HEI “7×7” Investor Pitch and Learn Competition*

  • 7 Slides
  • 7 Minutes (3 minutes to pitch; 4 minutes for Q & A)
  • One $777 First Place Award; Two $333 Second Place Awards

First Step in Sports3


HEI sponsors a “3×3″ idea pitch and learn competition, a sales pitch and learn experience, and a “7×7” investor pitch and learn competition.

These events are open to all Hope students but are required by those enrolled in LDRS 231.  While there is prize money as incentive in the idea pitch and learn and investor pitch and learn competitions, it is the experience in all three events that is most valuable to the students. Judges/Coaches play a critical role in creating this value.

This description is intended to give participants an understanding of how the pitch and learns fits into CFL Incubator‘s program at large and the objectives for each competition.


The HEI 7×7 Investor Pitch and Learn is near the end of a student’s semester-long inductive learning experience in LDRS 231.

In LDRS 231, Leading the Start-Up Process, to help students prepare for work by helping them discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling and transition from college, and to help them enhance their critical thinking and communication and learning skills learned in a liberal arts education, we engage them in The Four Steps to the Epiphany.

  • Customer Discovery
  • Customer Validation
  • Customer Creation
  • Company Creation

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

At this point in their journey the students are working their way through Customer Validation.  They have shared their ideas at a high level (30,000 feet) with potential advisors (Idea Pitch and Learn).  They have also engaged in a sales pitch and learn experience with customer/coaches to gain experience selling using a consultative sales process model.  The next step is for students to present their ideas at lower level (10,000 feet) to see if they can get potential investors interested in their business model.  That is the purpose of the HEI “7×7” Investor Pitch and Learn Competition.


The investor pitch is an opportunity for student teams to gauge investor interest in their business idea.

For the investor pitch student teams are assigned to a room in which to present and a panel of judges.  Judges play the role of investors, then coaches.

In the investor pitch, students have 7 minutes to get a potential investor interested in having a follow-up conversation (3 minutes to pitch; up to 4 minutes for Q&A).  Their pitch should include the following (adapted from Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start); their slides should be visual and limited in terms of words.  (Students should speak to the audience, not to the slides.)

  • Opening: Introductions —  Greet the audience and introduce yourselves.
  • Slide #1: Customer and Problem  — a story of customers — could be autobiographical — and the pain they are experiencing and how they are currently solving the problem.
  • Slide #2: Solution and Value Proposition — a story of the proposed solution alleviates the customer’s pain and  how the proposed product is different from the status quo (how customers currently solve the problem) and why it is better than the competition.
  • Slide #3: Validation — evidence information regarding market desirable, technical feasibility, and business viability.
  • Slide #4: Business (Revenue/Value Capture) Model —  a high level description of how the business idea will make money; for example,
    • What analogy would you use to describe your business model?
    • What are you selling?  (Is it a product or service; subscription, advertising, etc?)  How do you make money?
  • Slide #5: Go to Market Plan — a high level description of the customer buying process and how you will influence it (i.e., Sales Funnel with Metrics [e.g., Leads, Conversion Rate, Customers, Referrals and Strategies; i.e., how the Customer Creation step will occur).
  • Slide #6: Management Team and Advisory Board — a high level description of where the team’s wisdom resides.  For example,
    • Management: names, skills set, experience
    • Business Advisory Board: names, skill set, experience
  • Slide #7: Financial Assumptions and Projections — “bottom-up” and “top-down” forecasts:
    • Bottom up:  Leads, Sales Conversion, Customers, Price, Revenue, Costs over the next 6 months
    • Top down: The size of the market and sales projections over 3-6 years, etc. (Slide #8)
    • Financing needed and ultimate pay-off (potential size of market)
    • How you would use pitch award if you win it
  • Closing: Next Steps — Ask for something:
    • Ask the audience for a follow-up meeting (foot in the door)
    • Tell them why they should invest

Following each team’s 3-minute investor pitch judges have up to 4 minutes to ask questions for clarification and understanding.

After the judges have heard from all the teams, they will deliberate and decide on one first and two second place awardees.  (See “Judging Criteria” below.)  Before announcing the awardees, they will be asked to make comments to each team en mass: Judges provide feedback for each team: on business model: 1 strength, 1 challenge; on pitch: 1 strength, one challenge  (2 min/team).  Thus during the pitches, judges should take notes to expedite the judging and feedback process.

Fall 2014 Raechel


Judges for the HEI Investor Pitch and Learn Competition should expect student teams to have exhaustively thought out their business idea — they should spend the bulk of their time demonstrating how their solution solves an important customer problem and telling you how they will make money (or fund their activities), their path to market, and the financial and other assumptions they are making.

It is important for judges to remember that this is a “teachable moment” wherein they can influence student entrepreneurs.  Use their pitch presentations to help the students think more broadly and deeply.

Judging Criteria

A very important consideration is validity.  Validity can be addressed in 3 crucial areas:

  • Market Desirability: Does the market want our solution?  How do we know?
  • Technical Feasibility: Does our solution work?  How do we know?
  • Business Viability: Is our solution sustainable?  How do we know?

IFall 2014 Cara and Margo

Gifts and Calling

We seek to enable students to present their solution clearly, succinctly and with passion.  We are helping students determine if entrepreneurship is their calling.  Some students will be more passionate and skilled than others.  That is OK.  Passion comes from both the excitement of the idea and the excitement of being an entrepreneur.  Skill may be related to passion.  We are good at the things we are passionate about and passionate about the things we are good at.

Passion and skill are important considerations because the purpose of all CFL is to help students discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling.  CFL then seeks to provide the opportunity.  Some students, based on their performance in LDRS 231, will be invited to join HEI.

Thank you for participation!

CFL Incubator 2000x2000

Back to CFL Incubator.


*Special thanks to Ken Van Der Wende for drafting this document.


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