The two-day Selection Days process is tough. Twenty meetings with twenty sets of mentors takes a lot of energy, physical and emotional, and not getting picked can be hard to swallow.
The natural focus is on the ten teams that get picked. What happens next to the other ten depends mostly on themselves and one or two key decisions. First, the teams need to get over the disappointment. Second, they need to analyze what they can do with the connections they made over two days of unusually close contact to a group of mentors that can help them in many ways.
Don’t Get Grumpy
The mentors are Startupbootcamp’s ‘secret sauce’ and potential key assets. The teams need to follow up on and develop those relationships, because the mentors can do much more, give feedback and answer questions. They represent lots of potential partners, customers, advisers, investors, and even buyers. Egmont Media and the telco TDC were just two of the many corporations present that are always on the look out for startups to partner with or buy.
Prove The Jury Wrong
Every team has weaknesses, whether they were picked or not. The feedback from the twenty rounds of mentoring should have indicated where to focus next. Nothing impresses more than a well-executed pivot or a change that fixes a major problem. Do that well and the people who said no may very well say yes – but only if you let them know.
It might be product development, gaining traction, sharpening the value proposition, or recruiting a stronger team. With just a couple of exceptions, all the teams could strengthen sales and marketing. The whole point of iterations is to learn and adjust. The teams need to use the feedback to address those weaknesses.
Other Bootcamps, Other Opportunities
Missing the cut in Copenhagen may hurt, but it isn’t the end of the world. Startupbootcamps runs in half a dozen cities on this side of the Atlantic. Everyone says Berlin is a cheaper place to live. Haifa is definitely a warmer place to spend the winter.
There are also other options. The local teams have already been contacted by partners like CONNECT Denmark (Disclaimer: that would be me). Accelerace was also present in force and is always looking for startups for their program. Rumor has it that there are even other accelerators – and the mentors are one great big untapped opportunity waiting to be seized.
Stay in touch and follow up
Startupbootcamp mentors are an independent lot and seldom shy of sharing their often strongly held opinions. Some probably do not agree 100% with the picks Lars Buch and his team made. The unselected teams need to ask themselves whether they are ready to move on from their disappointment. Are they ready to seize the opportunities Selection Days still offer them?
Program Manager at CONNECT Denmark