The art of #pitching – the long and the short of it… Pt.1

Pitch nights are popping up all over the place. So far this year, I have participated in two startup competitions where pitching was a core component, and attended at least half-a-dozen other pitch events. Some sessions were designed to help early-stage ideas find co-founders, some to showcase the results of accelerator programs, while others were full-on “show me the money” extravaganzas, where term sheets were put in front of the winning teams. The latest events represented two approaches to the format, organised by Startup Victoria (long form) and General Assembly (short form).

This week, the short-form – next week, the long-form.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 9.36.06 pm General Assembly’s “Out of the Garage” Pitch Fest Party was not quite rapid fire, but the 15 teams only had 2 minutes each to present, faced some strict rules around format, and had no Q&A with the judges or the audience. The five winners each received a modest $1,000, plus some other perks to help them on their journey.

It’s impossible to do justice to the wide range of ideas that were pitched (and many of them were just ideas at this stage…), so here are my verbatim notes from the night, in the order of the pitches:

  • Animatly – DIY solution for making animated videos – “Canva for animated videos”
  • FolkFeast – good food more cheaply – “AirBnB for dining out”
  • RightClick – Intergenerational tech transfer – “young people teach old people how to use PC’s, tablets and smart phones”
  • Auug – Hardware device plus app that turns an iPhone into a motion-based MIDI controller and synth (as already featured in Apple ads)*
  • YearOutClub – “GoCompare for the gap year” – courses, content & accommodation
  • CareConnect – matching carers with clients, customised and personalised – Tech-driven. Big market: $13.5bn spent each year on care services
  • Good Packages – bio-degradable packaging
  • PetalBox – Single flower vending machines
  • VibeDate – “the best date you’ve never had” – curated dating experiences
  • NatureAtWork – re-connecting with nature, wellbeing and productivity
  • Wonderhood – market place for novel experiences
  • Project_O – “disrupting bottled water market” – art meets public water fountains
  • Joyality – Eco-psychology program for humans
  • Dunnit – “learn from someone who’s done it” – mentoring platform for creatives
  • LeanFilmmaking – agile process for creating video – technology is easy, finding audiences is hard… Idea to Audience: Fast – Accelerator program for story/audience fit

With limited exposure, it was difficult to know which pitches had real substance, but a couple are already in business, and a few have at least created a web profile. Several ideas sounded very similar to other new projects I’ve seen or heard of recently, and I would also recommend that all of the aspiring founders research their startup names before trying to register their companies. The winners were: Wonderhood, PetalBox, RightClick, Project_O and VibeDate.

Next week: Pt.2 – The Long Form

* Declaration of interest: I purchased one of the first units via their crowdfunding campaign, so I’m already a customer…

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