Entrepreneur & CEO Profiles
Startup: BUG Website: www.bug.recipes
Our mission is to create a more sustainable food system through introducing insects to the Western diet.
What we do: Our insect recipe kits make it easy to cook delicious, healthy and sustainable insect meals at home. We’re looking to create a world where edible insects are available wherever meat is an option - in supermarkets, restaurants and online.
Startup: Nectar Hive Website: https://nectarhive.co.uk
Our mission is to become a healthy breakfast staple in every family’s cupboard, while supporting and promoting independent UK beekeeping.
What we do: Nectar Hive offers a range of honey products - currently jars filled with nuts or dried fruits, aimed to replace sugary toppings. All of our honey is sourced exclusively from small & independent UK beekeepers and the flavour is unique to the region it was collected in each small batch.
The goals for this class was to give fellows a chance to practice their elevator pitch and receive feedback from other fellows and guest visitors. Fellows had to learn how to succinctly convey just enough information in 3mins about their idea to hook interest for a follow up conversation.
The elevator pitch is an essential tool fellows will use when networking and speaking with investors, not only as they raise investment but speak with anyone about their business.
Preparation and Delivery
Each room will be hosted by one of the organisers (Daniel / Leo / Kaitlin), who will time each pitch.
Each participant will have 3 minutes to pitch, followed by 3 minutes of Q&A from investors.
If you want to use slides, you can have maximum 5.
At the end of each round, investors get to vote 1 room favourite, which will participate in the final round.
18:30 - 18:45 || Intro: Wins of the week / Books / Session briefing / Tips from guests
18:45 - 19:15 || Round 1 Pitch: 3 rooms x 8 people (4 pitching / 4 investing)
19:15 - 19:25 || Break
19:25 - 19:55 || Round 2 Pitch: Stay in same rooms, swap roles
19:55 - 20:00 || Quick break to count votes
20:00 - 20:15 || Pitch-off Final: Winners of each room pitch to whole class
20:15 - 20:30 || Discussion / Observations / Winner announcement
Given the fact that the session would require involvement from all of the group participants, we decided to focus on the technical aspect of delivering the session online and ensuring that each fellow receives as much feedback as possible. We tried to replicate the experience of pitching individually by pitching to a small - and thus more focused group of people. All participants were divided in 3 Zoom breakout rooms (allocated beforehand), where fellows would take turns in the roles of pitchers and investors. Each of the rooms was hosted by a class CEO or an SLP Lead who timed pitches and questions. Tips if running the same class online:
Be strict with timing. Use a phone timer and make sure people hear when the alarm goes off.
You will go overtime anyway. Implement breaks before switching roles and if need be take time from there, so all rooms finish their preliminary rounds at the same time.
Allocate fellows in groups before the session and plan for no-shows. This will allow to diversify the groups and have back-ups. As a class CEO you will be effectively hosting, pitching, timing, asking questions and managing polls at the same time.
Use external poling platforms like Sli.do or Google Forms instead of Zoom polls - easier to manage and can launch multiple at the same time. Prepare the polls and fill-in the participants before the session.
Good practice to gift the Book recommendations of the week to the winners.
The great deal of preparation was distributed to all of the fellows, who had to edit their pitches to fit the 3min time slot or for some of us to draft it from scratch. The session format and tips were emailed to the whole group at least a week before the session. Tips included the hook-problem-solution-traction-ask format (video attached), and to keep in mind that the sole purpose of pitching is getting another meeting. Success therefore lays in sparking enough interest for a follow-up meeting, not trying to squeeze everything into an elevator ride.
In terms of delivery, it really helps to have 2 CEOs co-hosting the session. While one is presenting and interacting with the audience, the other can start allocating people into the rooms, making sure everything runs smoothly and backing-up in those awkward video call moments. Remind everyone that this is meant to be fun, and don’t worry about small mistakes or if something doesn’t go according to the plan.
Key Learning Outcomes
Figuring out how to run this event on Zoom was the most difficult aspect, and certainly required preparation! It was interesting how Zoom changed the nature of the session. Typically, part of the idea of Startup Fair is to give fellows a chance to repeatedly pitch their startup and to change and refine their story as they go. However, due to constraints over Zoom, this wasn’t possible so we had to change the structure to a two-stage tournament format. Although this did allow fellows to have more feedback time, it was a shame that the vast majority of fellows were only able to pitch once.
I personally enjoyed the session. As this was one of my first times publicly pitching my startup, coming second overall gave me confidence, particularly ahead of speaking with investors and starting our fundraising round.
If I were to run this session again, I would look to bring in more guests and feature them more as part of the overall session. There were some instances where fellows weren’t necessarily able or best placed to provide constructive feedback - so having more experienced input could have been valuable.
I enjoyed working with Daniel. We both felt the session ran smoothly, and although it might have been better to hold in person, we believe it was valuable for fellows despite the constraints of being online.
Having prior experience of running online pitch competitions certainly was the main factor that allowed us to stay in the time frames and run the session smoothly. For me the most difficult part was having to look after the session and pitch my own startup at the same time.
Looking back, I would spend more time on rehearsing my pitch and less on micro-managing the class, as fellows totally understand the complexity of both tasks and Leo was always there to help in case I needed it. Personally it felt really good to pitch my idea to other founders before customers or investors. Not only do they truly listen to every word you say, but also offer the most comprehensive feedback and spot mistakes you both have.
Really enjoyed working with Leo and was very happy to co-host the first class of the cohort. We tried to benefit from the online format, which I believe takes less time to prepare than a live class if you ask someone to help with Zoom.