Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch is the show where contestants get into an elevator and have just 60 seconds to pitch their business to a video camera. Our board of investors is watching, and if they like what they hear they open the doors and the entrepreneur steps into the boardroom to try to seal the deal. If they don’t like what they hear, the entrepreneur gets sent back down.
In this ongoing article series, we’re celebrating the entrepreneurs who walked into the boardroom and came out with a win and sharing their tips for pitching success.
Who are you and what is your business?
I’m Alicia Tulsee, founder of Moxie Scrubs, the first direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand for nurses. I went on the show seeking $500,000 and walked out with a $250,000 investment from Kim Perrell.
How did you prepare for the show?
I sought the help of our existing investors to come up with a one-minute pitch that would hit all the key points, such as total addressable market (known as TAM), customer acquisition costs (known as CAC), average order value (known as AOV), and key performance metrics such as repeat purchases and product return rates. Also, they wanted to know why and how our product is different from what’s out there in the market today and how it addresses our customer’s pain points.
We also set up times to go through mock questions and answers to prepare me for any questions we believed investors would like to know after hearing my one-minute pitch for the first time. Once we came up with a pitch that hit all the highlights we agreed on, I practiced it nonstop — while brushing my teeth, reciting it impromptu to my husband when waking up in the middle of the night, cooking dinner. I practiced so much that I could repeat it in my sleep at the drop of a hat! This is exactly what you have to do when your one-minute timer starts counting down.
What did you think was going to happen? What was different from your expectations?
I honestly had no idea what would happen or what to expect. Nothing could prepare you for how intense the moment is when it’s your turn to give your one-minute pitch: The entire set is pin-drop silent. All eyes, ears and lights are on you. And you get no retakes. All you have is this one 60-second moment to pitch. While it was one of the most intense experiences of my life, I’m happy to share that the whole experience was better than I could have imagined. The entire crew was friendly, helpful and just really great people/ I appreciated their kindness and helpfulness so much because I had a tough time getting to Fort Lauderdale (where the set is) from Boston. I was rerouted to Miami, which is an hour away from Fort Lauderdale by car, my flight was extremely delayed, and I ultimately didn’t get to my hotel until 1 a.m. the day of filming. I was so exhausted from what was already a very intense week. I woke up a few short hours later at 5 a.m., did my hair and make-up and was the first person at the studio, camera ready at 6:30 am. When they said to be prepared for a 10-hour shoot day, they meant it. Even though I did not know what was going to happen throughout the day, all of my preparation, the support from the staff leading up to my turn to pitch, one large cup of coffee, two shots of espresso and a can of Red Bull paid off — I had victory!
Why do you think they opened the doors?
It’s hard to encompass all your hopes and dreams as an entrepreneur and all of the unique wonderful nuances of your business into a one-minute pitch. I know that investors want to know the key metrics that demonstrate why they should care about your business and why you’re motivated to do what you’re doing. I included the big takeaways from these areas in my pitch and believe that this is what made them want to learn more. For example, I demonstrated our path to profitability, metrics that proved customers love our product and backed it up with what makes Moxie Scrubs the best in the market.
How did the negotiations go? Would you do anything differently?
When I received an offer from Kim Perell, I was thrilled. Kim is the investor I went into the show wanting on my team. She knows exactly what it takes as a female entrepreneur to grow and scale your business. Kim built her business from scratch and understands what it’s like for the everyday American with a dream. There was nothing to negotiate because I know the value that someone like her will bring to any company. If you couldn’t already tell, I greatly admire her.
What do you plan to do with your investment?
This investment will be used to fund inventory costs and marketing, both essential to scale Moxie Scrubs and take our business’s impact to the next level. We are excited to grow our business with Kim Perell’s mentorship and support and make a huge difference in the lives of every single nurse across the country.
What did it mean to you personally to get in the doors and walk out with a win?
As an entrepreneur, every statistic is working against you. As a female minority entrepreneur, the statistics become even worse. Getting through the doors and walking out with a win was proof to me and the world that I have moxie and will continue to defy every statistic that says people like me should not succeed. It was so gratifying because when one woman succeeds, all of us succeed. I found myself saying that Dr. Seuss quote, “Oh the places you’ll go!” in my head all day. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful thing about entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship allows you to take your life in directions you would never think could be possible. And it’s even more beautiful when your business helps to improve the lives of millions of people across the country. I feel so grateful that I get to build this amazing brand that supports nurses where they need the support the most. Walking out with a win made me more determined to continue doing what I am most passionate about — supporting nurses.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
Go ahead and do it. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! And my next piece of advice would be: Don’t wing your pitch. Practice. Practice. Practice. You never know what might happen and when things don’t go as planned, your preparation will be all that you have to fall back on. And lastly, please arrive a couple of days early!