Project Lakshmi

Here is my elevator pitch for my (fictitious) business venture:

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The complete presentation can be viewed:


1 Ian Doktor { 11.30.09 at 6:53 pm }

This sounds like a great idea. But I’m not sure that as an EVA I would want to be involved in a non-profit venture. However, you might appeal to the humanitarian side of people. On those grounds alone I’d be supportive. But from a venture point of view I’m not sure if it would get a lot of attention.

I was also amusd, when you were talking about the laborious and tedious work of child labourers, I couldn’t help but think of my own job while marking papers…..

2 jennie wong { 11.30.09 at 6:56 pm }


Excellent elevator pitch. Not too long and not too short and just enough to get me interested to watch the entire presentation. I enjoyed the graphics and the words you chose were so appropriate for each graphic.

It was so interesting that I watched the entire presentation anyhow.

Fabulous work !!!

3 Erik Van Dusen { 11.30.09 at 7:58 pm }

Hi Liz,

Great work on your venture pitch. Viewing a non-profit pitch was refreshing and if your goal was to tug at the hearts of your audience, you certainly succeeded.

Just wondering whether you are looking for a small number of investors to fund your venture or if you’re opening things up to many investors by way of small donations?

As a greedy EVA, I personally would not be interested in throwing my money at this non-profit venture unless of course there was something more in it for me. Maybe a chance for some shameless advertising or an opportunity for a strategic partnership down the road.


4 Cari Wilson { 11.30.09 at 8:19 pm }

Hi Liz,

Great idea, from a humanitarian standpoint, and I thought you did an admirable job in assembling your ideas and creating both the long and short pitch!

I’m going to play devil’s advocate, a bit (hope that’s ok!) You talk about working with 30 students the first year. At a start up cost of $165,00, that’s $5,500 invested in each child. Only $6,000 of that is rollover costs (the laptops). Your other costs will have to be paid again the next year. One other non-profit’s estimated cost of educating a child in India is $10 a month (, which is considerably cheaper than your estimate. Without any guesstimate on ROI, the costs seem steep to me.

As an investor looking to make money, how do I benefit from investing in your venture (other than the warm feeling inside of doing good)? Do you have a plan for moving forward? How do you envisage the growth of the organization? Do you plan to involve the Indian Education Ministry at some point?

By the way, I love your slogan “Change a life and change the world”! Very catchy and memorable! Again, I though your pitches were well done, but as an investor, I’m out.

5 Tony D { 11.30.09 at 9:43 pm }

Hi Liz

another very altruistic venture, your heart is certainly in the right place. I am not sure if I understand exactly what lakshmi is offering to students? Are they educated through their the one laptop per child program? What is the learning service that is provided to the students? Also what if the students still don’t take part in their studies and continue to go to work? I may have just missed those points in your presentation. Still a worthy cause from a humanistic point of view best of luck!

6 dockat { 12.01.09 at 9:59 am }

Hi Liz, it seems like a very good humanitarian venture. As an EVA, what would an investor receive for the investment? Would you be proposing to local investors ? Your pre-pitch has left me with questions I would love to see answered…Kathleen

7 Iris Chan { 12.02.09 at 12:51 am }

Perhaps as an EVA, I could combine this humanitarian venture with one that is for profit. As costs are something that would be considered, it would be interesting to find out more about your venture. The message to change the world is a very strategic technique of persuasion and the baby images are very effective in capturing my attention.

8 Noah Burdett { 12.02.09 at 8:34 pm }

Hi Liz,

One can tell that you have a true desire to break the poverty child labour cycle. After reading a few of the comments and watching your full pitch and examining the numbers I think that you face a huge obstacle as the majority of the money is going to go towards the people involved in the project and not directly to the students.

50,000 for a technical retainer in the US when India is a growing computer giant seems very expensive. I also have a question about the education, it seems from the video that the lap top would be used to create patterns for the textile industry or does it go beyond that? Would they be sold to the textile companies? If so I can see how the idea takes on a more complex and EVA esque format. Could you train teachers in India as to how to use the program and have them go out and train others and save the money of having you there permanently?

However, as it is right now I think that there are other charities that would receive my donations. I would not give up on your ideas, but I think most investors or investors as contributors are going to want their money to go to the kids and not the people running the charity.

I’m sorry I’m Out…

9 Amy Frank { 12.02.09 at 8:37 pm }

Hi Liz,
Great video. It definitely caught my attention. I am also 35 weeks pregnant and this type of marketing really pulls at my emotions. However, I tend to agree with some of the posts regarding investment benefits. This type of pitch is so brilliant, yet overlooked because most investors want to make money. I wonder if you could target groups looking to benefit from tax breaks and those wanting to add a charitable organization to their portfolio. I love the slogan as well!

10 Colin Cheng { 12.04.09 at 2:55 pm }


Thank you for taking the time to pitch you business venture. From my understanding of the assignment, I am now to decide solely from your elevator pitch, whether this is a venture that I would like to delve further into. As I only have three out of ten proposals to select from, it is unfortunate that I will have to pass on this venture for the following reasons:

* as many others have already pointed out, your pitch made excellent use of the alloted time that was given; by the end of the pitch, I was “sold” on the plight of current affairs in India but I had no idea what it was that you were proposing (i.e. what product were you selling?)
* had I have been representing the UN or some other NGO seeking to partner up with a humanitarian cause, I would have been sold. However, as a business venture, I would be hard pressed to invest money into something that did not promise a solid return on my investment

11 Eveline Yu { 12.04.09 at 7:26 pm }

Hi Liz,

I love where your pitch is going and from the other comments, I see that you did an excellent job with the longer venture pitch. However, as an EVA, although I am impressed that you kept to the time limit in your elevator pitch (omg – I know how hard that is), the information you provided did not attract me enough to want to invest. Actually, I am unsure of what I will be investing in (after watching this pre-pitch 3 times) I love the slides (effective for emotional appeal) and the slogan “change a life and change the world” – but not enough to delve further.
As an EVA, I would have to say “no” to this investment.

As a colleague, I would like to say thank you for sharing your hard work with us!

12 Barrie Carter { 12.04.09 at 7:58 pm }

Hello Liz:

Non-profit usually means ‘No profit’. If I were a wealthy philanthropist, I would be interested in such an endeavour, for it is noble and right.

However, as an investor — a venture capitalist — I would be concerned about my ROI in dollars, not in heartstrings.

That said, I cannot help but admit that I was quite emotional during and after the venture presentation, for it did have an emotional impact on me as a person.

I suppose that one way to market this venture is to invite celebrities (e.g. singers, professional athletes, actors, etc) to pitch your venture to the world. Just like ‘Product Red’, Bono appearances on HIV/AIDS, anti-poverty TV campaigns hosted by celebrities, and many other humanitarian causes/ventures, Project Lakshmi could become a worldwide phenomenon. However, until then, I would have to sit on the sidelines.

Lastly, please know that there are many TEDTalks presenters who invite business leaders and entrepreneurs to invest in certain developing countries. As such, there is great potential in this market.



13 Jay Dixon { 12.05.09 at 8:34 am }

Hi Liz,
Your brief video without a doubt caught my interest. I wished for more. As the many posts above mention this is a valuable and thoughtful pitch. The expense breakdown was a good idea to provide. As a non profit pitch I would also focus on the potential returns and possible tax breaks. If this is something that you try to put into place for real I wish you the best this is an excellent idea!

14 Liz Hood { 12.05.09 at 1:33 pm }

Thanks so much for the great comments and suggestions. Several mentioned emphasizing the nonprofit status and possible tax breaks which I agree should be perhaps more notable in the pitch. Noah, you make a good point about money for the tech support guy; however, I was unsure of the reliability of trying to outsource that to India…however as an entity attempting to break the poverty cycle in India, that is a great point. Tony, you have some great questions which I actually am not sure can be answered until the program is actually piloted. Some certainly may choose to work instead…its hard to break generational cycles. Lots of food for thought from everyone’s comments…

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