Jay jacksonrao

Podcast entrepreneur gives an honest talk on pitching

Anyone interested in entrepreneurship knows, at some point or another, they’ll have to pitch their idea to possible investors. But pitching can be tricky, not to mention stressful.

“It takes time to capture an audience, tell them what you do, why they should give you money,” said Jay Jacksonrao, founder and CEO of TNP Studios, “[So] pitching is incredibly important.”

Jacksonrao, who spoke at this week’s Entrepreneurship Unplugged, knows this first hand. When first exploring the idea of starting a for-profit podcast, Jacksonrao decided to enter the MICA Up/Start Venture Competition in Baltimore. He wasn’t a pitching wizard at that point, but through the competition, he learned how to pitch successfully.

“There’s nothing you can’t do if you [work hard] and have a good Spotify playlist.”

“[And] through a lot of work, a lot of work,” he said, “I was able to win.”

Using the cash he won from the competition, Jacksonrao created TNP Studio. Since 2011 it has taken off, most recently growing at an average of 17% to 18% quarter over quarter. The studio produces a variety of podcasts and is currently streaming in over 180 different countries worldwide.

During his talk, Jacksonrao emphasized to students that learning how to pitch well can be the deciding factor on whether you can secure funding or not.

“You have to feel like you’re natural when you’re up there,” he said, “Capture your audience and show them that you have done you research and know what you’re talking about.”

“When you write that pitch, when you practice it over and over again … never memorize it word for word,” Jacksonrao warned. If you do it that way “and miss a word, everything falls apart. But if you change words every time, you get the flow of it. … It is good to be able to speak in a way that allows you to be a little more fluid,” especially if you may have to “change things up on the fly.”

Entrepreneurship is “hectic, insane, and frustrating,” said Jacksonrao, “But it can [also] be rewarding.”

“Sometimes your competition seems insurmountable,” he added. “[But] there’s nothing you can’t do if you [work hard] and have a good Spotify playlist.”