Startup Success: The Pros and Cons of Regular Pitching Competition Participation

Cristianto Rian Tarra
4 min readOct 6, 2018

Many new startup founders in Indonesia make a common mistake of dedicating their entire lives to participating in pitching competitions and feeling like they are on top of the world when they win. However, they often forget that their success is grounded on the earth and they need to focus on building a sustainable business.

Some startup founders may achieve success in pitching competitions, but it is ridiculous for a startup that comprises of creative young individuals to solely rely on winning these competitions. In reality, we are already in a business competition that is constantly ongoing, regardless of whether or not we participate in pitching competitions. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook did not achieve their success overnight or by winning pitching competitions alone.

Just two or three years ago, companies like Tokopedia, Traveloka, Bukalapak, and Gojek were not as well-known in Indonesia, yet today they are among the biggest unicorn companies in the country, despite having an average company age of just ten years.

Anyone who claims that success is easy and can be achieved instantly is likely unsuccessful themselves and unable to prove their claim. It is best to disregard such claims, as they are baseless. Instead, ask yourself whether you want to solely win pitching competitions or become successful in the ongoing real business competition.

However, it is not necessarily wrong to include winning pitching competitions as one of your company strategies. As the boss of your company, it is your right to make such decisions without anyone else managing you.

I used to participate in pitching competitions frequently and won and lost several times. However, I found that the feedback from the judges was often inconsistent. In one competition, a jury member might provide feedback A, while in another competition, a different jury member might suggest feedback Z. This left me confused about which feedback was the best to follow. I realized that some judges only give feedback to appear knowledgeable, but they may not necessarily…

Cristianto Rian Tarra

Tech entrepreneur and IT leader. Focusing on tech solutions and leadership for business growth. Sharing insights on Medium.