It was wonderful to attend Launch Festival 2019 and listen to inspiring speakers and meet many founders and startups with great ideas and passion.
Those that made it on stage and got the chance to present their businesses were more advanced in their journey. They stood out because they’d clearly thought about their message, already built a strong team and demonstrated they know their customer. They’d considered the questions they’re likely to be asked and were prepared with what they wanted to say. Proof points, data and insights were copmpelling. They instilled confidence in their offering and product market fit.
For those early stage founders that didn’t get their chance on stage, here are some key takeaways and advice to help you next year.
Have an elevator pitch
Quick – you’ve got a minute to explain who you are, the problem you’re solving and the solution you provide – are you prepared? Whether you’re trying to win a spot to pitch to Jason, another potential investor, customer or journalist you need to rehearse in advance and be ready at a second’s notice.
Think about your audience – you need multiple pitches, one size fits all won’t cut through. Ask yourself what will engage the attention of an investor, what does a potential customer want and what would a journalist be interested in.
Take a helicopter view
Many founders we spoke to struggled to get their head up out of the technical detail and take a helicopter view of their business. We met some amazingly smart and innovative people from backgrounds in technology, science, engineering but the common issue was they struggled to articulate the business case. Some even struggled to define who might buy their product or service – the end user, didn’t seem factored yet at all. You’ll need to know who your end-user is and how to engage and appeal to them if you’re going to have a chance at securing sales and funding.
We met several passionate people with such early stage ideas that were months, some years away from being market ready. We wondered if
spending money on marketing materials, banners and having spots in the demo pit was the best use of their time and resources? Perhaps these businesses were attending hoping to unlock much needed funding to launch their offering and bring their product to market. But if they did, introducing my business partner Anthony Caruana, and alerting them that he’s a full-time journalist in addition to providing media training services, didn’t flick the light switch on. Anthony was the only business and tech journalist roaming the room. He’s a startup founder too, but he’s always looking for a good story. A couple startups
recognised this, and they pitched well to Anthony and perhaps they will secure coverage, while most didn’t recognise the opportunity.
The main takeaway for us is how difficult it can be for founders to get their messaging right for different audiences. Being prepared is