Product and passion prove a winning Pitch Fest formula
As Kara Landau winged her way to Sydney, she couldn’t have imagined where the next few days would lead. The 31-year-old entrepreneurial dietitian was flying in to present on prebiotics and trends in the global food industry, as well as launch her new product, at the 2018 Naturally Good Business Summit Pitch Fest.
Landau decided to go “all-in”, and grabbed the opportunity to pitch her company – Uplift Food – at Naturally Good Business Summit’s inaugural Pitch Fest. As one of five finalists, she was able to share her vision in a Shark Tank-style scenario, before a panel of industry-leading judges.
Her passion – and her product – proved to be the winning formula, netting Landau a prize package valued at more than $10,000.
Psychobiotics – nutrients for mental health
Landau’s Uplift Food uses gut-healthy nutrients to support mental health. The ingredients are incorporated in a range of food and beverage products that are easily used in today’s busy world.
“By focusing on prebiotics – the fuel for the probiotics – the nutritional and health benefits stretch far and wide,” explains Landau, who hails from Melbourne and is now based in the US.
“By starting with a functional powder that is allergen-free, contains whole-food nutrients, and provides significant doses of ingredients shown to have a bifidogenic (promoting the growth of good bacteria) effect, Uplift Food sets itself apart …with a unique and authentic health-promoting message.”
Preparing to pitch
Landau knew she had an innovative product, and had already been invited to pitch at Food-X – the leading global food accelerator in New York City.
Having begun creating, refining and practicing her pitch, Naturally Good’s Pitch Fest was a perfect opportunity for Landau to put Uplift Food before a valuable audience.
It was also a chance to refine her presentation skills. While she was excited, she admits to having jittery hands. “It truly does not matter how seasoned a presenter you are,” she says. “I would take a guess that those unconscious or uncontrollable shakes are natural and almost innate to us all.”
Landau’s winning tips for pitching your product
Despite nerves, Landau says pitching does get easier. “I know presenting – and in particular, pitching – can be daunting to many, but the more you do it, the more you feel comfortable and clear in your messaging,” she says. “This confidence shines through so that others believe in – and want to get behind – your vision.”
Landau recommends practice beforehand to build this confidence and clarity in your message. She practised pitching before a group of investors and fellow entrepreneurs.
On the day, however, she didn’t do any preparation. “I felt at this stage I was best just getting up and speaking from the heart and to my core messages.”
While practise helps, belief in yourself and your product is paramount, Landau says. “You must confidently and authentically believe in your company, yourself, and your message in order to get others to believe in it too.”
Pitching for a better business future
Landau is confident her involvement in Pitch Fest was a business-savvy decision. “The pitch practise both helps build confidence in my ability to present the valuable offer my business offers to investors in the near future…[and] helps confirm I am on the right track with my incremental growth strategy.”
Pitching also provided valuable networking opportunities. “By putting yourself out there you enable others to find you,” she says.
These opportunities included getting invaluable advice from the Pitch Fest judges. “They confirmed what I had been told by others – that in order to execute the vision, I am going to need assistance by bringing on others with complementary expertise.”
“I agree with them, and have since found the guru I was holding out for who specialises in digital marketing and ecommerce health food businesses.”
And to anyone thinking about giving Pitch Fest a go next year, Landau has this advice: “Being involved with the Naturally Good Expo and the business summit Pitch Fest was well worth the jet lag, expense, and time to fly across from the USA, the shaking hand on the stage, and the energy taken to refine the pitch,” she says.
“It both excelled the introduction of Uplift Food’s Daily Uplifter to a global audience, as well as instilled the confidence in me that my vision for the brand was clear and equally of value to others.”
Pitch Fest will return in 2019, stay tuned for more information later this year. You can also view the five finalists from the 2018 Pitch Fest. Alternatively, find our more about the latest industry trends at the 2019 Naturally Good expo on the 2-3 June at ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour.