With this year’s Fusion Fellows becoming more familiar with each other, the Fusion team, and the Fusion ecosystem, we’ve been able to turn our attention to more individual coaching and support. As the fellows get prepared for our investor track, here’s what Fusion has been up to the past few weeks:
GTM Program Completion
Halloween and the turn of the month was the end of our mentor matchmaking. Connecting our Fellows to experts in their industry has helped pave the way for strategic connections in the future, and fulfillment in working on the venture together from both sides. Not only does this help to bring the Fusion ecosystem together, but in fragmented Swiss markets, having a guide to help you along the way has been a key to the success of our Fellows in the field.
With the last days of the GTM program, we turn towards more one-on-one coaching with our Fellows, to better understand their specific needs. One day in particular we spend with the Fellows shows a true transformation: The Avengers.
Simply put, the Avengers day is a deep, collaborative, interactive session with concentrated groups of the Fellows, focusing heavily on improving pitches. Though we try as humans not to “judge a book by its cover,” the first impression we leave can make a world of difference. For a startup, this could be the difference of missed or won opportunities. There are often different scenarios, different audiences, and different messages that need to be conveyed depending on the situation. Though many have learned their pitch confidently, Fusion looks to push further, and pull from the expertise of our team and the Avengers to help them rediscover and rethink their various pitches.
Who are the Avengers you ask? None other than Fusion’s best and brightest — Fusion team members, partners, and others close to us who have bought and sold companies, build them from the ground up, and have been reworking value propositions for years.
The real impact of the day shines through when comparing the pitch at the beginning of the day to the end. With input from other Fellows and the Fusion team, we see many pitches change in front of our eyes from a clutter of information to powerful storytelling that grabs and calls audience members to act and reach out. If you haven’t revisited your own pitch after two years of business development, fundraising, and experience, it might not be a bad idea 😉
Innovation in Sustainable Finance
With Global Entrepreneurship Week happening all over the world this October, we at Fusion knew we needed to get involved.
When considering what type of event we might want to put on, one topic continued to rise to the surface: sustainable finance. With Geneva being a hub of international organizations and financial institutions, we decided to bring all these players together for a panel discussion, and worked together with Sustainable Finance Geneva and the University of Geneva’s Investment Club to put on a spectacular show.
On our panel we had:
- Lombard Odier, one of the largest private banks in Switzerland
- Sustainable Finance Geneva, a leading organization and platform for sustainable finance in Geneva
- Mt Pelerin, a blockchain Fintech startup which recently made headlines as the first company in history to tokenize their shares and have it recognized under the same protections as other shares by Swiss law.
- Eversend, a Fusion Fellow and mobile-based alternative to banking, offering financial services to the unbanked and underserved.
- Bernd Balkenhol, a microfinance professor at the Geneva School of Economics and Management, as well as being creator and director of the Social Finance Program at the International Labour Organization.
There were countless insights about the state of sustainable finance, Geneva’s role and reputation, the changing trends, and the future, but here are a few key takeaways we particularly found interesting:
- A recurring problem is the difference between what is being reported and what is actually happening, whether it be environmental, social, or governance.
- The challenge with this discrepancy is partially due to the different reporting standards that exists, and that there is no universal reporting standard; different organizations use different standards for different cases. This makes Geneva a unique place to have new frameworks tested, being a financial hub and hosting a multitude of international organizations, including the United Nations.
- Startups and technological innovations like blockchain might be a key to solving some of the finance world’s greatest problems. Liquidity and transparency in particular are likely to be impacted and improved in the coming years.
With one of the largest turnouts we could host at Fusion, it was an evening with clear interest. Seeing an audience so engaged with a topic like sustainable finance is an indicator that this sort of topic needs further discussion and awareness. For Fusion, we were happy and encouraged to foster more of these discussions and act as a hub to for creating change.
Meet the Press
To cap off the GTM track, it was time for our Fellows to get up close and personal with the media.
Getting press exposure might seem to some as a reactionary reward: if I’m doing something interesting, I’ll eventually get published for it. Though this may be true, it doesn’t help to incorporate press releases and news coverage into your overall strategy. Being able to communicate properly with journalists, reporters, and any news outlet can become a critical component of business development and building a sales pipeline, if done correctly.
We kicked off with a loaded panel of Geneva journalists:
- Marjorie Théry from Bilan
- Denise Barra from OPI
- Sébastien Ruche from Le Temps
After giving a bit of their own history, our panel was able to share some of the secrets to getting the attention of the press, what they look for, and more.
We weren’t going to have our Fellows sit back and relax — it was time to stand up and be challenged! The more opportunities to practice pitching, the better. Getting direct feedback from our expert panel helped our Fellows get into the shoes of a journalist who might be interested in writing about them, and the particular details of their pitch that catches the world’s attention.
With all of this behind us, it’s now time to turn towards the investor track, an action-packed five days with the investor side of Fusion’s ecosystem to cover tactical raising approaches, VC evaluation, and more.
If you’re looking to join an exciting startup or improve your own application skills, join us next Tuesday for Job Night: The expertise of hiring and getting hired. 💥
If you’re interested in becoming more engaged with Fusion, don’t ever hesitate to reach out. 🚀
Author: Connor Brooks