GIST TechConnect: Perfecting Your Pitch

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Program Description

Effectively presenting – or “pitching” – your idea to an audience is imperative to your success. Whether you are pitching to an investor, engaging a potential customer, or recruiting a potential partner, you must be able to convey your ideas in a clear and concise manner. A good pitch takes more than strong public speaking skills, it requires an understanding of your audience and learning the art of negotiation – skills that must be worked on and continuously improved.

Join our interactive webchat on Tuesday, March 13 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (16:00 UTC) to learn how to successfully pitch your venture.

You can ask a live panel of experts your questions by using the chatbox to the right of the video player. You can also send your questions to the panel by using #GISTTechConnect on Twitter.


Why Participate:

- Listen to a panel of experts discuss best-practices for successful pitches
- Ask the experts your questions about pitching to different audiences and in different settings
- Learn tips and tricks that experts use to present their own ideas


Speaker Biographies

Jainesh Sinha, Founder, GyanDahn

Jainesh Sinha is one of the founders of GyanDhan, India’s first education financing startup. Using data science and financial innovation, GyanDhan works with lenders to develop education loan products that are increasingly based on student’s potential, and less on parental income. In under 2 years, they have helped students with over $25M in education loans.

Before GyanDhan, Jainesh spent 5 years developing credit strategies for Capital One, a leading bank in the US. He holds an engineer’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. He faced financial hurdles in his education, and was helped by a philanthropic initiative, called Super 30. Having experienced the problem of student financing personally, Jainesh is deeply passionate about finding a sustainable solution.


Michelle Messina, CEO, Explora International LLC

Michelle E. Messina is CEO of the international training and consulting firm Explora International LLC and co-author of the best-selling book Decoding Silicon Valley: The Insider’s Guide. She pioneered Silicon Valley’s best practices training in 2004 and today has training and consulting engagements with startups, CEOs and founders, investors, and corporate innovation and venture groups. As a serial entrepreneur, Michelle consults on the topics of entrepreneurship, unlocking innovation, startup best practices, ecosystem alignment, business acceleration, global expansion and others. She has worked in, or traveled to, more than 60 different countries and heard more than 5,000 company pitches.


Janine Elliot (Chatspace expert)

Janine is the curriculum designer and primary instructor for VentureWell’s E-Team training programs. She helps student entrepreneurs vet their markets, build business models, and prepare them to raise first equity investments. Previously she was a co-founder of a cleantech materials startup based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Daniel Durazo (Moderator)

Daniel Durazo is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He works on Regional Policy for the Western Hemisphere within the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). Daniel has been with the State Department for five years, and served in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Muscat, Oman. He grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, and completed a Masters Degree in International Relations at University of California in San Diego.

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