Cilian Fennell

Cilian Fennell is Ireland’s most sought after pitching coach and has worked with clients including The Ireland Funds, The Guinness Foundation, Enterprise Ireland and Accenture. Cilian is the resident pitching coach with Highway1, the tech start-up accelerator in Silicon Valley where he coaches the programme’s start-up teams on how to pitch their company and their offering. So far, Cilian has coached 65 Highway1 companies that have raised over $130 million.

For more about Cilian click here.

Click here for an interview with Cilian in which he explains the most crucial elements to deliver a strong pitch.

My Approach

I totally believe that a good pitch is first and foremost driven by content and story. Yes, your body is important, but I have discovered that once you believe in your content, your body has a wonderful way of looking after itself. It all begins with your content which means understanding your problem, solution, vision, team, strategy, business model and your ask.

All this must be structured in a coherent narrative that leads your audience on a rational and emotional journey. It must be delivered in a way that is interesting, memorable, relevant and understandable and enhanced by visuals or demonstrations that support all you are saying.”

Elements covered include

    • The Pitching Context

      Understanding the audience and where you are trying to bring them.
    • Defining value

    • The Storytelling Approach

      What’s your story and how can we effectively shape it?
    • State then Qualify

    • The Hero’s Journey to Innovation

    • 5 rules of slides

    • 9 Essential Elements of a Successful Pitch

    • The 5 types of stories

    • 6 Pillars of Persuasion

    • Stand and Deliver


“Cilian is a powerful communication wizard in disguise. When I first met him I felt he was someone I always knew, an old soul exuding warmth and wisdom. He listens with every fiber in his body. Then comes the feedback, blunt and precise, with kindness, common sense and the power of a sledgehammer. We then worked together to craft a more effective, but completely genuine way to communicate my vision. Like Michelangelo, he saw the angel in my story and carved until it was set free. If you have the possibility to work with Cilian, do it.”

Javier Cardona | CEO | Okio

“Cilian’s input, feedback and coaching gave us a refreshing perspective of our pitch and storytelling. His drive, energy and commitment to the startups’ success differentiates him from other coaches and mentors. He contributed in a great way and I’d recommend him as a valuable insider for any startup or growing organisation.”

Roderick de Rode | CEO | Spinn Inc

“The core of any business is the art of the sale, and the most important thing an entrepreneur must sell is his or herself. Cilian not only successfully helped me craft my story for the task at hand—raising money—but gave me the knowledge and appreciation needed to make the Story a primary tool for all aspects of my business.”

Eddie Lee | President | Podolabs

“A great product is not enough, people need to understand it and get excited by it. Cilian helps you do that by helping you bring the story of your startup to life in a compelling way. He helps take the rough diamond and cut and polish it so that every one can see the sparkle. How he does this is through his knowledge of story and media, with big picture tips, specific words, posture or timing – the right advice at the right time. Plus he’s a great guy to have around.”

Eric Norman | Co-Founder, CEO | Cinder / Palate Home