Vincent Haywood from Braqes continues his epic startup journey...
In his previous diary post, Vincent continued his startup Diary - with postive news, especially after the near disaster that was the week he highlighted some obstacles, freak-outs, pivots, and hopeful solutions...
This week Vincent gives us the low down on Pitching and some fab pitching success...
"Two weeks ago Braqes pitched at the Lions Cage event at Google Campus. Think of it as a Dragons Den sort of set up, four judges and an audience. You have 3 minutes to get your pitch across, then a few questions, then the judges rate you out of five. We were eighth in line to present, and these judges were pretty ruthless to some of the people pitching. I present and pitch for a living so normally these things are a breeze, for the first time I was absolutely bricking it.
I think when presenting a digital strategy or pitching for new business there is a slight nervousness, but this time I was pitching my baby. My idea I had been working on for the past two years. If any of the other judgments that night were anything to go by, these investor judges were about to destroy it.
I got up on stage and began, I followed the usual pitch template: The problem, the solutions, the competitors and then the monetisation. Flew through it, three minutes is not a long time. Then the judges’ questions, you always fear someone is going to ask that one question. That one question that’s going to make you look like a dick and have no clue what you are on about. Turns out I could answer every one of them, and good answers. At the end they all gave us our rating: 4,4,4,3 = Boom!
Guess what, we won! We came first thanks to the judges and audience viewing. Even though the prize wasn’t exactly investment, for a brief few minutes Braqes was reconfirmed. A whole room of people had voted our product as best in show. Things like that make you realise that you are on to something; as much as you may have those days where you think ‘what am I doing’ these little reaffirmations just ignite that fire again.
I’m glad we have finally submitted a happier entry to this journal, and I’m happy to say that this event has pushed us even closer to securing our seed funding.
Let me explain how this worked out and what it’s done for us at Braqes:
I pitched at Linkfoundry a few months ago, I got to meet Shash - founder of Paperfold (wait till you see what he’s building!) at the event I met a few people and namely Praveen. Praveen is the founder of Award.io (another great startup). Praveen and I met for coffee a few days later to discuss his startup and mine and I mentioned the frustrations in trying to get in front of investors. He then put me in touch with Michael and Thomas - they run Lions Cage. I applied, then had to ‘audition’ on Google Hangouts, then rehearse - these guys are great to pitch to by the way, amazing feedback and tips. Then I submitted my final presentation on the Sunday. By Tuesday night there I was pitching Braqes to a room full of people.
But that’s not all; as soon as the award ceremony was over I was on the floor talking to the investors, swapping cards. As soon as I got home that night I made all the linked connections and pushed for meetings. While we were still in their mind. Now, over the next 4 weeks we will be meeting each one of these investors to show them more detail about Braqes. (Bit more thorough then 3 minutes)
It just shows how powerful networking is, how quickly you can make progress. I’ve spent the past few weeks prepping docs, revisiting P and Ls and prepping the rest of the team for these meetings.
We are still scouring through meetup.com for pitch events, you do need to look into them thoroughly as there are some waste of time ones, plus I’ve been told to check out accelerators for their events too. We are keeping at it, even though we have secured four meetings, we are still getting out there.
I’ve added every single Startup event calendar feed I could find to my calendar.
Love pitching, in my day job and for Braqes. It’s a great feeling to stand on a stage and talk about a working concept that was merely sketches about two years ago. Very inspiring stuff. One of the first images I have for Braqes was a wireframe sketch and how we saw it working.
To think this is now a working piece of software and I get to speak to people about it. Little bit proud. (Mom are reading this?)
So we carry on now, I’m mocking up version two slides this weekend. Just so I can show the investors where the money will be going. Probably more sketches first, think I’m going to Frame them for the day we move into our cool offices in the Shard. ;-)
Keep on keeping on!
See you next time.
If you liked this themed post on Pitching - you might also like our previous tips post on the Elevator Pitch.
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.