The New Elevator Pitch — A Tweet

Billionaire Richard Branson is collecting micro-pitches for startups today on Twitter, forcing entrepreneurs to summarize the most outstanding qualities of their babies in 140 characters or less.

The best Tweet wins its author a trip to Los Angeles, where he or she can attend a conference — called PerfectBusiness — that Branson is throwing to highlight the startup scene there.

Tweets won’t get you funding, though. Entrepreneurs who want a shot at that are required to pay Branson 60 bucks for the privilege of submitting a more conventional pitch online.

The fee “assures us that you are serious about your business,” Branson’s Web page says.

In exchange for this pitch, entrepreneurs are promised a professional review, including tips on how to improve their pitches and find investors.

The top three entrepreneurs will be given airfare to Los Angeles (unless they live less than 100 miles away), two nights at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey, and a chance to present their pitches at the conference on October 26 in front of Branson and various other venture capitalists and angel investors.

Watch out, though. “PerfectBusiness does not verify the capability or legitimacy of members who claim to be investors,” the contest rules say. “While PerfectBusiness uses best efforts to authorize only accredited investors and professional lenders to review Pitches seeking funds, it is the responsibility of members to perform their own due diligence.”

The rules also advise hiring a lawyer before accepting any investment, and to accept money only from Accredited Investors as defined by the SEC.

Good luck. Here are some of the first Tweets:

– organic breakfast delivery service via souped up retro hybrid ice-cream cart , incl. fair trade coffee.

– A new eco-friendly retail store that leverages social media and web front to push social means and profit

– Users take fun web-based personality test + enter travel plans = custom travel guidebook. $$ from software too

UPDATE: Link to send Tweets is here: