This week was full of entrepreneurship and StartUp events and I will cover in this post the many things I learned from it.
On October 10th we went to the monthly STHLM TECH Meetup, which is basically a networking event that brings big investors in contact with the StartUp base and also lets anyone who is interested get a bit of an insight into the scene. This month’s guests were H&M CO:LAB and Nordic Makers.
Learn the language
The first part of the event was introduction of the guests and a report on how the STHLM TECH meetup has developed over the past 4 years. It was interesting to see the terminology (Angels, A rounds, B rounds, … ), that has just been taught to us during the lecture on fund raising, get a real life application. The entrepreneurship scene has its own language and you’re only going to learn it by constantly exposing yourself to it.
After that came three pitches that turned to be … let’s say “sub-optimal”, but they got valuable feedback, which I will combine here, with the feedback that we got on our venture project pitches in the Entrepreneurship class.
Make it undoubtedly clear which value your service offers
Remember that your customers only care about how they can apply your product for themselves. They don’t care which features and functionalities you provide, as long as they can’t imagine it actually adding value to their lifes.
Two things investors like to hear in your pitch:
What I really want to change in the world is …
We’re doing this thing open source …
They want you to take them on a journey, so they can feel an emotional relevance to your product. Telling a story always gives more context to how your product can be applied in a real life setting.
Show me the product!
In the first 30 seconds you should show what your product actually is. Show them what you spent all your time and energy on developing. If computer generated renderings of a design are the closest you have to a product, then start your presentation with those. Also DO NOT show your behind the scenes development work. Investors want to be promised big shiny finished products, they don’t care about the technicalities.
To all the collectors
If you’re doing aggregating of existing services into one central service you still need an added value. Simply providing a collecting pot is not enough to draw users in.
During the event everyone had the opportunity to use the Hashtag #STHLMTECH on their Twitter posts, which would then be automatically retweeted to all the followers of Sthlmtech. This gives you access to a massive audience, which is perfect for when you’re looking to grow your followership. I actually gained several new followers that way.
After the event most people left, which always surprises me, because that’s when the really interesting networking parts starts. So we were chatting up all kinds of people including the Moderator and some Venture capitalists who gave us their contacts.
One useful side-effect of speaking with that many people is that you’re basically forced to explain your product idea again and again and you keep getting feedback on it. Trust me, nothing hones your elevator pitch better than repeating and tweaking it over and over while networking at an event like this.
One guy I met called Mikael Lenart runs a company called “Venue”. His service connects artists with venues and lets the audience decide who gets to play by voting for their favorite band with the purchase of a ticket for that band on that day. If their band does not play, no money is transacted. This reminded me of a company that I knew from Germany and I gave him their website, so he could do some research on it. After that we were chatting about the Sound Hub and he recommended me to go to the STHLM Music City event, which would take palace at SUP46 the next day. Since I already knew that place i happily agreed.
See how it’s really done
The STHLM Music City event was an amazing experience with speakers from Spotify and live demonstrations of the new app by pacemaker. Their presentations were really well done and could be described as 70% images, 20% charts, 10% text. That way the attention was much more on the speaker themselves. Also two guys presented their events SLUSH and SLUSH MUSIC which will take place in Helsinki on the Nov 30 – Dec 1.
Obviously more networking followed after the main presentation and I met some more people, which gave me important information about potential future competition for my Sound Hub project.
On the Wednesday after that I went to the Nomination Event for the Bicky Chakraborty Entrepreneur Program which took place at the KTH. It was good to see students from the KTH that followed their passion and finally also got some substantial funding for their further company development.