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 know if their input will lead to success.

Eventually, I learned that the best way to improve my startup was to find a good mentor who could guide me in correcting mistakes and achieving success in the future. By learning from past mistakes and seeking guidance from experienced individuals, I was able to make improvements for the betterment of my startup.

To build a successful company, it is essential to work hard every day to complete the mission and achieve the company’s vision. This involves correcting mistakes, creating effective plans, hiring the best people, taking responsibility, and maintaining focus. There are no shortcuts to success, so putting in the effort is crucial.

While winning competitions can be satisfying, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal of a startup is to generate profit. Many successful people have achieved their goals without receiving widespread recognition. Instead, they focused on building a solid foundation and making real progress.

Participating in pitching competitions can be beneficial for startups, as there are many prestigious events that can offer valuable exposure. However, it is important to avoid spending too much time on competitions and losing sight of the bigger picture.

As someone who has participated in many pitching competitions, I have learned that mistakes can provide valuable lessons for growth. While the time spent on competitions may seem wasted in the moment, the knowledge gained can lead to future success.

Winning a competition is undoubtedly exciting. The media attention and public recognition can make us feel proud and accomplished. However, it is important to avoid becoming complacent and thinking that winning a competition equates to overall success.

In the business world, there are many competitors vying for the same customers and markets, and winning a competition is just one small aspect of the larger picture. It is possible for a competitor to capture the attention and loyalty of potential customers without even participating in competitions.

Therefore, winning on the stage and in the hearts of potential customers requires much more than just a single competition victory. It is a continuous process of creating excellent products and services, building a strong brand, and providing exceptional customer service.

In conclusion, the success of your startup is in your hands. Your exposure to different sources of information and experiences will greatly influence your decisions and actions. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself whether you want to invest your time and energy in building a successful company, or waste it on activities that rarely lead to success.

Remember, success requires hard work, dedication, and the willingness to learn from your mistakes. By focusing on the right strategies and seeking guidance from experienced mentors, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your goals. So, choose wisely and always stay focused on your mission.

The correctness of this writing is subjective and dependent on the position of the reader. What may seem right from one perspective may not be so from another.



Cristianto Rian Tarra

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