Last night, I competed in a local open pitch competition for a $5k prize. To save you the suspense, I didn't win.
However, I wanted to share my pitch and experience for any other budding entrepreneurs out there. First of all, if you are in Michigan, seriously check out 5x5night.com - this is an incredible opportunity founded by Start Garden. They live and breath entrepreneurs and have a wealth of knowledge and connections. Also, I literally would not be where I am without Valerie from the Muskegon Innovation Hub at GVSU.
So... Here's essentially what my pitch was:
"Hi, I'm Julie Burrell & I am here to tell you about Pumpndo. This is an innovative new product that allows breastfeeding moms the ability to convert their nursing bra into a hands-free pumping bra. It is universal, working with all breast pumps and nursing bras. It is user friendly, allowing for hands free pumping in less than 30 seconds. Eliminating the need to completely disrobe and put on a separate bra or device completely around your body, Pumpndo is a must have.
Before you get all squirmy in your seats because this is a topic you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with, let me tell you why you should care. Pumpndo is patent-pending, and has an incredible profit potential with an 84.9% gross margin. To give you an idea of the size of our target market - every year since the 80's the number of breastfeeding women has been increasing. The most recent data available shows that 81% of all babies born in the US are given Breast Milk for any period of time. This equates to over 3 MILLION women EVERY SINGLE YEAR who need this product. If we are able to have only a 1% market penetration, this will generate over $1M in revenue.
To also give you some more background on why this is so impactful - take a look at your day. From when you wake up to when you go to bed... could you function if you were unable to use your hands for 3 hours a day? Would it be inconvenient, disruptive or even impossible? This is the challenge breastfeeding moms face when we have to pump. Pumpndo has the ability to give back hundreds of hours to nursing moms, because life doesn't stop when it is time to pump.
Why am I the best person to move this project forward? Simply put, I am the target market. I am a nursing mom, a working mom. I spent 27 months pumping, which equated to over 2000 hours.
And - what will I do with $5,000? So far, I have been self funded. We are in production, utilizing two Michigan manufacturing facilities and have an inventory that supports pumpndo.com and Amazon.
I will continue the research and development of additional sizing variations that are needed to reach the rest of my market, as well as purchasing inventory for those sizes.
The majority of the funds will go towards my marketing strategy. I will develop collateral, which will help my existing and future retail partners position my product, as well as events that I plan on attending. Mommycon is one of those events. As the nation's only natural parenting convention, entering it's 5th year, Mommycon has 6 events in the US and one in Canada, and reaches an audience of over 50,000. I will also refine my online precense, which again consists of pumpndo.com and amazon, both launched within the last two months. The remainder of the funds will be used to partner with very popular breastfeeding websites, in order to get Pumpndo in front of over 10,000 people per day.
*whew* It was nerve wracking. But I am passionate about this, and that resonated with the audience.
The judges all gave feedback, and they had nothing negative to say. They were impressed with the market potential and the margin.
But they still didn't pick me.
The goal of this specific pitch night is to choose the idea that needs the $5,000 the most to move forward. 4 of the 5 judges approached me after, and said if they could have picked two winners, I would have had it. The only reason I wasn't selected, is because I am already in production. They could see my passion, and knew that I would be moving this forward with or without their money.
It's nice to hear, but free money would have been nice too :)
So - if you have an idea...go for it. You never know what might happen!