Can You Pitch as Good as an 8th Grader?

Brooke Yoakam is the youngest participant in Concept Academy. She was also the youngest to pitch at Rev1’s Fall 2015 Demo Day. Brooke is in the eighth grade.

We had the privilege of working with her through Concept Academy on her startup, GiftPocket. Her venture advisor team was tapped to help her prepare for Demo Day.

We’re confident that Brooke would say she learned some things from us, here are just a few of things we learned and relearned from her.

  1. Believe in yourself. On stage, Brooke, she was completely relaxed. She was prepared, and she knew it. She spoke directly to her audience. She was authentic. She believed in herself and her audience believed in her too. Now she has an arsenal of people rooting for her, who believe in what she can accomplish.
  1. Believe in what you are saying. Tell the truth. Brooke’s presentation flowed from her natural experience; she was able to look beyond the momentary glory of a well-done presentation and into the future of how GiftPocket could impact the market.
  1. Believe in the journey. Brooke looked at Demo Day as an experience to prepare her for more amazing things to come—as an incredible learning opportunity, a runway. Her attitude reminded us that we all have runway—sometimes more than we think or feel.
  1. Know your stuff. Brooke worked hard at memorizing her script and making sure that her presentation fit her and what she would ordinarily say. She practiced with us no less than dozens of times.
  1. Be coachable. Several of the adult entrepreneurs prepping for Demo Day would argue points. Brooke listened, took information in, thought about it and made adjustments. She knew when something was right for her, and when it wasn’t. This gave her a significant edge. Often flexibility diminishes with age, but it doesn’t have to.
  1. Be 13, even if you’re not. Entrepreneurs push themselves—and those of us working with and investing in them push them, too. After 45 minutes or an hour, Brooke needed a break from practicing her pitch. We would listen to music or get up and dance. Or take a pause and talk about life. Enough said.
  1. Keep commitments. Email is different for eighth graders. They aren’t on it 24/7 like adults. In fact, they aren’t on it much at all; they Snapchat or maybe text. Brooke goes to school, soccer, and cheerleading. Her days are packed. She adapted to our ways of scheduling while minding calendar integrity. If she accepted a meeting, she made that meeting. Otherwise, she said no.
  1. Have fun. Brooke was joyful about this presentation and about the opportunity for GiftPocket. She is far from a child, but she had a child-like wonder and enthusiasm. When she stepped on the stage, she owned it—putting the audience right in her “GiftPocket.”
  1. Know your resources and use them well. Brooke participated after school in Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA). She attended Concept Academy. Her parents, grampa, and uncle are all entrepreneurs. She listens to them. And now she has the resources of Rev1 on her team.

Rev1 is inclusive. We don’t care how young or old entrepreneurs are. Whether in the eighth grade or starting a fiftieth venture, Rev1 shares what we’ve learned to make it easier for entrepreneurs in Central Ohio to start companies.

And we keep finding out, it that the outstanding entrepreneurs—folks like Brooke—have plenty of their own learning to share right back.

Watch Brooke’s presentation here.

Contact us to find out how Rev1 can help you start your advanced technology company.