Using Crowdfunding and Pitch Contests to Kickstart your Arts business

This  excerpt,  from  a guest post I wrote for Women 2.0  tells the story of how we transitioned from producing our very successful proof of concept project to announcing our company to the world at large.  To read the entire post- visit the Women 2.0 blog.

VirtualArtsTV at Crowdfunder's Crowdstart LA Beta pitch contest…After taking a year to write our business plan, research our marketing strategy, develop financial projections and expand our team it was finally time for us to introduce VirtualArtsTV to the world at large. The obvious choice for us? The Crowdfunder Beta Pitch contest. Not only was it a national contest in which well known investors were participating as judges, the community voting part of the competition would give us an excuse to reach out to our friends, clients and supporters and update them on our progress.

Knowing that the contest would tax a startup’s limited resources, we were careful to make sure that our efforts were being spent wisely and articulated the tasks we wanted to accomplish through participation:

  1. Finalize our investment materials
  2. Create and practice a fantastic, repeatable pitch presentation.
  3. Meet and get feedback from potential investors
  4. Advertise our work to prospective clients

First, we had to make it to the finals via audience voting. We used the crowd sourcing skills we honed when funding our proof of concept project on Kickstarter to get the necessary votes. Task completed, we were onto the pitch.

To prepare, we watched all the pitches from the last Women 2.0 PITCH Startup Competition and noted not only the questions the judges asked, but also which pitches we liked the best and why.

We created a new deck, one that mirrored the information in our standard investor deck but was more suitable for a live presentation. And finally we practiced. And practiced. And practiced…

Was the time, the effort, the money worth it? Absolutely.

It was incredibly gratifying to be recognized as a runner-up in a pitch contest judged by such a formidable group of angels and VC’s and in which we competed against some of the strongest tech companies I have had the privilege of seeing pitch.

And the results have been right in line with our goals; our investor materials are ready to go at a moment’s notice, we have received very valuable feed back, our success has prompted meetings with a number of angels and VC’s, and the publicity we generated has brought us new clients.

When I first came to New York, I would never have guessed that I would follow this path. I would never have guessed that the business page would be my favorite section of the Times, or that the startup community would ultimately be the community in which I found my most meaningful inspiration.

Competing in the Crowdfunder pitch contest was both the perfect cap to my journey to CEO, and the perfect beginning to VirtualArtsTV.

As the VATV team is so fond of saying, onward and upward! Who can we pitch next?


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