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Aussie start-up Roboinvest makes CNNMoney pitching final

Thursday, 22 September 2011 | By Oliver Milman

An Australian entrepreneur has been selected as one of just three start-ups handed the chance to pitch to a heavy-hitting panel of US investors this morning, in an event for leading business site CNNMoney.com.

 

The pitch sessions, which will be streamed to viewers, will feature Michael Giles, an Australian entrepreneur who is based in New York.

 

Giles, who blogs monthly for StartupSmart, is the founder of Roboinvest, a stock trading and investment website that allows people to follow and copy the decisions of some of the world’s leading traders.

 

Giles’ start-up, which hasn’t yet officially launched, was picked out from more than 100 entries to pitch to a panel picked by CNNMoney.

 

Alongside Roboinvest, opinion polling site Qwanz and Visual Revenue, which advises websites on content lay-out, will pitch for the opportunity to work with CNNMoney, which is owned by entertainment giant Time Warner.

 

The trio will pitch to a high-profile panel, comprised of John Cantarella, president of digital at Time Inc. News Group, Charlie O’Donnell, principal at First Round Capital, David Tisch, managing director of TechStars New York,  Alexa Von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com and Margaret Tuohy, director of product for CNNMoney.

 

Following a five minute pitch on what each start-up can do to enhance the CNNMoney brand, the judges will pick a winner, based on business model, fit with CNNMoney and product vision.

 

With the winner getting the chance to do business with the Time Warner empire, Giles says he is well aware that the event could provide his start-up with a huge boost.

 

“I came across the ad for the competition and at a whim decided to enter, I never thought we would be selected to pitch,” Giles tells StartupSmart.

 

“We are not too far off our official launch, so I hope this brings some visibility and more importantly validation for our start-up. It is definitely a great PR opportunity.”

 

Giles says that similar pitches should be broadcast in Australia, which currently lacks a version of CNNMoney’s format or BBC show Dragon’s Den.

 

“I think it is a great concept, and large Australian companies should watch closely,” he says.

 

“It's a great opportunity for start-ups to get access to large companies they ordinarily couldn't, and in a roundabout way, it's a great opportunity for large companies to outsource product development ideas.”

 

“The problem with Australian companies is they don't seem to embrace entrepreneurship.”

 

Asked for his pitching tips for other start-ups, Giles says: “Don't be afraid to enter your start-up in competitions.”

 

“Preparation is definitely key to your pitch, but it's critical to understand and focus on what the pitch is for and who it's to.”

 

“This pitch is on how we can help enhance the CNNMoney brand, and that's what I'll be focusing on.”