Learn from the pros how to sell your startup idea

Promo graphic for entrepreneurs offering advice on the perfect pitch (GIST Network)
Entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman and investor Oltac Unsal will show aspiring entrepreneurs how to pitch their business ideas. Viewers can watch the June 21 session live and pose questions online. (GIST Network)

It’s the make-or-break moment aspiring entrepreneurs live for: pitching their ideas to venture capitalists with the funds to make them real.

On the eve of the June 22–24 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley, audiences around the world will get a chance to witness how it’s done by two pros: Jeff Hoffman, the serial entrepreneur who helped start Priceline.com, and Oltac Unsal, a seasoned investor in startups in the United States and other countries.

It will be a mock pitch, with Hoffman giving a short explanation of a proposal and Unsal questioning him about its chances of turning into a profitable business.

Hoffman and Unsal also will field questions from all comers during the “Perfecting Your Pitch” webchat at 11 a.m. EDT/15:00 UTC on June 21 from Palo Alto, California. It will be streamed on the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Network.

Unsal is president of Smyrna Capital, which has investments in 50 tech startups. Unsal has sat through 2,500 pitches and written checks for 2 percent of them.

From Istanbul, where he was on a business trip, Unsal said many hopefuls “focus too much on the idea” and not enough on their team “and how they’re going to recover when the tough times come.”

He also scoffs when he hears from a would-be entrepreneur that there’s no competition. While the person is still pitching, Unsal takes out his smartphone and can usually find one or two companies already doing something similar.

Hoffman is co-founder of ColorJar, a Chicago-based digital innovation firm that works with startups and other businesses to turn concepts into creations. He serves on company boards on five continents and speaks widely about global entrepreneurship.