"TRAIN WRECK": Here's What Happens When A Startup Pitch Goes Bad

Panel at Launch

When you pitch your startup to potential investors, you better be excited and prepared. That’s the lesson from  Launch conference right now, where a group of panelists  just administered a verbal beatdown to Appconomy CEO Brian Magierski, which makes a mobile app called Groupin for tracking your participation in different groups.

The basic problem expressed by most of the panelists: there are plenty of other mobile groups apps out there, and  Appconomy wasn’t presenting anything unique or new. Yammer founder David Sacks pointed out that users could do exactly the same thing through Facebook, and wondered how Appconomy could hope to make a business appealing to the steadily diminishing group of people who AREN’T on Facebook.

Then it got really ugly. Some of the criticisms included:

  • Lack of excitement — angel investor Dave McClure said that Magierski looked like he was doing a job, not leading a company he was passionate about.
  • Speaking in a monotone — comedian and impressionist Kevin Pollak suggested taking lessons from Christopher Walken.
  • Wearing blindingly white tennis shoes under bright lights.

Eventually, conference organiser Jason Calacanis rescued Magierski, saying “this is turning into a train wreck.”

The takeaway: it’s going to be even harder behind closed doors. When you present your company, be clear, be excited, and look good.

Updated: Here’s the video. The thrashing starts around 8:00:

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