On the new streaming show Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, founders step into the Entrepreneur Elevator and have just 60 seconds to present their idea, product or business to a panel of investors. Whether an entrepreneur gets invited into the boardroom or sent back to the ground floor depends on what our experts think in that first minute. Each week we’ll dissect what any entrepreneur can learn from these contestants’ winning — or losing — pitches.
What do women want? For Al Linke, the inventor of the Cat Clutch, the answer to that question is handbags. That’s why he made one that can be customized through technology: dozens of designs, one bag.
“I came up with this idea because my wife spends a lot of money on handbags,” Linke tells the Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch investors. “So I figured, if I could make her a bag that she could customize, she’d buy less bags, I’d save myself some cash.”
The Cat Clutch has an LED-covered exterior, on which users can display various images or messages, all with just a few taps in an app. Inside, the bag features a built-in charger to keep phones powered — and the bag’s design updated. Linke sold out his first run of bags, so he felt confident that there would be lots of ladies, even celebrities, out there eager to carry one of their own.
Despite his ability to convey the bag’s potential, much of Linke’s pitch is based on assumption, rather than sound market research. The flashy clutch sells for $450, a price tag targeting affluent women. As the show’s female judges contend, wealthy, influential ladies can afford multiple designer handbags and would find the Cat Clutch tacky by comparison.
The Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch investors know the importance of a target audience and market. Back up your intuition with research before you pitch: Don’t make Linke’s mistake and end up back in the lobby empty-handed.
Hear the investors’ skeptical thoughts on the Cat Clutch in the fifth episode of Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch (above).
Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch streams Wednesdays on Entrepreneur.com starting September 20. Aspiring entrepreneurs, be sure to check back for details on applying to season 2. For those who think they’ve seen the next million-dollar idea on the show, head to Indiegogo to become an early supporter and help the featured entrepreneurs bring their projects to life.