Pitching your early stage technology company to tech titans

If you have a “team and a dream

If you have a “team and a dream” and “vision appeal,” Gerard M. Mooney IBM CHQ, Marketing VP Corporate Strategy, Emerging Business Opportunities and Jim O’Connor, Motorola, Inc., Vice President and General Manager, Early Stage Accelerator, may want to hear from you.

Mooney and O’Connor traded insider tips on how to attract their attention at an American Venture Network panel in New York City last evening, “Building Customers Before Investors.” Venture capitalists Jeanne M. Sullivan, StarVest Capital, Founding Partner and Robert Plotkin, Terrapin Partners, Founding Patner also weighed in on how to perfect a start-up pitch.


As the key point man for IBM Emerging Business Opportunities, Mooney reaches out to  a network of 120 venture capital firms worldwide and works with thousands of technology start-ups through the IBM partner program.


O’Connor drives strategies for innovative commercialization of new technologies at Motorola by fostering development of disruptive technologies from within and through selective investment in early stage companies.

While Mooney and O’Connor are looking for start-ups on the fast track, there is no fast-track way to get their attention. At Motorola, start-up pitches submitted directly to CEO Edward Zander are unceremoniously redirected and IBM has well established developer relations and partner organization procedures. Pitches presented by respected VCs, however, are often considered. Early stage companies referred by client companies are also well received.

Once in the door, both Mooney and O’Connor concurred on the most important criteria for consideration:

  • Early commercial development of product or application
  • Market relevance and customer traction
  • Compatibility with platforms and networks
  • Management team with domain expertise