Rev up your engine, it’s Demo Day
Getting the opportunity to pitch to investors was a real treat. At first, it seemed really intimidating, just like starting the start-up projects. But by the time they each introduced themselves the atmosphere had shifted. Hearing all their accomplishments through the years got my adrenaline pumping as if it was a real demo day. It was pretty incredible to hear that people whom were doing actual jobs and big money investments would take the time to come listen to us.
First off, Demo day really felt so real, our team prepared to the nines. We wanted to make sure our business model appeared sound, they loved our idea, and that we sounded as legitimate as some of the other teams. I think having the investors present helped us out before even getting to Demo day in that it pushed us to really develop the other portions of our project. For example, I had been the leader on the financial model, and prior to that point in preparing it for Demo day, I don’t think I understood our business so well. It became clear to me what made everything run, like the gas to car. Prior to that we had a cool ride with no fuel, but demo day gave us the adrenaline to push through and really understand out product.
Additionally, I think the process of pitching really brought our team together. In the times we practiced or prepped it felt like an even playing field. I feel like I almost took more away from my team than directly from the investors, which is the most I’ve ever gotten out of any group project before. Again, this was due the reality of the process. We unanxiously pointed out where we could get better and where we were doing well. I don’t think we would have felt those pressures of reality without having the investors present at demo day.
The actual day felt nerve wracking… initially. But something really neat (once again!) about this process was the fact that once we got up there and started talking to people who had not heard us before, I think it was clear that we had sold ourselves on our product. It felt like a glove telling these strangers about our product. Suddenly they weren’t investors, just strangers that hadn’t heard our idea before. During the pitch, this comfort level with our product helped us really talk to the investors in a down to earth way, that I think is necessary for the style of our application.
The feedback the investors provided to all the teams was invaluable. First off, it was really amazing that they actually clearly cared about further understanding our developments and giving us the tools to make them better did we so desire. It also proved to me that all the effort was worth is because these individuals really knew what they were talking about. One of the investors pointed out a possible hitch in our business model that did not even cross my mind, although it should have. It’s experience and tuned eyes like theirs that, if we wanted to make our app, would help not only give us the confidence to do it, but get us off the ground. This process taught me that investors are not only a piggy bank in the start-up world, but a presence that pushes you to be the best entrepreneur you can be.