Adaptavate's founder's diary - part II


We are curious, Tom. How do you prep for a start-up competition? What can you give young entrepreneurs on their way?

Preparation is the key. If you do it well, you walk into the room feeling like you are in a strong position and can take everything in your stride. If you don’t do enough of it - you constantly are surprised and caught off guard by the changing situations and scenarios. Before any competition of course you know your product, market, ROI, commercialization strategy etc. You know it because you live and breathe it! The stuff that is more likely to catch you off guard is the questions at the end of your pitch, the names of the judges, changes in timings etc. Before I go to any competition, I know the judges names and faces and where they come from and what their experience is - this informs me a little more about what questions they may ask me at the end of the pitch or in conversation. It’s also nice to be able to shake their hand, introduce yourself and greet them by their name. Things like this go a long way…even better if you know what their latest product/report/article is! 

I also make sure I know the other companies - that’s key - so you know a little about what you are up against and nothing is a surprise to you on the day. It’s also nice to know the space that you are going to pitching in so you can adapt your pitch, tone and voice level to that space - that is super important -there is nothing worse than being in a small room with someone that is blasting their pitch to you like they were addressing 3000 people! 


Is there any key recipe that could inspire our readership regarding a start-up competition? What is there to keep in mind?

There are 3 main things to keep in mind at events like the Green Alley Award:

  • Remain positive in yourself and idea/product. Be honest about what problems/challenges you have, but be positive in the way you communicate these. It is a strength to identify the current weaknesses and to have a plan on how you are going to address them in the future.
  • When at the event, always consider who you are speaking to and what is their context / drivers / expertise. This will enable you to see the world from their position and therefore enable you to communicate your ideas with them with clarity and relevance. There is no point giving a long list of your amazing value propositions and pricing structure when you are speaking to a top researcher that is looking for exciting research projects. They can still be a potential collaborator (and a really important one), but are not necessarily driven by your endless value propositions and latest cool pricing structure. Talking to them about the areas of your product/concept needs further testing and what commonalities it has to do with their field of expertise. 
  • Breathe….simply! Keep breathing! It can be a high pressure environment and one can forget to get the oxygen into our lungs! If we don't breathe our bodies and brains do funny things! And don't drink too much of the free booze (At least until after the pitch)!


Tell us a little bit more: How did the Green Alley Award help you and what happened after winning it?

The win at the GA was validation of our Breathaboard concept really. Especially as it was held in Germany and there were so many other great ideas there! It really gave us the confidence in the product concept and the support after was truly brilliant. We have started a number of conversations in Germany off the back of the PR support that we had as a result of winning and these may still lead on to some great outcomes…watch this space!

The GA team is really helpful in supporting us to help us think about our business in the European market and connecting us with others in relevant fields. So much so that through their connections I am speaking at the Houses of Parliament in London in May! Now that is tangible proof if ever I have seen it…thanks Green Alley!