As a fellow in Halcyon’s first-ever Halcyon Incubator in 2014, Perfectly Pitched founder Heather Lawver discovered she had a superpower.
At the time, she saw how founders would often hire a business strategist for content, a copywriter for the story and a graphic designer for the pitch deck. The result tended to be fragmented and expensive. So, she helped her fellow founders create pitch decks catered to investors that told their companies’ stories in a cohesive, seamless way.
The Halcyon team saw Lawver’s talent in connecting all the pieces, as well as creating beautiful and effective pitch decks, and encouraged Lawver to turn it into a company. The Georgetown incubator’s staffers even hired her to create classes and work with its Opportunity Intensive founders.
But even with Halcyon’s encouragement, though, Lawver still had doubts about whether she could turn the idea into a company.
“I kept telling myself I wasn’t qualified,” Lawver told Technical.ly.
But in 2021, she took the plunge by founding the Sterling, Virginia-based Perfectly Pitched, which helps startups tell their stories to investors. The two-person company assists early-stage founders with branding, marketing, public speaking and pitch decks when seeking funding.
Last month, Technical.ly recognized Perfectly Pitched as one of its 2023 RealLIST Startups honorable mentions. This spring, Lawver and Perfectly Pitched will take part in the Techstars Atlanta accelerator program, which will help the company as it builds out its new automated pitching product.
A few years later, Lawver’s become more confident in her ability to help founders. She said she finally became convinced of her talent and qualifications when the founders she was working with started winning major pitch competitions — including those sponsored by South by Southwest, Consumer Electronics Showcase, TechCrunch and the United Nations. To date, Perfectly Pitched has claimed to help founders raise $14 million in capital, with 97% of those founders coming from underrepresented backgrounds.
Working with underrepresented founders is a particular passion of Lawver’s, since she’s experienced aspects of the struggle herself. She attests to some investors telling her she was very impressive, but that she needed to find a male cofounder. One investor even said that because she is immunocompromised and experiences chronic pain, she had no business running a company.
But for Lawver, living with a disability helped her build tons of resilience, determination and creativity in problem-solving; she hopes that Perfectly Pitched can help founders with similar experiences.
“[Perfectly Pitched] is working, especially, for those with the odds stacked against them,” Lawver said.
Otherwise, Lawler has a few big plans for her startup in 2023. Perfectly Pitched is currently working with a development firm to create an AI-based pitching product — something Lawver realized was needed after she was at capacity but still had founders seeking her help. She added that she hopes Perfectly Pitched’s participation in the Techstars Atlanta cohort will give it additional credibility with investors and help fund the startup’s new minimum viable product. With the AI platform, founders will answer a survey that prompts an algorithm to create a logo, letterhead, color scheme and pitch decks.
“We developed algorithms and frameworks to fully automate pitching, branding and marketing for early-stage startups,” Lawver said.
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