The judges at a startup contest hosted by Salesforce gave these 4 key tips to get funded

Becky PetersonThat’s one big check. From left, Scott Raney; Aileen Lee; Digital Onboarding CEO Ted Brown; Digital Onboarding CTO Jonathan Crossman; Salesforce EVP of App Exchange, Leyla Seka; Josh Stein (front); Arlan Hamilton.

In the midst of Salesforce’s developer conference TrailheaDX, three start ups battled it out on stage to convince a panel of judges that they were worthy of the $US50,000 prize.

The prize money from Dreampitch ultimately went to Digital Onboarding, a company whose product is pretty close to its name.

But the real prize may have been the advice for startups offered by the panel of judges.

Here’s what the four VC investors said start ups should do to really make a pitch pop:

  • Discuss market size early, says Aileen Lee, founder and partner at Cowboy Ventures. Lee said she listens closely for big numbers, and that any market under $US5 billion won’t be worth while for most venture capitalists. Big numbers early on in a pitch are the quickest way into a VC’s heart.
  • Sell yourself as the solution, says Josh Stein, partner at DFJ Ventures. Stein said he likes to know three things up front — why now, why this team, and how big can it grow?
  • Show respect for your team, says Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing partner at Backstage Capital. Backstage Capital invests primarily in underrepresented founders, so Hamilton said she looks to see who’s talking during a pitch and if people are given the space to speak when they have an idea.
  • Share your passion, says Scott Raney, partner at Redpoint Ventures. Raney said he loves to hear stories about people who build companies from scratch. If you can make it through the highs and lows of the early days, investors will have faith that you’re in it for the long haul.

NOW WATCH: Mount Everest is not the tallest mountain in the world

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at