Venture Cup is a yearly competition for startups with no commercialized revenues exceeding 500 000 SEK. I learnt about this competition through an announcement made by KTH Innovation (turns out there are some previous post in this blog about this competition). The event I attended to was the East’s regional final and it was held last Thursday, May 16th, with 12 nominated startups amongst the hundred that had participated.
Prior to the pitches from the nominees there was a mingle in which I discussed with 2 of the startups about their projects. Both had a similar story, they had been created by groups of students, but what caught my attention is that the two of them had added business developers to their teams, so the founders of these companies were more centered in the technical aspects of the company than in the business side.
Each startup performed a 2 minutes pitch on stage, explaining their idea. I must confess that none of them was impressive or particularly horrible, although obviously some were more clear explaining their idea than others, but in all cases there was a scent of blur in the descriptions of their ideas. The speakers were all obviously nervous and even one of them suffered a brain freeze that made her pull out her notes to finish the pitch. The pitches were followed by a Q&A from the jury, who was not particularly tough with the questioning because, as they explained, there had been a previous selection process in which the participants had to pitch their ideas and were asked exhaustively for the details of their business model. To finish, there was a recap of all the business idea with a 1 minute video from each startup, with the founders explaining -again- their business idea. It struck me how oddly familiar these videos were to what we have done in class, as they were all in the “talking head” format, with no animations or showcases of the products, although I assume that this was due to some requirement from the competition.
As an interesting note, one of the members of the jury mentioned that she is a business angel at STOAF, a Swedish investment company with almost 50 business angels. If you are looking for finance for your startup you should probably check them out: www.stoaf.se
More info about this competition at www.venturecup.se
— Joaquin Sanchez-Valiente