The Startup Fair

The Startup Fair

This initial 'Startup fair' was all about pitching our start-ups to our fellow SLP attendees. It was the first session after the initial intro session in the previous week, hence it was a good time for us to conduct this sort of exercise as we didn't really know each other’s start-ups that well.

The aim of the session was to hone our 'elevator pitch' type presentations through a series of speed dating-esque interactions with the other fellows. In addition, we received feedback from our peers on our idea and pitching style - this was very valuable. 

The setup

Kicking off with the book recommendations, I suggested 'the mom test' and 'The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen'. The mom test is a great practical guide on how to understand and validate a problem with potential customers, by asking the right type of exploratory questions. The second book, The Saffron Tales, is a great new cookbook exploring Persian culture, through their cuisine - some great recipes in there!   

We each had 5 minutes to present our start-up in a way that would convince the 'investors' (our fellow fellows) to invest their 'SLP Pounds' in our business. Within that timeframe we also took on feedback on the pitch and idea. 

Logistically, setting this up was slightly tricky as we had to spread out across 2 or 3 rooms, which presented challenges in communication and alignment to the 5-minute timing!

We also had last year's class CEO (Luca) to spend some time at the end reflecting on his time since the programme and providing advice on crowd-funding. A number of our fellows will be setting up separate time with him to discuss all things crowd-funding in more detail.

We didn't get a chance to reflect on everyone's thoughts and learnings from the session - this would have been valuable, but congrats to Simply Tribal and Hanhaa for winning the product fair session. Some very strong pitching and great story's behind the businesses.

Key learnings

In the future, I'd consider a plenary session by an external speaker in order to set the scene for the product demo, touching on some key learnings from their past experience. 

It can be difficult to convey the essence of your Startup in 2-3 minutes, but it is imperative that we all learn to do so. Many times, this is all the time we'll get to introduce ourselves and our start-ups. In fact, I'd also prepare a 30 second elevator pitch, just in case!

Feedback is very important. So having this sort of speed-dating setup is great for getting initial feedback from peers and given the number of people you speak to there are always some new questions or nuggets of advice given 

Timing is important - it was difficult to police across 3 rooms, but I'd strongly suggest that the next class CEO ensures that the 5-minute timeline is adhered to

As a closing session, It would be worth asking all attendees to discuss their learnings from the pitching and feedback sessions. The discussion would be valuable for all attendees as we could each learn from each other’s experience of the session.