able to deliver a good enough speech to win the favors of the jury and get him to coveted prize: a pint of beer. Or maybe the dance moves are what convinced the jury… we’ll never know.

For those of you whom will be around the Lyon area next month, stay tuned for information on the next edition of ImproPitch, because, honestly, I have experienced worst ways to spend a Monday night!