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Rebecca Lovell, a pitch competition judge at this year’s Pipeline Entrepreneur Innovators Awards from the Office of Economic Development in Seattle, was impressed with the quality of presentations she saw.
“I don’t know if it’s the midwest, but there’s this amazing combination of passion and drive, and humility,” said Lovell.
An expert in the art of pitching
Lovell has seen more pitch competitions than she can count. Years ago she was judging near monthly pitch competitions in Seattle, and judging a university business plan competition. Right out of grad school she also ran an angel investment firm.
Over the course of three years, Lovell coached and screened over 500 companies. She definitely knows the dos and don’ts of pitches.
“I can’t over emphasize passion,” said Lovell. “Don’t be shy about sharing that vision and that inspiration.”
She says one of the biggest mistakes she’s seen is when entrepreneurs say “I have no competition.”
“That either means they haven’t done their homework or there’s no market for their product,” explained Lovell.
The value of humility
Lovell was impressed with how far some of the entrepreneurs had gotten, the number of serial entrepreneurs in the mix, and their impressive sales revenue numbers.
She says the fact that accomplished people are participating in Pipeline shows real the value of it.
“Having that humility, always knowing you could learn more whether it’s from your peers or investors or mentors––that was one of the connective tissues of today.”
Technology in the midwest
Lovell also thinks that the Midwest is a natural home to technology because innovation can and does happen anywhere. Everything from the traditional Midwestern core of manufacturing to CAD and CAM design can be innovated.
“Anyone [who thinks] of technology as a vertical isn’t really looking at it the right way,” said Lovell. “Technology is disrupting every sector you can imagine.”
She thinks technology is actually a horizontal that connects every other vertical industry.
“I’m not surprised to see that innovation is happening everywhere.”