Create Your Winning Pitch

Our Pitch Video Challenge ends October 25th but you've still got time to get your entry together and submit your video to our website. I thought I'd share some advice that could make the difference between a good pitch and a great one.

First off, while we're looking fot a great pitch video in general, keep in mind that this is a contest and we have a scoring system our judges will use to evaluate your video. Let's take a look at that system:

Criteria Description


  • Does the project have a clear target market or audience?
  • Does the project address a clear need, problem, or opportunity and is the solution clearly explained? If it is a game, is the project’s concept and proposed gameplay understandable and appealing?
  • Is the project’s purpose and basic functionality easily understood?


Pitch Quality
  • Does the video capture the viewer’s attention?
  • Does the viewer remain interested and engaged throughout the video?
  • Does the team explain their planned next steps to get the project moving?
  • Does the viewer finish the video wanting to know more, in a good way?


  • Does the team reasonably explain their business model?
  • Is it clear what core technologies the team will use and how they are relevant to the project?
  • Does the team discuss and respond to their competition in the target market?


A successful pitch video will need to address all of the criteria above. If you have a rough draft of your video, consider asking a couple of friends or faculty to review it and give you a score based on the above criteria. That outside feedback could be very helpful.

I know there are a lot of criteria up there and it may seem overwhelming if you try to do all of them at once. The most important thing you should accomplish with your video is to answer these six questions:

  1. What's the concept?
  2. What's the opportunity or problem you're addressing?
  3. What core technologies will you use?
  4. What is your competition for this project?
  5. What is your business model?
  6. What are your next steps?

Get those right first. Then practice telling your story. Try doing one version where you make sure you hit all the criteria in the Concept section, then work on the Feasibility section, and by then you should also be doing pretty good on the Pitch Quality section.

Above all, show us who you are. Imagine Cup judges don't just look for great projects. They look for great teams. Show them your thinking but also show your passion for what you want to do and how you want to do it.

Need some more advice? Our Pitch Video Challenge page has a lot of links to great videos and articles, but here are three I picked out to get you started.

How to Test Your Idea

Take fifteen minutes and listen to this podcast. The article with it covers a couple of the points but listen to the whole thing.

A lot of young developers fall in love with their ideas and never validate them before they get started. They think the code is the most important part and they figure the testing comes later, maybe at the alpha stage. But you don't need code to test your core ideas. You can do it in a conversation, or even with a mock-up made of paper sketches. The earlier you test your ideas with real people who might use your project someday, the better your ideas will become.

The Importance of Storytelling in Honing Your Pitch

This two-minute video is a great reminder that when making your pitch, you aren't just presenting data. You are telling a story that should produce an emotional response.

Can you find a way to personalize your pitch? Maybe you can relate your project to your personal life, or that of someone you know? Even if you just invent a hypothetical user -- often known as a persona -- you can frame your pitch by talking about that persona's experience before and after using your project.

How to Pitch to a Venture Capitalist

In this fifteen-minute TED Talk, David S. Rose has a lot of great experience to share about pitching your project. While you won't literally be pitching to a VC in this contest, it's great advice for your project and how you pitch.

Now It's Your Turn

Whew! Got enough to think about now? Then do this:

  1. Listen to that first podcast and test your ideas with possible users.
  2. Answer the six questions I gave you earlier.
  3. Watch the first video and come up with a way to add emotion and personality to your pitch.
  4. Watch the second video and review yoaur pitch plans.
  5. Record a rough draft of your pitch and test it against the judging criteria.
  6. Keep recording new versions of your pitch until you feel like you've got all the criteria covered.
  7. Upload your video by October 25th. Don't wait until the last minute in case something goes wrong!

See? That's not so bad. Now get started ― we can't wait to see what you come up with!

John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Competition Manager
Microsoft Academic Programs

Comments (30)

  1. MOHAMED KOUKI says:

    very helpful article
    Thank you

    1. John Scott Tynes says:

      You’re welcome! I’m really glad it was useful.

  2. Samuel Marks says:

    Thanks, filmed mine earlier today; will upload it tonight 🙂

    BTW: When are the results set be in?

    1. John Scott Tynes says:

      Deadline is October 25, judging happens in November, and then I’d expect us to announce the winners in December. Meanwhile, though, you can be competing in the Project Blueprint Challenge which will launch shortly after the Pitch Video deadline . . .

      1. Samuel Marks says:

        Thanks, can’t wait to hear!

  3. Ameet Thakur says:

    Thank You very Supportive Article

  4. Oraldo Hoxhallari says:

    Very Helpful, I’ll upload my video tomorrow 😀

  5. Manohar Kunamneni says:

    Where we have to give our team details for Pitch video challenge

    1. John Scott Tynes says:

      Visit your Dashboard at and click the name of your team if you’ve created one. On your team page you can fill out your team’s information, sign up for contests, and so on.

      For more details of how to get started, please see our Get Started page:

  6. Marko Gašparič says:

    So, do we have 12 or 36 hours left?

    1. John Scott Tynes says:

      The deadline on the Pitch Video Challenge page is what you should take a look at. It’s Friday, October 25, 00:00 GMT. Which means that as of right now that’s about seven hours away!

  7. Mariglen Q says:

    Excuse me but in the SITE RULES,it says that the “
    Entry Period” ends at 11:59 GMT on 25 October 2013.That mean we have more than 14 hours to upload our videos!!!!!!what is going on hear,you have given 2 different dates!

    1. ardit s says:

      is’t true what is going on hear

    2. John Scott Tynes says:

      Hey, you’re right! Everyone please thank Mariglen who noticed the discrepancy between our official rules and our web database. 🙂 We have updated our database to allow submissions for twelve more hours so the contest will end per the official rules at 11:59 GMT October 25!

      1. Aayush Sharma says:

        Still 3 hours left but cannot see the Challenge Button 🙁

  8. Luca Leone says:

    the web form, for sending the pitch video, didn’t allow me to save description and name

  9. Evgeniy Romin says:

    Not working Video Uploading Form – still trying to upload our pitch for few hours. I tried different browsers and different video quality from 170 Mb to 60 Mb – does not reach the end of upload.

    1. Luca Leone says:

      for what I saw the upload has a timeout.
      I tried with a 25MB file and it works (I have 0.85mbps in upload)
      good luck 😉

  10. Ali Mirabdollahi Shams says:

    I have also tried a few times and video uploading failed in middle, then i looked for jQuery connections in developer mode and i found it seemed session is expired. I found a request by jQuery at the beginning of uploading and i tried again to upload but i also replay that request named MetaData or … every my connection to be sure then i could upload my video finally.
    I think it caused to refresh the session.

  11. shashank jain says:

    Phew…..Uploaded the video on at 4:30 in the morning of 25th confused by the date discrepancy……..

  12. shashank jain says:

    Phew…..Uploaded the video on at 4:30 in the morning of 25th confused by the date discrepancy……..

  13. Ananya Sharma says:

    was the deadline 11:59 GMT or 23:59 GMT? cause for all other competitions the dates show 23:59 at some places and 11:59 at others..this was very would be a great relief if you would consider this discrepancy too

  14. Ananya Sharma says:

    and it failed even according to the GMT time.. which gaves us 5 hours and 30 minutes after 11:59 according to IST time


    oh well


    mmm I do not whay, but I don not have the option to register my team to the contest 🙁 :'(

  17. Oraldo Hoxhallari says:

    I thought we had time till 23:59 PM …..can I submit my video in another place cause I have worked a lot for this video an I was at school today at 11:59

    Please contact me in email: for a response

  18. Mariglen Q says:

    Good luck everyone!!!!!

  19. hammad qureshi says:

    Submission form is not working properly, we can’t upload our video in that way, kindly make some corrections in that form

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