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On Thursday at Academy 2019, we'll host the sixth-annual Ideas Night -- one of our favorite parts of the week!  It's an opportunity for you to share your passions, interests, aches, hopes and dreams. We have seen some great pitches in the past and can't wait to hear the ideas of this summer's class.  In addition to hearing a diverse set of ideas on various topics that is both energizing and fun, we also hope that you might find others to partner with on future projects or startups. that this opens up further conversations, and maybe -- just maybe -- a place where future co-founder matches are made!


For those who would like to participate, here's what you need to do:

  • Using the exercises below as a guide, create a video with an elevator pitch that is no more than 90 seconds.

  • Upload the video to an online service of your choice that allows us to directly play the video (ex: Vimeo, YouTube are great because they allow auto-play -- you could also use Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box: just make sure the video can be directly played from the browser without us having to download it).

  • Submit the link to the video and the rest of the information on your idea by July 1 (11:59pm Pacific Time).

  • We will review submissions and email finalists by July 23rd. Finalists will get to pitch in person during Idea Night at Academy 2019! 

  • For those who weren’t finalists or did not submit in time, we will reserve a few spots for a “last chance” pitch — we will announce when this is during Academy Week, but come prepared to share your pitch in person to our Host Team and we will select a few to pitch that day.


Using the exercises below as a guide, create a video with an elevator pitch that is no more than 90 seconds:

  • Consider what the “redemptive” aspect of the venture is and share about it in the pitch. What is broken, and how is what you are proposing “creatively restoring” the problem? (For more information on the definition of “redemptive” check out this site.

  • The ‘stage’ of your idea is not as important as the substance: whether this is something you are passionate about and want to share it with others to find people who also are interested in solving that problem, or you have a full blown startup that you’re working full-time on — we welcome your submission!

  • Be interesting and creative: whether your idea is in a boring field that is ripe for disruption and you find a way to make it hilarious -- or your idea is about a serious injustice in the world and you are making an emotional or inspirational appeal -- we encourage you to make a highly engaging and creative presentation.

  • The exercises will give you a framework for producing an elevator pitch, but don't feel like they are strict rules (besides the 90-seconds part, it does need to be under that!).

  • Don't be intimidated....if you aren't sure about pitching because you're worried about it not being good enough, or the right thing, etc., etc., stop over analyzing it and just go for it! One of the reasons we selected you for the Academy 2018 class is that we saw something in your application that made us think that this is the right thing for you to be a part of this summer. SO, go for it. Submit. Give it a shot. You have nothing to lose (we're only publishing the finalist list so nobody will know if you submitted but didn't make it).


Below are exercises from the book From Concept to Scale that help guide you on how to create an effective elevator pitch. Use these to guide your process (whether you are submitting or not!), and start practicing today. The best in the world got that way through practicing and refining their idea over and over, inviting lots of feedback in the process. Go for it!  

Articulating Your Idea