You’ve probably heard it before. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon it more than once. ‘Valuable experience’ is what every accelerator’s Pitch Day description reads. And so it is.
A Pitch Day is like the first job interview, no, it’s better, it’s like your first draft publication the editor gives you back all redlined with extensive feedback. It’s anticipation, evaluation, acknowledgement and, that’s right, it’s all about the feedback.
Testing an app with tools like UserTesting or NewRelic is one thing, but if you want to check up whether customers will find your product useful or inventors worthwhile, you’d better talk to them. Engage someone. Someone who can tell you where exactly you and your startup are at and how should you go about it. This is where an accelerator team comes in handy.
It all starts with a Pitch
So, how does an open Pitch Day unfold? Well, in a pretty informal setting, aspiring entrepreneurs meet people who have already walked the path of building and leading their own company successfully. These are the accelerator’s mentors – the industry’s pure knowledge-in-person and an accelerator’s most powerful asset. There’s also the accelerator team members, who have also crossed swords with business more than once. There’s the other startup teams, too, attentively observing the competition, just as you do.
You are given 5 to 10 minutes to present your team and idea. Your pitch need not be your masterpiece, but in case you’d like to follow the rule of thumb, make sure it covers the essentials: introduction, problem, solution, business model, team, and the investment you are looking for.
Immediately afterwards you are given…
There is one thing about feedback and that is the earlier you get it, the better. The faster you open up to the startup world, the greater your chances to access its resources. Racing against time, you’ll have enough of it as for your idea to mature.
Investors can evaluate the potential of your product. Perhaps what you consider to be a core feature becomes the whole product, or perhaps you lack a feature.
The accelerator team can advise whether you should go after investors, grants, or customers. What your startup’s stage of development is. Are you ready to approach your first customers? Can you explain your product’s value to investors? Should you have more team members?
Once you’ve gotten your validation, an accelerator team can further provide you with meaningful ideas on how to get your product into the hands of your first customers. Understanding how to enter a market, create demand for and distribute your product, is just as important as building a great product. For that part, though, you’d need a bit more than a day’s time.
But for now just practice
You are serious about that thing, right? So, you’ll probably need to pitch your startup again, and again, and again. Your pitch is your ally. To perfect it, you need to practice. Practicing at home is OK, but unless you stand in front of a real critical audience, you will never feel the thrills and cold sweat of a pitch.
An Open Pitch Day is the perfect opportunity to kick-start your efforts. What’s more, the accelerator team will tell you right on whether your pitch sucks or not, will advise what to add or leave out and how to make sense of your entire ‘value proposition’.
Now that you have your fair share of comments, you can sit and indulge the pitches of the other startup teams, absorb some more feedback, and sip a cup of coffee or tea. There’s a lot to learn from observing. There’s a lot to chat about in the evening.
So a Pitch Day is like a reality check-up, it’s like… Maybe you want to experience it yourself?
Would you miss out on that? Just plunge into it and let us help you. There are no strings attached – we @sbcHighTechXL are curious what excites you and keeps you up at night. We’d like to sit back and get a dose of your contagious passion.
Ready? Let’s meet.