A hundred carefully selected startups attempted on Tuesday to impress the judges in the Slush 100 pitching competition. Only a lucky 20 were selected to continue to the semi-final on Wednesday, and are a step closer to the big win.
Already early on Tuesday morning the pitching competition drew a good crowd to the Yellow Stage. Companies from 22 different countries and from a wide array of fields got the chance to show why they would be worthy of the €250 000 investment.
The startup companies faced an intense challenge, especially when the pitching competition was scaled down to bare essence – 3 minutes of pitching, no slides, no gimmicks. Although some did bend the rules by for example bringing iPads on stage or play the drums.
“The level is very good and high, but you can see that they are not used to pitching without slides – it can be difficult to know where the core of the innovation is,” a jury member commented after the second batch of competing startups were completed.
When the companies had used their three minutes of pitching, the judges got their say. During a one minute Q&A the startups were grilled with questions about issues such as how they plan to set up their the go-to-market strategy, what the revenue looks like and how well they know their competition.
From five different batches, four startups were selected from each group to go to the semi-final tomorrow morning. During only a few intensive minutes the jury had to select from a variety of companies who were worthy of going forward in the competition.
“They were democratic decisions, we sat down and discussed together. All jury members had their own areas of specialty, and others liked certain concepts, but we wanted to take companies from different areas. It’s important that the startups have an impact”, says Kim Groop, managing partner at KG Ventures, and jury member for the startup group Life Sciences, Health and Wellbeing.
Practice makes perfect
IroFit is one of the companies that were selected to continue from the second Software and services batch. They are a Nigerian company specializing in real-time card payments using GSM-networks.
CEO Omoniyi Olawale has had the change to polish his pitch at the Arctic 15, in Nigeria and the US. According to Olawale the most difficult part was to scale down what he wanted to say into 3 minutes.
Now the main challenge is to sharpen the presentation into a 5 minute pitch, with slides, for the semi-finals on Wednesday morning.
“We have to tweak our pitch. I think we have to hone in the selling points, the traction and the market size,” ponders Olawale and gets agreeing nods from co-founder Olusola Folorunso.
Even if IroFit will fall short from the the prize money, Olawale and Folorunso are already happy with their achievement.
“This is a good opportunity to meet partners and potential customers. It gives us a lot of exposure and the possibility to meet strategic investors and business angels”, concludes CEO Olawale.
The 20 startup companies that were selected for the semi-final on Wednesday:
Follow the semifinal of the Slush 100 pitching competition on the Black Stage on Wednesday starting at 10 o’clock and the final at 16.45 on the Silver stage!