Pitch Workshop

“Within the first 8 words, I’ve decided whether or not to keep listening.” That’s venture capitalist David Wells of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and that’s what he told Allison M. Shapira of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Communication Program about what he’s thinking when he hears a start-up pitch.— Boston Globe, February 9, 2012

Honing your pitch to venture capitalists is crucial. QB3 partners with presentation coaches who can help you tell the story that VCs want to hear—and hook them with those first eight words.

This fall we will be having our very first pitch workshop. We have invited very experienced investors and entrepreneurs to share their lessons with you about how to make your pitch polished and investable. We are also excited to be bringing a slide design expert to talk about how to build slides that maximize the efficiency of your pitch.

This workshop will be extremely interactive; you will get personalized feedback on content, format, and delivery of your pitch. To maximize personalized learning, we are admitting only 12 teams to the class this time. Please see below for application instructions and make sure to apply before Sept. 15 at midnight.

The course will consist of seven weekly 3-hour sessions from Wednesday, October 8th to Wednesday, November 19th from 5 – 8 PM at UCSF Mission Bay. Additionally, there will be a final presentation on December 10th in which the judges’ and audience’s pick for best pitch will win a cash prize. Please make sure you are available to attend in person every session. Besides class time, we expect you to invest 5-8 hours preparing your material for each class (but this is all for your pitch, so it IS an investment!).

We are looking for teams that are deeply committed to improving their decks. Selection criteria are focused on traits that suggest that you will do this. Preference will be given to QB3 Startup in a Box and Incubator companies.

QB3 Pitch Workshop Application Criteria

We are looking for life science startups that are seriously looking for capital. For this reason, please make sure you fulfill the following criteria prior to your application.

  1. You must already have an incorporated company
  2. Your company must have a good sense of what it wants to do (note that this is not a class for exploring business models, it’s about raising capital).
  3. You shouldn’t have raised more than $3M from private investors (otherwise, do you really need this workshop?)
  4. At least one member of your team must be present in person for all sessions. Sessions will take place at UCSF Mission Bay. Given the highly interactive format of this workshop, we can only admit 12 teams, so out of respect for your fellow applicants, please don’t apply if your team cannot be represented at all sessions.

To apply, please submit:

  1. The application questionnaire
  2. Your company’s executive summary (See this link for an executive summary template with the key information to include). Maximum 2 pages.
  3. Your company’s pitch deck (if the file is too large to attach to the survey, please email it to adriana.tajonar@qb3.org)

Applications must be submitted by Sept. 15 at midnight. Selected teams will be notified by Sept. 16. Please save September 19 for an interview in which you will be asked to give a 10 min pitch in front of Doug Crawford and Adriana Tajonar. More details will be sent to selected teams.

The cost of the class will be $250 per QB3 team or $750 for non-QB3 affiliated teams.

Class details


Douglas Crawford, PhD. Associate Director at QB3, Managing Partner at Mission Bay Capital, and Managing Director at QB3@953

Adriana Tajonar, PhD. Entrepreneurship Program Manager at QB3, Partner at Mission Bay Capital

Invited Speakers

Jan Schultink, CEO of Idea Transplant

Sean George, COO of Invitae

Karen Boezi, CEO of Redwood Bioscience

Allan May, Chairman, Treasurer and Founder of Life Science Angels and Managing Partner at Emergent Medical Partners

Chris Haskell, Head of the US Science Hub for Bayer Healthcare

Steve Turner, Founder and CTO of Pacific Biosciences

Dan Widmaier, CEO of Refactored Materials

Corey Goodman, Managing Partner at venBio

Class dates

Workshops: October 8, October 15, October 22, October 29, November 5, November 12, November 19

Final showcase: December 10