As we observe in Dragons Den, the process of pitching a business idea before a panel of judges is daunting, to say the least. A stage sweat, worsened by the overhead lights, and the loud sound of expectation and applause are enough to send most people home. But Allia’s Impact Accelerator cohort know the run-down for pitching, having practiced virtually about once a month for the past six months. That said, only some participants have ever presented a pitch publicly. A public pitch is an opportunity to garner following, support and financial backing, among other things. It is also a way to practice and prepare for more pitches!
Discussions with programme participants tell of high hopes for the upcoming Demo Day, its turnout and its outcomes for the presenters. The following three businesses each have different goals in mind for Demo Day.
First, there is Mya Gooding-Springer and her Swap Shop, a social fashion swapping application where users can swipe left or right on pre-loved items. This subscription-based innovation solves the real issue of clothing in landfills. Truly, the equivalent of one truckload of clothing arrives in a landfill every second! According to Mya, Demo Day is a perfect platform for showcasing her solution, for attracting investors and for involving experts from the sector who could join her as advisors, and for networking in general. These meaningful connections can help Mya and her circular economy app progress quickly on toward full launch.
Another business, Litta, founded by Matt Pollen and Ian Thompson, gamifies the fight against litter and creates a platform for crowdsourced litter data. Litta turns mobile gamers into citizen scientists through a Gamification of Things process. Matt explains that Demo Day will allow the co-founders to refine their messaging to an unfamiliar audience and to highlight their key value propositions. It will also provide a space for showing off Litta’s product design. Matt hopes to gain seed investment from the pitch to accelerate his user testing.
A third presenter, Elissa Brunato, is equally looking for investment. Her business, Radiant Matter, creates shimmering yet biodegradable sequins for the textile industry, reducing dependence on petroleum and minimising pollution by micro-plastics. This next-generation colour and materials solution for the circular economy has the power to push the fashion industry on toward greater sustainability. Aside from investment, Elissa is seeking a wider network from participation in Demo Day. With a business plan and pitch as shiny as her own, Elissa is sure to attract the attention she desires!
As the lights from the pitch day cool and programme and event participants head for the snacks and champagne, the success of Demo Day will become clear. Networking gives way to partnership for some presenters and attendees, with funding opportunities also lining the horizon. Some founders find volunteers willing to contribute at the pre-launch stage in areas of social media management and content writing. Other founders make friends in new circles, offering their own mentoring to earlier-stage entrepreneurs.
The three featured Impact Accelerator businesses, Mya, Matt and Elissa, are astounding examples of what Allia’s accelerator programmes can facilitate. Sign up for Demo Day here, and stay tuned for more on Allia’s programmes, events, and accelerators by following the Future Business Centre on LinkedIn or by signing up for our newsletter.