Pitch, Please!

The Accelerator program is well underway, as we reach the end of week 3. Time flies when you’re having fun… right, everyone? *Crickets*.

It’s okay, our teams are far too busy hustling to care.

Each week, the Accelerator program has an underlying theme or topic, and last week was all about pitching. For those of you new to the concept, a pitch deck is a brief overview of your business which illuminates the key aspects of your project such as the problem you’re solving, your unique insight, and your solution.

The process of creating a pitch deck is critical in this environment. Why? It forces you to boil your business down in a way that is digestible and gets to the root of each component. Creating a pitch deck will bring focus, and make you answer hard questions like, ‘what is the real value we’re creating?’.

Like everything, practice makes perfect (though we are opposed to the word ‘perfect’ - be reflective on what you could do better, always). The experience will bring confidence and clarity in your communication which is why it is such a valuable exercise.

If you want to know what a great pitch deck looks like:

  • Here is a link that shares pitch decks from the likes of Internet giants Airbnb, LinkedIn and Youtube.
  • Learn how to design a perfect pitch deck here.

Last week our Accelerator teams were presented with the incredible opportunity to pitch to Hugh Stephens (Founder and General Partner at Galileo) and Tony Glenning (Fund Manager at Skalata Ventures).

It seems early for the teams to be pitching to investors, you may be thinking. And you’re right. It is early in the program, but not without purpose. There are two main reasons The Generator program does this:

  1. To assess the commercial viability and scalability of their projects from the perspective of an investor, which is super important regardless of fundraising intentions.
  2. To expose the founders to adversity and rejection helping build the resilience necessary to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

Aside from sector-specific feedback, there were common improvements that Hugh and Tony identified:

  • A focus on a better understanding of the problem. Often founders are so focused on the solution they forget who they are solving a problem for. The investors highlighted a need for teams to keep their users and customers at the centre of their startup - something any early founder should consistently come back to.

  • Why you? Startups are very personal and this is often the biggest strength a founder brings. The investors highlighted that it's important to show you have a deeper connection to the problem than someone else in the field attempting to tackle the same issue.

Read on for a round-up of the progress the 2019 Accelerator cohort have made so far.

Killed Ideas

Three teams killed their ideas within 10 days of the Accelerator commencing. Why do we see this as a positive thing? It means the founders of these startups have had honest and challenging conversations about their alignment, which includes their passion for the problem, their drive on this startup for potentially the next 10+ years, or the time commitment they are willing to dedicate to working on the startup right now.

Alternatively, they have discovered through conversations with potential customers the problem they thought existed isn’t a substantial pain-point for someone to adopt their product or service.

In both circumstances, these are not easy conversations to have or discoveries to make. Especially when people are at the heart of a startup - it’s emotional.

Fear not, we watched this trend unfold last year too. The biggest difference is that this took the startups months, and in some circumstances over 12 months to reach. It’s important that founders get to this point early on in the program, so they can pivot and move on towards a project that will be more fulfilling for everyone in the long run.

Acquired Customers

One of our social impact startups has secured the same amount of customers over the past weekend as they had in the last 12 months. In doing so, they have come to the realisation the pain-point of the user is different from their original hypotheses. This is the value of engaging with your customers at an early stage and the golden nugget they need to create the most value for their customers!

The focus for this particular startup now is to stress-test this new insight and provide an exceptional experience for these newly acquired consumers for strong customer retention.

Keep an eye out on our blog for more updates over the next nine weeks of the program.