The Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch


The Founders: Ben Sprecher and Josh Herzig-MarxThe Company: Incentive Targeting, Newton, Mass.The Concept: Grocery coupons for niche audiences

The Pitch: Incentive Targeting sells ads to grocery manufacturers. Today, promotions are hard to set up, cost a lot up front, and have poor ROI. Our promotions are easy to create, are cost-effective, and have a provable ROI. Instead of hiring salespeople, we have a self-service Web site. Instead of billing up front, we charge only when promotions are redeemed. And instead of spending millions on proprietary distribution, we use grocery stores' existing channels. We let marketers target promotions to consumers based on their shopping histories.


John Burns, General PartnerHighland Capital Partners, Lexington, Mass.

Burns says the company concept sounds interesting and the founders articulate the value proposition well, but the pitch poorly conveys what the company actually does. "This is a very unique business model, and often these are the hardest to simplify," he says.

The founders should say straight off, in clear language, what the company does, Burns says, rather than use a negative comparison with the word "instead." They should then describe the exact size of their market and follow with what is most compelling about the company. And the pitch must explain how the company is going to make money.

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