Cynthia Fischer, founder of Curriculum Projects, is on quite a hot streak. After winning pitch competitions at the Willamette Innovator Network’s Shark Tank and the Startup Albany Pub Talk, Fischer is eyeing a grand slam with upcoming opportunities at Fertilab’s Pitchstream and the Willamette Angel Conference’s concept stage.
Given her success, one could guess that Fischer is a seasoned pitcher. However, before enrolling in the RAIN Corvallis/OSU Advantage Accelerator program last fall, she had never pitched Curriculum Projects, an eLearning platform that allows students to do lessons in two languages at the same time.
So, what’s her secret sauce? Practice. Practice. Practice.
“The great thing about being plugged into the Advantage Accelerator is that you learn about all these opportunities to pitch your idea. So I just kept showing up and practicing,” Fischer said.
Fischer credits her mentors in the Advantage Accelerator for her good pitching habits.
“Alumni told me that the mentors could be brutal, that they’d tear you up and you’d get better. That happened to me when I did my first pitch. They stopped me before I was 30 seconds in and I didn’t finish. I ended up redoing the whole thing from scratch and I practiced like crazy. It was painful but it really paid off,” she said.
If you’ve seen Fischer pitch previously, you won’t necessarily see the same pitch again. She understands that each audience is unique and she has created a different version of her presentation for each one. For example, she knows the crowd at the WAC likes to see a lot of financials. She’s also learned a few tricks along the way.
“It’s really challenging to condense 20 minutes of slides into a 5 minute presentation, but I’ve learned to anticipate which questions the audience will ask, and I’ll have extra slides at the end of my presentation that answer those questions,” she said.