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One of the things that may be new our Startup Weekend participants, even some of those who are entrepreneurial veterans, is the pace of the Friday night Pitch Fire session. All you have is 60 seconds, a mic, your voice and you passion.

Startup Weekend operations manager Adam Stelle and the good folk at Startup Weekend Indy provide a great explanation of the Pitch Fire:


Pitches on Friday night be in a “pitch-fire” format, which means you will have just 60 seconds to get the audience interested in your idea. You will have no slides or props – just a microphone and a smile. You won’t have time to go over features, so just focus on the core of the idea and make your enthusiasm contagious. Here is the format for pitches that we recommend:

  • Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 Seconds)
  • What is the problem that you product is solving? Or, begin with a story (10-20 Seconds)
  • Explain the product and how it solves the problem (10-20 seconds)
  • Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer?) (5-10 seconds)
  • Finally, make up a name for your startup so the facilitator can give it a title

Voting & Forming Teams

After pitches, you will have more time to mingle.  If you pitched an idea, this is your time to start recruiting others that are interested in your idea. If you did not pitch, or if you are having trouble finding others to join your team, use this time to seek out those that pitched other ideas that you found interesting.

Next, the crowd votes on their favorite pitches. This is a simply a way to encourage quick team forming. This is by no means an exclusive process and if you pitch an idea and it is not voted as one of the top ideas, you are more than welcome to work on it if you find some other people who want to work on the idea with you. From there we will form teams and these are the startup ideas that will be worked on over the weekend.

Max Harris

  • I wonder if anyone else is thinking this, but I’m thinking about cutting that last part from the pitch format: “Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer?)”

    I’ve always disliked that part of people’s pitch. Most people simply say “I NEED DEVELOPERS, DESIGNERS… EVERYONE!”

    I feel like it’s mostly a waste of time. People join teams because they like the person or the idea.

  • Keyara Alexandra

    I agree with you Shane! Ideally, people would know what kind of talent they need specifically and then mentioning it in the pitch would be more useful. It seems to be luck of the draw when team formation starts up, although I’ve known people who approached others they knew in the audience to make sure the team has strong leads.