Last week I was looking for a graduation internship, so I spent most of my time on some companies’ websites to find good opportunities, especially in consultancies. And I eventually got to speak about it with a friend, also trying to find an internship. It turns out that he’s been reached by a start-up for a 6 months job in Paris, plus 6 months in San Francisco about this web-customer data analysis. I think he’s been so lucky to receive such an amazing offer, even if I’ve not so much interest for that specific topic, and I start thinking “why not doing an internship in a start-up myself ?” It’s something I’d never really thought about before, but as I’m interested by the start-up world and because I think I would enjoy this peculiar and exiting kind of job, I start looking around for some opportunities. So I check out some career/job websites without finding any topic that I’d be really interested in, and I ask to myself what I would really be exited about in a job like that. In fact, I’m exited about creation, about giving birth to something, and thus I would be more interested by an early-stage start-up. Finally I remember I have a friend in a business school who’s told me once that many of her friends were planning to found a start-up at the end of their studies. I get back in touch with her and it turns out that she’s looking for a co-founder with technological knowledge to help her build her start-up. I personally have a profound technical background, and she’s planning to join a business incubator next January, when I’ll be back in France. She pitches me her idea and it seems quite cool (something about urban bicycles, roughly speaking), so it sounds like a perfect opportunity for me to experience the birth of a start-up. I eventually start doing the procedures with my school and the person in charge of internships reaches me to tell me that I won’t be authorized to do this because the company doesn’t exist yet so they can’t make any contract. Moreover it seems to risky for them because if the start-up fails I will have to do another 6 month internship in order to graduate, which I can understand. So I get back to my friend, a bit disappointed, and I remember that there is an entrepreneurship section back in my school, with people probably looking for this kind of projects for next year. So I propose to make an announcement about her project and her research for a co-founder on my school’s Facebook page, which she accepts. So far she’s been contacted by at least three people interested in her idea so I hope it will work !
Eventually we’ve got to talk about pitches and I told her that I’ve been to some start-up events that were very interesting on the topic. Especially, what I’ve learned from STHLM Tech event is that you really need to practice your pitch. And going to this kind of meet-ups can definitely help start-up founders because you can get some tips about what to say, how to be on the stage, etc. For instance, I found that the first pitcher reacted quite badly towards provocative invectives of the host. Of course the goal of this event was to criticize pitches so everybody can learn, and the host may seem a bit harsh but you shouldn’t take it personal in my opinion. The objective of this is to get a feedback on your pitch, even if it can make you feel dreadful, it is done on purpose to make you want to change what didn’t work in your speech. Well, in the end I hope she’ll manage to find a co-founder and I also strongly advised her to practice her pitch a lot, and get inspiration from this kind of events.
This little experience really taught me that sometimes network can be crucial. So if you want to build your own start-up, you should definitely talk about it around you because you don’t always know where help can come from. And obviously, going to specific start-up events for networking is an excellent way to start. For that matter I recommand to read Kevin’s article, if you’re still not convinced about that. And finally, the more you talk about your idea to people with different backgrounds, the more you’ll feel easy about it and I think it will help you to improve your pitch in the end.