Pitchenvy is website that shows examples of presentations that previous startups have created to present their company to investors. The website was created by Seena Zandipour, entrepreneur and management student at University of California Merced. In this interview we talk to him about the launch of Pitchenvy.
First of all, why did you launch this website?
I was working on the pitch presentations for classlerts, one of the other companies that I am involved in. It was difficult to find examples, but I eventually found a few on Slideshare. I decided to help other people by making these pitches available at one simple place, and that is how pitchenvy was born.
How much time did it take you to launch this site?
It started off as a ‘weekend project’ and most of the work was done in a weekend. Including everything it took about three weeks from idea to launch.
What activities did you do yourself, and what did you outsource?
As a computer science student, I am able to do most things myself. I purchased a template for the website, installed and changed it and added the content. For pitchenvy we use wordpress to power the website.
Your website caught my attention through Techcrunch. How did you get mentioned on that blog?
I filled in the form at Techcrunch because our website is not only a startup itself, but also of interest to startups. This was about a month ago and I did not hear from them immediately. I assumed they had discarded my suggestion so I was surprised to see pitchenvy mentioned in an article about what startups should do before going to VCs. Apparently they had saved this up for this larger article. Immediately after being mentioned on Techcrunch we received about 13.000 hits and 3.000 unique visitors.
Did you get offers from investors interested in pitchenvy?
No, but I am not actively seeking investors for pitchenvy. My main focus is still the Classlerts company that started my search for example pitches. We have finished the Classlerts pitch deck and get funding for this startup. I am running startup with two friends (Tony Belmontes and Peter Howell). We already pitched this in a local competition here at UC Merced University and won some starting money.
For pitchenvy, we did get interest from people who want to advertise on the website. I am selective however: too much or irrelevant adds would not be good for the user experience.
How much time does it take you to be involved in these two startups?
All my time. I am still a full time student and after class I immediately start working on either Classlerts or Pitchenvy. It helps to have two projects: when you get stuck on one you can switch to the other?
Do you have any advice on time management you can offer?
One thing I can really recommend is to limit your time to spend on a issue beforehand. I only give myself 20 minutes per issue, and this forces me work efficiently. If something needs more than 20 minutes, I move on to something else and leave it till later.
For development, we are focusing on Classlerts. Hypothetically speaking, if an investor approaches us and I could hire someone, I would develop a pitch deck generator. Instead of just helping people with examples, we would generate part of the pitch for them. We would focus on generation HTML5 pitch decks, since many startups want to make their pitch deck part of a website.
Since you are nearly graduating, what is your thesis about, and what are your next plans?
My thesis is about web 2.0 and whether or not it is a bubble. After graduation, I want to become a full time entrepreneur, hopefully with Classlerts.
So can we find the Classlerts deck on Pitchenvy?
Not yet, we are still working on it. But if we get funded I am happy to share the pitch on pitchenvy to help others with their deck. Until then, people have to contact us at classlerts.com and we are happy to come and pitch.