How to Write

Your 10-Second Elevator Pitch

Describe your company in the simplest words possible, such that a very smart ten-year-old would understand what you do.

What's the purpose of your 10-second elevator pitch?

Your 10-second elevator pitch describes your company in 3-7 of the simplest words possible, such that a very smart ten-year-old would understand what you do.

This one-liner gives investors their first impression of your company. If your elevator pitch doesn't makes sense immediately after reading it, then investors won't be interested in learning more.

A great elevator pitch is ruthlessly clear, simple, and inviting. You'll know you've done your job well if other people describe your company using the same words you picked for your elevator pitch.

You want to explain what you do in the simplest language possible. This needs to be predigested. Your elevator pitch should be like baby food.
—Michael Seibel, “How to Pitch Your Company”

Here are some examples:

Whether you lead with exactly what your product is, the benefit for your users, or a helpful comparison, you should focus on making that sliver of your story crystal clear to understand.

Don't feel like you need to cram in everything about your company. Just give readers a dead-simple entry point.

Maximum 80 chars (approx. 3-7 words)

Good Pitch, Bad Pitch: Check for these mistakes


Could you simplify it further? No, really—we belabor this point because it's harder than it sounds. Keep iterating until you can't replace a single word with a clearer and simpler alternative.

Do This

”We deliver groceries to customers in their homes.”¹

Every word has a reason to be in this elevator pitch.

Not That

“We are a next-generation, AI-based resolver of grocery needs”

A human wouldn't speak like this in everyday conversation.


Are you using industry jargon? Not everyone is in SaaS, or knows bioengineering, or understands the business of food & beverage. If you're using industry-specific terms, find new ways to say the same thing so that industry outsiders understand as well.

Do This

“Curing cancer in dogs”²

Advanced technology, but a simple elevator pitch. The clarity and emotional appeal of this pitch captures the curiosity of a broad audience.

Not That

“Cost-effective CAR-T cell therapy for dogs”

Accurate but less accessible to the broader Wefunder audience that would otherwise be interested.


Say it out loud. Are you talking like a human would? If you can't picture a real person using these words to describe your company to another person in a bar, then keep working on it. Nix words that are high in character count but low in meaning like disrupting, revolutionizing, groundbreaking, and innovative.

Do This

”Portable personal gym that fits in a suitcase”

Simple and specific; tells you exactly what the product does.

Not That

”Innovative home fitness equipment. Budget & storage friendly”

How exactly is it innovative?


Test your readability: Copy and paste your tagline ideas into a readability checker (like Readable) to see what grade level they score. Readability scores aren't everything, but they can help point you in the right direction. Aim to score at a 7th grade level or below.

Do This

”Book rooms with locals rather than hotels”³

4th grade readability

Not That

”A revolutionary booking platform set to overtake the failing hotel industry”

14th grade readability


Remove your company name. It already shows up on your company card.

Do This

“Angel investing for everyone”

Not That

”Wefunder is bringing angel investing to everyone”


Remove extra metrics. Describe only what you do. Your metrics and stats get their moment to shine in your Highlights section.

Do This

“Portable camp stove for cats”

Not That

”Portable camp stove for cats. 40% MoM Growth!”

Test your elevator pitch by asking for feedback

Write your 10-second elevator pitch in an email or text to a friend who doesn’t know what you do. Then ask them to write what your company does in their own words.

Make sure you do this over email or text, because you’re testing the written version of your pitch. If your friend needs to ask clarifying questions, then keep working on it.

Hey {friend's name},

Testing our one-liner before we start fundraising with it:

{Company name} is {10-second elevator pitch}.

Could you write back in your own words what you think my company does? Thanks!

Extra Resources:

Extra Tools:


  1. This example comes from YC’s “Guide to Demo Day Presentations” by Geoff Ralston.
  2. This elevator pitch comes from LEAH Labs' Wefunder pitch.
  3. This is the 1-liner from Airbnb’s pitch deck in 2009, when it raised $600,000 from Sequoia Capital.
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