Introducing A New TechCrunch Video Project: Elevator Pitches

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We get a ton of pitches at TechCrunch every single day. It is a deluge we can hardly keep up with. Some are amusing, some are horrible, and a select few rise to the level of deserving a post. The large majority, though, never see the light of day. We thought: Why not let startups connect directly with our audience, and let the audience decide which ideas are worthy and which ones are not?

So today we are launching a little video project here at TechCrunch called Elevator Pitches. The premise is pretty simple: Startup founders and CEOs give us a 60-second video pitch about their companies, and our audience (that would be you) votes them up or down. You can think of it as a YouTube for elevator pitches (and, in fact, we are hosting the videos on YouTube and simply embedding them on the site).

I’ve hinted at this project before, but earlier today I spilled the beans at a panel I was on at NYU for Internet Week. Update: Allen Stern of CenterNetworks, who attended the panel, posted this clip on YouTube of me making the announcement:

This is very much a bare-bones beta, and we plan on adding more features and videos as we go. There are about 30 videos right now that we’ve captured at TechCrunch events. Some standouts include ones from Creative Citizen, Kongregate, Meebo, Netvibes, ProductWiki, Ribbit, SmugMug, Songza, and Ugobe. I’ve embedded two of them below.

Please tell us what you like and what you’d like to see. As we get more submissions, we’ll be highlighting the highest-ranked pitches on TechCrunch on a regular basis.

For startups who want to get on the site, right now the easiest way to submit a pitch is to upload a video no longer than 60 seconds to YouTube, Blip.tv or your favorite video-sharing site, tag it “tcpitch,” and send us an email to pitches[at]techcrunch[dot]com telling us where to find it. (Don’t worry, this process will be automated soon). We will also continue to videotape pitches at TechCrunch MeetUps and conferences.

Currently, we are only accepting pitches from CEOs or founders of existing startups and creative non-profits. The pitch should convey both what your startup’s product does and how you plan to make money. (More details here). Eventually, we’ll open it up to anyone who wants to pitch an idea and get feedback, even ones that are only at a conceptual phase.

This has been a pet project of mine for a few months, but it would have never happened without the work of several collaborators. To give the videos a consistent look and feel, BeFunky is putting them through a pre-release version of its Video Cartoonizer. The video editing was done by Lee Cummings. Brian Solis and his camera crew at bub.blicio.us also shot some of the videos for us. Our own Mark Hendrickson designed the site, and our developers Mark McGranaghan and Henry Work did the back-end work in their spare time. The site is built on Ruby on Rails.

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