What is your role at a seed-stage pitching event?
Most of the audience at pitching events aren’t investors, most of the time, they’re just interested parties — this post is for interested parties. You are part of the ecosystem in some way, maybe a founder, an employee at a startup or an organisation that plays a supporting role in the ecosystem and/or you are a future founder.
Your job is not to work out how this startup won’t work and try to expose it on stage.
During the Pitches:
You aren’t an investor, so you should be evaluating:
- What knowledge-from-experience do I have that may be useful for the founder/startup
- What skillset do I have that that may be useful for the founder/startup
- Who do I know, with either knowledge-from-experience or skills, that may be useful for a founder/startup
Your job is to work out where and how you can best support the startup.
Most people seem to think that this is their opportunity to pick a startup apart — it shouldn’t be.
A simple heuristic to determine whether you should ask a question is:
If your question isn’t asked out of curiosity, don’t ask it.
After the pitches:
- If you are curious about some part of their startup, ask the founder about it.
- If you have something to add to the startup founder (knowledge-from-experience, skill set, network), go and offer it.
- If you think you spotted a hole in their logic, speak to the founder one-on-one.