Cary Tilds on the Dos and Don’ts of Pitching your Startup Company



Cary Tilds is Chief Innovation Officer for GroupM, a global media investment management operation. Cary finds, evaluates and helps develop new & emerging digital platform technologies. Part of what that means is she finds startup companies for GroupM’s clients to partner up with, acquire or invest in.

Cary looks for startups that could help automate some of her client’s business, even if the idea isn’t fully developed, she’ll connect clients to scrappy startups for co-building a breakthrough product. Her clients have included DaimlerChrysler, Charles Schwab, Discovery Media Networks, and HBO.

“Don’t spill your candy in the lobby. If you think you have only one shot, you’re probably already going to fail.”

In this episode, Mike and special guest-host Brad Fox, talk to Cary and explore the concept of pitching an idea and what happens to startups while they’re pitching. Then Cary reveals GroupM’s process on helping startups grow and talks about the best time to build relationships and the best time to pitch.

“Don’t ever say you’re completely unique, say you’re like this and this is how we’re different.”

Ever wonder if partnering with another company would be a good thing? What speaks to investors? Who owns data? and How big tech organizations work? There’s a lot of gems in this episode. Not to mention Cary leaves us with one important piece of advice for startup founders that you’re not going to want to miss.

Join us and Cary, watch/listen to this episode of Stream Detroit.

To learn more about Cary Tilds and her work, visit their website at

Show Notes


  • (02:40) “We use Facebook as an external platform to get in touch with consumers. It’s also an internal platform as well when you look at the paid media buying/planning component of their platform. We use Facebook as a B2C and B2B...”
  • (02:50) “ We also work with the Preferred Marketing Development (PMD) ecosystem, which plugs in into Facebook & Twitter’s APIs in order to help us manage those platforms at scale, they develop proprietary software on top of Facebook, to help us get better insights, help us understand creative optimization in a more robust way, help us bring in more data points, etc.”
  • (03:45) “Other technology platforms, things like Ad Servers, whether that be a double-click or seismic or an atlas that was relaunched by Facebook, also work programmatically through our Xaxis unit with our exchanges to try to automate some of the business and make it more efficient for our clients.”
  • (06:05) “We work with the entire spectrum of companies with a scale and scrappy approach in philosophy.”
  • (06:55) “ If we know a client is working on a particular problem that they’re trying to solve, we usually run a focused accelerator to solve that problem and welcome scrappy startup companies to collaborate with our clients.”
  • (08:50) “I think Pinterest is still a startup, they’re being very purposeful and specific about what they’re doing. They’ve just started to dip their toes into advertising, they want to make sure they’re treating their audience with great respect…”
  • (10:05) “How do we pitch a startup idea? GroupM goes out and connects with that type of company — how do we clearly communicate our value proposition? “Suppress your passion, your passion can get in the way of discussing the idea and execution, change the perspective of who the startups about, and make it about the customer. Be ready for questioning. Startups have context about who they’re going to meet with — I get who I’m talking to...”
  • (12:58) “I ask this question to startups all the time, “Where do you think your solution uniquely solves?”
  • (13:29) “Don’t ever say you’re 100% unique and there’s no one else like you, say you’re like this and this is how we’re different.”
  • (14:05)“Show the math why you’re different. We’re about numbers... money.”
  • (14:48)“Be ready to answer questions like: What do you do? How are you different? etc.”
  • (15:40)“It’s never frustrating to see a company’s new ideas. Not at all...”
  • (16:05)“Reach out to one of our local offices and create a meaningful relationship with someone there. (If there’s really interest in reaching out, you can find GroupM online and reach out.)”
  • (19:20)“The majority of clients are always looking for new opportunities to test new ideas. We have a handful of clients that specifically set aside dollars for innovation testing.”
  • (19:45)“November & December are really good for startups to build relationships, and to wait to pitch until the beginning of the next year. They want to understand what’s going on next year and how can they can get in the mix.”


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