It’s day 87 of TechStars Seattle. It’s also the last day of the program. The incubation program culminates with an event this afternoon called Demo Day where more than 400 angel investors, VCs and press will watch ten companies pitch their vision in just six minutes.
Six minutes. That’s all you get to impress the audience, hoping that it will be enough to lure interested parties after you get off stage.
My startup, EveryMove, is one of the ten startups.
The past three months at TechStars had significant impact on my startup, and I’m sure it did for the nine others as well.
We didn’t sleep much, and when we did it was often to catch quick nap on a couch in the office. It was common to come to the office on weekends and see other teams building their product, practicing their pitch or exchanging ideas. Spouses, kids and life in general took a backseat on this journey. (See also: TechStars ruins your sex life)
There were 21 entrepreneurs and investors who gave talks at our offices. We had nine pitch-practice sessions with all of the teams, where each of us, including investors and guests, would ask questions, critique and make suggestions.
Another 35 or so entrepreneurs, investors and guests had office hours, meeting one-on-one with each team for 30-minutes. In total, my co-founder, Russell Benaroya and I probably pitched EveryMove 100 times during this period. The result — after testing slides, lines and audience reaction — is a very compelling pitch for your company.
However, the pitch is just the beginning.
Although TechStars is an intense training camp towards Demo Day, the feedback and questions you get make you question and adjust your strategy for the business itself. We weren’t one of the teams who pivoted our business (about half of the teams did) but this period helped us create a more robust product and business roadmap.
The product itself took a beating, primarily because it’s very hard to code while meeting with so many mentors and participating in so many strategy discussions. Our product would be at a much more advanced stage of development if we had not participated in TechStars. On the other hand, we feel a lot more confident in the direction and the quality of the product we are building.
As we close this chapter of EveryMove’s story, we open a new and much more important one. We now must create a sustainable business that improves the lives of millions of individuals. TechStars set us up for a very good start on this long journey.
It raises the bar on the why, what and how you should build a team, a product and ultimately a successful business. I’m very thankful for this opportunity and I’d certainly take my next company through this process again.
But, please, don’t tell my family that.
Previously on GeekWire: Where are they now? An update on the TechStars Class of 2010… TechStars ruins your sex life