Entrepreneur stories: Participating in an accelerator program (Part 2)
If you haven’t read 1st part you can find it bellow:
So we (Whatagraph.com) have finished Rockstart accelerator program, and I am back on track after few months catching up (alright it’s more than few months — always thinking what to write right :)) ), what was left behind during the program. And I feel great! And I know, I will never be the same, like I was before — I know where to head the product which we are developing for more than year (2 years 3 months, to be clear). So I want to thank Rockstart & Amsterdam, for giving the right tools to open the world.
PS. Actually one year passed when we’ve participated in Rockstart!! Quite good anniversary to be written about!
During the last two months of the program we have been focusing more on the meeting investors, preparing our pitch deck for the final day, and of course a lot of pitch practise.
Meetings with the investors have been taking place in the Ballroom (Most beautiful place in Rockstart), where we had dinners with the investors with roundtables, white “sheets”, and of course tasty “gourmet” food. It was quite interesting set-up, because it is way more attractive and informal to talk with the investor about your ideas while eating tasty food (I think it helped to break the ice). I also enjoyed to hear really interesting story from one of the investors about how he became investor (and he is big one!), how he brought satellite television to The Netherlands, how he exited that business, and how he established other businesses, which developed TV industry back there.
Overall, dinners were really good networking activity, which led me contacting with investors ranging from Angels to VC’s.
Pitch deck preparation x100 times
Pitch deck… It will never be the perfect one, but still you need to try to reach the perfect one, what we think we have managed to do for the last BIG DAY — Demo Day pitch.
Before the perfect pitch-deck we had a lot of different versions, and the last one changed a lot from the first one — that means we grown a lot as a company, as a team, and we have managed to purify our idea, market and other parts of the business. I still remember all the team working in the office last day before D-day till midnight, because we’ve made a pivot with the pitch deck last night, but the best ideas comes when they want to. The night was really stressfull, because D-day was ahead in early morning.
I still remember myself taking a ride in the cab heading to the venue and rehearsing the speech, arriving to the venue — repeating it again.
As mentioned before Preparation for the D-day was really intense time for all the team — we needed to prepare the deck, make the visuals and of course know the speech itself (I can still remember the night before that day, my dreams were covered with the rehearsals :) ).
The day has started unusual compared to other days in Rockstart — we all gathered to the venue, had breakfast together and tried to relax before the event for which we have been preparing all the time. There was stress hiding in all the speakers faces, but we all stayed strong!
First — final rehearsals, and my speech didn’t sound perfect, to be honest — it was a total crap. A lot of mistakes, missing structure…
But when the time has come to give the FINAL and the best speech of those 4 months — it was perfect! Now I know, that it really depends either it’s rehearsal speech or the final one.
After the pitches we all had few hours representing our companies in our booths, so the investors were stepping by, and asking the questions.
Of course after exhausting day we had really great PARTY!! :)
Also I want to give a big THANK YOU to all the fellow startups and of course our program director — Rutger van Waveren and program associate — Arthur Muller, you guys ROCK! It was a pleasure to work with you guys!
Also I would like to point out biggest impactors to our success at Rockstart — The Mentors: Harry Klein, Wouter Neyndorff, Joost Niepoth, Ilyaz Nasrullah, Christina Calje, Roeland Boonstoppel and of course team Rockstart — Don Ritzen, Rune Theill, Oscar Kneppers.