I’m sure anyone who reads this blog is familiar with the elevator pitch. This is a 30 second summary of your start-up designed to persuade unsuspecting business types during short elevator rides. Being concise is a virtue. This is especially true when trying to explain your idea to someone on a Schedule I narcotic.
However, I think many people are unaware of another essential tool in fundraising: the bathroom pitch.
I’ve heard this story many times. An entrepreneur’s dinner with an angel is going swimmingly. It’s the end of a long road of wining, dining, and PowerPoints featuring hockey sticks annotated with 30 point Arial typefaces. Filet is consumed and deal points are discussed. The meal concludes and the angel excuses himself to use the bathroom. The budding entrepreneur follows him in.
In a moment of serendipity, both have to take a leak. Standing side by side at adjacent urinals, the young entrepreneur violates every rule in the Man Handbook. He turns to his wealthy neighbor mid-stream, stares him dead in the eye, and plainly states “I won’t fail.” This bold move shocks and surprises the urinating angel. Deal clinched.
It appears upon a cursory glance that Silicon Valley isn’t very diverse. On both sides of the negotiating table, it certainly is a man’s world. The bathroom pitch is a tool unfortunately not available to females seeking funding.
For those encouraging entrepreneurship in women–Equality won’t be reached until they put more unisex bathrooms in Bay Area wine bars.