No winners, no prizes.
We just wanted deserving entrepreneurs to have a venue where they could pitch to institutional investors. At best, they could get funded, at worst, they WILL get valuable experience, feedback, and contacts.
The event was actually a non-public post-event, where ready attendees of the pitching seminar Pitchcraft could volunteer to do an ACTUAL pitch. There were a few audience slots which we opened up to the JGL subscriber base (there are benefits of becoming a subscriber!), which were gobbled up quickly.
Strict 5 minutes per pitch.
I thought there were generally awesome ideas behind each pitch – most pitches endeavored to solve real problems. VC Dan Pagulayan told me he’d want to further talk to 8 out of the 10 pitches presented, and that he’s really excited with the number of quality pitches presented.
Just some further observations on the event:
1) Value in witnessing pitches
As a very opinionated person, it was tough for me to JUST listen to the proceedings, but I gotta say, I learned a whole lot. Each pitch was basically an attempt to solve a specific problem in a specific area in our world: from OPM, recruitment, turbine engines, to geek couture, it was a thrill for me not only to learn about these different pockets from the pitchers, but also listening in on what the VC panel had to say. Horizon-stretching.
2) We need to practice with the time limit
7 out of the 10 people who pitched had to be cut off at the 5 minute mark. This for me indicates some lack of practice time. Pitchers have to maximize their airtime. In particular, what usually was part of what is cut is the ACTUAL money pitch: how much the startup needs, where it will go, and what’s in it for the investor. (I think these have to be conveyed quickly at the start)
3) Underlining go-to market strategy
Only a couple of pitches actually explained EXACTLY how the money they were trying to raise would be used in penetrating the market. I’ve seen this in particular with very technical founders who dive into the product, and sometimes miss pointing out how the startup would begin making money, and it intends to scale. For any investor, this is probably THE most crucial part – how exactly is this person going to make my money back?
4) Younger people are getting in on it
I’ve seen this trend in our JGL open coffee sessions (do sign up now!), where more and more students pitch and participate. 3 of the 10 pitches were given by current students. I think this is an awesome, awesome development, and I hope it continues to trend up.