Oslo’s LIFT puts on true elevator pitching competition

This last Thursday the first LIFT Nordic event was held in Oslo. Lift is a real time elevator pitch competition. Participants step into an elevator rigged with hidden cameras and an investor, and on the ride to the top have to convince them they are worth their time. If the investor is not interested in doing follow-up questions they step out of the lift, leaving the entrepreneur to take it to the top floor by themselves. If they are interested the investor invites the pitcher out for follow up questions. “With LIFT we aim to bring the message of aspiring entrepreneurs to the public, and the same time help create real deal flow between investors and startups” says Tor Grønsund of Lingopr.com, one of LIFT’s co-creators.

The first event was a test in DNB’s offices in swanky Bjørvika, and the pitching took place in a 45 degree angled lift to the top. Slower than a normal elevator, the pitchers had 13 floor, or one minute and forty seconds to pitch while trying to not be distracted by the views of Oslo passing by them outside the window.

The participating companies were Capsule.fm, Blink, Edgefolio, mYouTime, confr.com, InstrumentChamp, Feat.fm and appear.in, the investors were from Schibsted Growth, Creandum, Betafactory, and Eilert Hanoa. The price was a five day VIP tech tour to Tel Aviv and the DLD Conference in September, provided by the Embassy of Israel in Oslo. Invited to witness was a select group from the Oslo startup scene, while the event had also been liberally promoted on twitter through the new #siliconfjord hashtag.

Although the event was hampered by technical problems, there was very little sound between the lift and where the rest of us were watching on TV, it did not in the slightest dampen the mood of the assembled group. The group was mostly made up of former and current entrepreneurs, a group who seemed to have an absolute understanding of technical issues on first attemps. As the pitchers were done they came into the room and gave us a rundown, with a couple of follow up questions. Only one entrepreneur did not get the investor interested enough to not get follow up questions, with the rest coming in with beaming smiles.