Pitch, Schmitch: Jack Coats Has a Different Take on Elevator Pitches

CardioWise CEO Jack Coats has a different take on the old-fashioned elevator pitch, all the rage in the Arkansas entrepreneurial community these days.

The popularity of the Innovate Arkansas-inspired Gone in 60 Seconds pitch contest and the success of the pitch contest portions of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup collegiate business-plan competitions have aspiring Arkansas entrepreneurs honing their deliveries.

But Coats believes one generic pitch per venture is not enough.

"I believe that there should not be an ‘official' elevator pitch for your company," he said. "In my opinion, it's unlikely to ever be used. I believe that your message always should be tailored to your audience. Study the background of those to whom you will present and customize your message to them, using terminology appropriate to that person or group."

Coats believes startups should have "contingency plan" pitches.  

"When you visit a venture-capital company or commercial corporation, have contingency plans prepared," he said. "You should think through whom you may meet and put together sketches of elevator pitches for each person or group that you may encounter, since you never know whom you may meet on an elevator.  For example, you should develop a financially oriented pitch for finance people and a technically oriented pitch for engineering executives."

Coats may be onto something. Just don't expect to see CardioWise in the next G60 contest. 

See also: CardioWise Hopes to Change Heart Treatment