On March 26th in Prague was held an event called “Silicon Valley Success Stories” organized by STRV.com and Czech ICT Alliance. What was really interesting about this event for our team, was that we were chosen among the 5 startups (out of 24 applicants), who were given the opportunity to pitch our ideas to a committee composed of representatives of US MAC, Credo Ventures, J&T Ventures, MSD Global Innovation Centre, and Seznam.cz. Even though those companies are not our target investors, we are looking for investors with a personal relationship to photography and traveling, but it was definitely an interesting life experience, which I would like to share with you.
When we were informed that we made it to the top 5, we were also given very specific instructions. Our presentation was strictly limited to three minutes (not a second more) and had to have a very specific structure. Such short time is typical for the so-called “Elevator pitch”, a short summery or introduction which should catch the attention of possible investors. To put together a 3-minute-long speech in English wasn’t that difficult. However, to follow the prescribed structure of the presentation was quite challenging. Maybe I had it all wrong, but the structure didn’t suit me at all and if it were up to me, I would have chosen a different approach. Nonetheless, as it turned out I wasn’t the only one having this trouble. All the other four teams were dealing with the same issues and were also kind of at a loss. Well, what else was there to do, right? I took it as a challenge and prepared 12 slides according to the listed criteria. I made sure I didn’t add or leave out anything. If interested, you can download the presentation here.
Due to great interest, the event was moved to CinemaCity at Slovansky dum. I don’t mind speaking in front of people, therefore the fact that I had to stand before a movie theater full of people didn’t stress me out. What made me nervous was the strict 3-minute limit and the fact that my slides were running behind my back and I couldn’t see them. I’m used to presenting from my computer, using Keynote, where I see my time and the current and next slide. A presentation with only a controller in my hand was a real challenge for me and when I finished, I still had 10 seconds left. My mistake, I should have practiced more. All the more I want to thank for the applause that followed my speech.
Feedback from the committee
The main reason why we entered this event was to get feedback from the committee. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised that I was met with a very constructive and open feedback. I got a few additional questions about our economy and where we are right now. That was exactly the 10 missing seconds. What made me really happy was the fact that one of the committees suggested changing the structure of the presentation – that’s exactly how I felt from the very beginning.
Probably the most valuable feedback (from the whole event) was incorporated in the final speech of Chris Burry from US MAC. He made beautifully clear what should be the main purpose of a startup in California. Forget about changing the world, serving the community, growth, traction, etc. The one and only meaning behind the word “startup” for a Californian investor, is to make big money. And the most important word is BIG. As Chris mentioned, no one is interested in millions, let’s talk billions. This is the reason why I hesitate to call Fripito a startup. We are not the next Instagram, which we would sell for a few billion dollars. We provide service that hopefully brings enjoyment besides ourselves and makes enough money. The word BIG is not that important for us.
Anyway, a big “Thank you” to STVR and the Czech ICT Alliance for such a great event!