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Listen Up, Fast Pitch Contenders

What’s the secret to the perfect elevator pitch? If you ask Tracy Fredkin, chief executive of mom-centric mobile marketplace CityMoms, you’ll find your own mother was right all along. “It’s all about practice,” Fredkin said. “The more pitches you give, the better you get.” The Studio City resident is one of two Valley finalists in the Women Founders Network’s fourth annual Fast Pitch Competition. She and Pamela Donnelly of Burbank are among 10 female entrepreneurs who will have five minutes to pitch their business before a panel of venture capitalists and private equity executives on Oct. 20 in downtown Los Angeles. The winner will receive a $30,000 prize, but the big advantage of making it to the finals is the audience. Historically, the event has materialized into funding for enterprises such as bridal fashion website Vow to Be Chic and event production firm DigiTour Media. “Companies like Vow to Be Chic and DigiTour Media weren’t top winners at the time, but they went on to be wildly successful because this event gave them a chance to make those connections,” said Kim Christensen, director of the Women Founders Network. For Donnelly, whose company College GATE System streamlines the university admissions process, the finals competition aligns with her fast pitch philosophy. “The first step to giving an effective pitch is being in front of a room of qualified investors,” she said. Donnelly tailors her pitches to the audience. “Investors view a company and its founder sort of like a horse and a jockey: What’s the company’s temperament, and how well do you control it?” Donnelly explained. “You have to convey that you know that horse – your company – so well that you can keep it moving in the right direction, no matter what.” – Helen Floersh

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