As Demo Day gets closer and closer and all the startups are working on closing their investment round, the focus of our CEOs is more and more directed towards pitching. These weeks were definitely of utter importance for all of the founders to secure confidence in their pitches, in order to prepare for the several investor dinners and lunches organized by Techstars during week 9!
To prepare for week 9 and Demo Day, the CEOs had to practice the 1st minute of their pitch (on Tuesdays and Thursdays), in order to get feedback on it and understand whether that first minute is attention-grabbing enough for it to be effective. At the end of week 8, they also got to practice for the week after during an event organized by Leapfunder in collaboration with Techstars. There were five investors present (sadly a low turnout) and each startup had 20-minute conversations with each investor. The goal was mostly to get feedback on the pitch and advice on how to interact with investors.
Investor dinners were one of the items in the program which most people looked forward to more than other events, at the start of the program. All of the gatherings took place at the classy Berlin Capital Club, where we also had our end of mentor madness mixer. Only the CEOs of each startup were allowed to participate in the dinners and lunches and it was a chance for them to meet a few (10 in total) investors and find out if these were potentially interested in talking more about investing. Having looked forward to this week for so many months, it was a little disappointing to find out the number of investors participating in the dinner was so limited.
With a ratio of 10 CEOs vs 2/3 investors per gathering, time is definitely limited and does not necessarily allow each CEO the space to talk to all of the investors present. There have, consequently, been evenings and lunches where not every CEO was able to talk to all the investors present. Definitely a pity, considering the possibilities such an event could mean to everyone. However, this is not to be blamed on Techstars: they definitely did the best they could to make the event a success. Unfortunately, it turns out that investors based in Berlin prefer to invest in local companies, so when they heard that none of the startups were from Berlin they quickly lost interest and canceled at the last moment.
Despite the initial disappointment, everyone did make the best of it. It’s also important to consider that, even if nothing comes out of it, it was a good opportunity for everyone to get comfortable when talking to investors and understand common questions which can arise and also whether their pitching is effective or not. For some, even though the chances of meeting an interested investor were low, there were still some promising conversations.
The pressure is starting to get to some of the founders and it is getting harder and harder to combine the already hectic schedule of running a startup and trying to fit in all the activities everyone is expected to attend because of being part of the program. Luckily, the spring weather in Berlin during these past two weeks, allowed our founders to find some solace and enjoy the sun on the weekends.