By: Paul Chen
Between November 14, 2013 and December 13, 2013 Google for Entrepreneurs along with NorthstarConsulting.pl in partnership with Flowbox conducted a series of sessions for their pilot program called "Pitch!" The main goal of the program was to help startups with their pitch to investors through 5 training sessions and 5 workshops. They covered a variety of topics: from an investor pitch to sales talk, to video presentation and body language. The program was provided free to the startups but they must first apply for spots.
Poland has a lot of talent, but sometimes it takes a little more than technical skill to break through on the international stage. PITCH Program aims to prepare startups to go global and compete with those from the Silicon Valley in international contests and to help them getting accepted to international accelerators.
Among the mentors of the program were:
Livia Handlovicova - Head of NorthStar Consulting Slovakia
Marcin Jaśkiewicz - CEO, Co-Founder of ISTV Services
Ken Globerman - Founder of Global Group Ventures
Czysta reForma - a theater troup
There was a Demo Day at the end of the program. The winner of the demo day would be allowed to participate in the Mini-Seedcamp to be held at Google for Entrepreneurs on January 16, 2014. And the winner of that event would be able to participate in the Seedcamp in London.
Mr. Stanisz and Mr. Osmanovic were the main organizers of the program. They were present at each session of the whole program mentoring and providing commentary with the mentors. Ms. Handlovicova offer advice on sales metrics based on her experience as a sales director for Southwestern. Mr. Jaskiewicz took the participants to a video production studio and provided a hands-on workshop on presenting their products and services on platforms like Youtube. Recording videos about your startup is one of the main thing seed investors are looking for in application forms. Czysta reForma conducted a workshop in an actual theater to help the participants with their body language because one’s body language can send very subtle messages to the investor and customers.
Mr. Globerman provided a lecture and workshop to help the startups understand what is going through an investor’s mind when he/she is watching a pitch. He also educated us about some of the behind the scenes operations of a VC. He reaffirmed something that Richard Lucas, a local angel investor, said to me a while back. One of the first things that he looks at when a startup pitches to him was to determine whether the team was someone that he can do business with or not. We also learned about the state of the Polish investment environment. It is still in the early stages of the development of a solid investment market. Part of the reason is the lack of awareness of the type of investment instruments used in the market. Another reason is that making investments in something intangible is not something that the Polish have a lot of experience with. Most of the Polish startups are somewhere between the incubator and the early VC rounds.
On Demo Day, we had the following mentors and experienced entrepreneurs as the judging panel:
PawelNowak: CEO of Presspad and an active investor in many local startups
Wojciech Wolny: Founder of LGBS Software
Mikolaj Olszanski: AceStream, an innovative multimedia platform of a new generation, which includes different products and solutions for ordinary Internet users as well as for professional members of the multimedia market.
Michal Mikulski: Egzotech a maker of robots for rehabilitation purposes.