An elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short description of an idea (commonly a company) that explains the idea in a way such that any listener can understand in a short period of time. This description typically explains who the product is for, what it does, why it is needed, and how it will get done. An elevator pitch does not have to contain all of those components, but it usually does at least explain why the idea is valuable and what the idea is. An elevator pitch can be used to an entice an investor or just explain an idea to a founder’s parents. The goal is simply to convey the idea in an exciting way. Unlike a sales pitch, there may not be a clear buyer/seller relationship.
The name reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. Its origin is widely credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso (while he was editor for Vanity Fair). A pitch in a real elevator was the climax to the 1988 film Working Girl and this may have influenced the concept.