Eventbrite chief executive Julia Hartz: Why startups should pitch their project like a TV show

Julia Hartz, CEO Eventbrite. Source: Supplied.

Chief executive of billion-dollar ticketing platform Eventbrite, Julia Hartz, says startup founders need only look to reality TV show Jackass when honing the perfect pitch.

Before co-founding Eventbrite with husband Kevin Hartz in 2006, Hartz started her career in series co-ordination for MTV, and says whether you’re pitching a TV show or a new business venture, the principles remain the same.

“The best pitches we had were the ones where they had shot a pilot, for instance, a show called Jackass on MTV. [It’s] about a live product,” she told StartupSmart when in Melbourne last week.

“I was an intern at MTV when Jackass sent their pilot take in. Most of the material from the pilot they’d shot on their own dime, so akin to bootstrapping, and we used it for the first episode and some if it we used for the first movie,” Hartz explains.

Read more: Eventbrite chief executive Julia Hartz explains what you do once you’ve built a billion-dollar company

In the same way that a TV network wants to see evidence of an idea in action before committing, investors are increasingly impatient to see a completed product before signing on.

Luckily, Hartz says what she’s seen so far of the Australian startup community suggests local entrepreneurs usually come to the table with evidence of success.

“I met with a group of entrepreneurs at a Tech Sydney event a couple of nights ago and had dinner with a few, and what I noticed was that everyone had something they could show for their efforts,” she says.

“I do think that takes a high degree of risk taking, as well as hard work.”

Hartz took over from her husband as chief executive of the Eventbrite business in 2016, and he now acts as a venture capitalist full time.

Startup founders need to understand VCs are aiming to say “no” faster and faster, she says.

“We talk about how important it is to say no quickly. It’s almost as important as saying yes, or investing.”

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