Last Saturday the first Demo Day from Barcelona Startups took place with 70+ attendees and 9 entrepreneurs presenting their projects among which 5 that represented IESE. I was one of those 5 and had an amazing experience. No, there weren’t any investors that ran up to me after my presentation to invest, but I got some invaluable things from this day.
The Meeting location was my school which was familiar ground. The 11 startups that presented are listed below. The order was random. It wasn’t announced until the last minute. This made everyone stay on their toes until it was their turn. After each presentation a discussion followed with the entrepreneur about their project. Also very often the audience ended up discussing things among each other.
Why Pitch Push-ups helped
The day before the demo day, some of us practiced our elevator pitches. This was actually really, really helpful for several reasons. Firstly it made me practice my presentation in general. It allowed me to see how long I would go, where I had trouble transitioning between slides and made me more familiar with my material. Secondly the feedback I got from the other startups that were also presenting, was what made those Pitch Push-ups invaluable (thanks Tidibi and Hotel Ninjas). They asked me several (sometimes tough) questions that I subsequently had 24 hours to think about. After the Pitch Push-ups I changed about 30% of my presentation and was much better prepared for the real thing. During the day itself I did another practice round. Also I went there early to check if my presentation worked correctly with the projector etc; something I encourage any presenter to do.
For the presentation an old friend from the Netherlands flew in from Amsterdam. This was great as it gave me the opportunity for a lot of additional reflection before, during and after the event. He wrote down all the comments / questions during the presentation and video-taped me so I can later learn from my mistakes. If you can I advise you to take along a Wingman. Thanks Mattijs!
On the day itself, I was the third to present. I presented Treeveo within the 7 minute time frame and then the question and answer session started. Even though I was very nervous about this part, I was able to answer all the questions and explain myself. This was mainly due to the Pitch Push-ups we did the day before. For those of you who don’t know. Treeveo is a platform that shows you a visual interface to a project or an asset. The challenge we face with Treeveo is our product is too general at the moment. This had already been emphasized during the Pitch Pushups. So having this knowledge allowed me to better prepare for this. The questions I received concerned the project management implementation of our platform. Below are 2 of the questions:
1. How do you convince the user?
In the case of B2B users, you normally have to go through the CIO to sell any corporate tool. However with Treeveo we are able to take a bottom-up approach. Users can use the tool via the web, create a project and then delegate to their colleagues. In case of the small business version, we will benefit from the socialization we plan to incorporate into platform. Users will be able to invite others through Facebook where it could then show up as “I just joined a project on Treeveo”.
2. Project Management is a very competitive market, what do you offer that others don’t?
The visual interface vs. a “list-based” project interface (alpha users are telling me they love it), the clear delegation feature and the calculation possibilities that Treeveo offers.
Questions can sometimes be scary, as one never knows what will pop-up. I was nervous before presenting because I knew (and still know) that I don’t have all the questions answered. I am working on a start-up. If I were to tell you that I have everything figured out, I would be straight-out lying to you. Meetings like these force you to bring your idea to a certain level. So if you have an idea, find a group close to you and sign up for a meeting where you can present your idea. It will force you to work on the idea and bring it to a point where you can share it with a group. Chances are that without something like this, your idea will remain… an idea. I know for sure, that as of now I am on the lookout for the next deadline.