Week Nine

We’re into the last third of the R9 Accelerator.

Demo Day is an ever looming spectre.

There’s a giant wall poster showing the number of weeks until Demo Day, a screen in the presentation space that counts down the days; or you can ask Ice_Cube, the slackbot.*

Cropped icecube

I could bust out It’s the final countdown, but I’ll save that for Demo Day itself.

Where we are now is more like Don’t stop the music. Teams are vertical running to the end. They’re going to finish it like cheesecake.

This is the month that teams have to get Pitch Perfect.

Pitching isn’t new for R9 Accelerator teams. They’ve been pitching since day one.

They’ve had to do elevator pitches, parachute pitches (like an elevator pitch but even shorter), and “argh someone has just turned up and told us we have to pitch” pitches.

But as of last week we’ve started talking about their Demo Day PITCH! Yes bold, capital, underline, and an exclamation mark – it’s time to get Dixie Chick serious.

parachute-bunny-01The Demo Day pitch is important because it’s the team’s chance to reach hundreds of influencers and decision makers all at the same time.

That’s right. The pitch that the team is going to have to do in front of over 200 people.

I originally started the previous sentence with “Not to freak anyone out, but”. That would be a stupid thing to say. This will freak people out. 


Parachuting bunny courtesy of Kelcey Braine (http://www.kelceybraine.com/)

This month is about putting in the hard work to make it, maybe not less scary, but at least something that people feel prepared for.


Andrew from MiBiz at last week’s Meet and Experience

The first step in this is to do a first cut of their slide deck – a draft start-to-finish presentation covering all the elements they want to cover.

Teams have been told to start with the Sequoia format – a standard presentation format for pitching to investors. This covers the following topics:

Company purpose, Problem, Solution, Why now, Market size, Product, Team, Business Model, Competition and Financials.

We don’t expect teams to turn out a perfect presentation first attempt. Teams are only just starting to work on their Minimum Viable Products and Business Models.

But the exercise is really important to highlight other gaps in their presentation. Where are the gaping holes? Where are the divots?

Doing this enables teams to plan their remaining time by identifying where the real priorities are and working out how much time can be dedicated to different parts of the puzzle.

Without this bird’s eye view it’s easy to get lost in the detail and find out too late that you were focusing on the wrong worm (I don’t know why it’s the wrong worm – maybe it’s actually someone’s garden hose).

We’ve already had one team pitch from their draft slides (go MiBiz – you crushed it). On Friday every team will have to do this.

It will be Aca-awesome.


* Slack is “an instant messaging and collaboration system on steroids”. Here’s an article about how to use Slack to work better as a team. Slackbot is one of Slack’s features. Here is an article about how cool they are.

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