Sunday, 5 November 2017

#EnspireIgnitionWeek : MY SECOND PITCH


I would do myself a great displeasure if I do not do a blogpost on their recently completed Enspire Ignition Week '17. But a backdrop story would definitely be important. So that you my awesome readers would understand what is so unique about Enspire Incubator.

So first, in case you don't know what an incubator is. It's literally a place where you bring your rough ideas for a business and they guide you through building the idea, creating a value proposition, testing it's viability, launching it's first version and then to creating a minimum viable product with a bit of traction.

When they are done refining your rough ideas into a working business. You can then move unto accelerator programs like Ventures Platform where you get trained and funded to scale your business that would've already had an initial team as well as an MVP with a bit of traction.



After accelerators are done with you and you grow your business, you are left to either grow organically or raise further funds from Venture Capitals and Angel Investors.


Despite the fact that I put things in this order, nothing is set in stone. You can bootstrap your way to success. You can incubate, grow organically and scale on your own. You can start, gain traction and get angel investors unto your projects. There is no specific track to build your Startup. Although Some Entrepreneurs could be very fortunate to raise enough money from grants (NSA- no strings attached). The best! LOL.



But down to the main issue at hand.......

ENSPIRE IGNITION WEEK '17


Backdrop

It's important to network with people online as well as at offline events. I had first heard about Enspire Incubator through Madam Nkoyo (@nikky_hr) on Twitter and she told me that a visit to Enspire Incubator would enable me refine my ideas late last year. I never went.

 I then met Tochi, CEO, Smarter Languages Academy (A startup that looks to ensure that there are no language barriers in the world) at a SheLeadsAfrica "Boost your Business with Facebook" Training at Ventures Platform and she told me about Enspire Incubator. I still didn't come. Funny yeah?

I then had a pitch event with a couple of young startup Entrepreneurs where most of them that attended that pitch event were from Enspire Incubator most notably Victor of Workspace (A startup that looks to connect young startup Entrepreneurs with affordable workspaces all across Nigeria).

After 3 individual encounters that were all about Enspire. It definitely became imperative that I came around to see what was cooking at Enspire Incubator and my experiences there have been amazing, I definitely feel part of the family. You should come around and see how young people are constantly collaborating to solve issues all around the world especially focused on business that help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals either directly or indirectly.

Interesting yeah?


I had gotten invited to take part in their Enspire Ignition Week '17 event and I applied to pitch at the event. 

PS: I am definitely not going to give the full gist so that you would feel sad that you were not part. I am just going to give you enough information for you to visit Enspire Incubator and find out what new startups they are cooking up. Investors this is the best place to start watching out for the next amazing Entrepreneurs.

DAY 1


I was like this on the first day


I definitely was ignited before anything even started. TBH (To be honest) I am always ignited/gassed/buzzed at any event on Startups or Entrepreneurship. LOL.

The highlights of the day were the Journey of Entrepreneur (Startup Lifecycle) taken by Fola from Ventures Platform where I understood that an MVP doesn't really have to be a website. Yes you heard me right.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE RUNNING A WEBSITE FOR YOU TO HAVE 'E-BUSINESS'. 


Be smart, start your business before you get a website. Don't allow web designers to finish your money before you even start. Start as small as possible to convince yourself and others around you that money is worth putting into the business.

There was also a Fireside Chat on What makes an Entrepreneur? moderated by Yusuf Zakari (CEO, Asusu.ng, a startup that looks to help low income earners build cooperatives and buy items at cheaper rates) where he spoke with experienced entrepreneurs on what factors make an Entrepreneur, albeit a successful one. I remember asking one of the panels representing "Tech4her" where to find young women developers to balance out my startup team that is currently made up of 3 very dedicated young men. She became a bit defensive, albeit attacking, with a "feminist" tone that I could find coder ladies in the same hubs with coder guys. Although this is true, I can argue that there are actually coding groups that are specifically 'girls only'. Reach out to Abocoders www.abocoders.org.ng if you need any coding work done by a set of amazing ladies. They are good at what they do.

There was a final fireside chat moderated by Simi Olusola, funny enough, I heard she's even the Founder of Abocoders (what a coincidence right?!). I had even had a chat with them over twitter when I was first thinking of getting a website done for my startup company HubbonNG  www.hubbonng.com. (Yes I put the link there for you to click on it and try us out).

Okay back to the point at hand...

She moderated a Fireside chat on Entrepreneurial challenges and opportunities within the ecosystem and the first lady that spoke to me about Enspire Incubator on Twitter (@nikky_hr) was on the panel. (Another coincidence!)

PS: I am definitely turning into a coincidence master. LOL


The first day was proper amazing and a good taster session for the next days.

DAY 2- MASTERCLASSES


This day was specifically for masterclasses. I attended the product development and validation class moderated by Taopheek Babayeju. The nuggets he dropped about developing a product that customers would like. He also noted the need to developing a Product Development Plan with a Non-disclosure agreement to ensure that your developers keep according to the schedule and plans stipulated in the documents. Although I feel personally, it's better to keep developers in-house to prevent stories that touch. Let them be part of the process and build the company with you. You cannot eat your cake and have it.


DAY 3 - THE PITCH DAY


This day for sure was the funniest day. I was so nervous that I got to the event at 9am when it was slotted to begin registrations at 10am. It was literally written all over my face.


I met with some of the organising team of the Enspire Ignition Week and they were definitely surprised to see me. I had to act like I knew I was an hour early. LOL. But I quickly settled in and went through my presentation and made a few changes.

The event started with a couple of incubated startups at Enspire to give presentations on their businesses and how they've been able to grow since they were incubated at Enspire. From Tochi of Smarter Languages Academy to Faith Ayegba of BarnsConnect and others that I seem to have forgotten. LOL.

They quickly went ahead to introduce the judges and they began the pitching contest. As they began to call in the startups that were to pitch, I began to feel as though my temperature was rising and it definitely had to be malaria because I felt you know I am used to this "pitch thing". LOL. You would think that I have pitched about 200 hundred times.

I was so surprised to be called on first, but I was certainly graceful in standing up and picking up the mike. So I began to speak and 30 seconds into my talk as I was getting into explaining my "enchanting startup story", I was quickly stopped by the Judges to start a stop watch to ensure that the crowd can see that each contestant was being timed fairly.

LOL. On a low, it is obvious that people that pitch first are guinea pigs, it's a rule of thumb, Never be first.

So they reiterated the rules. 4 mins pitch, Winner $2,000 with $350 Facebook ads, First Runner up, $1500 with $300 Facebook ads and the Second Runner Up $1000 with $250 Facebook ads. Or something of that nature.

So I began again trying to get back to the initial ginger, but it didn't just click like the first time around, perhaps because the stop watch was glaring in front of me and time started to speed up all of a sudden. I iterated my idea, went through it pretty well and when the time started coming upon me, I started to rabble through key information just in order to finish. It wasn't so bad I though. I knew I wasn't going to win.

The second guy came and spoke about his company "Ajo" a personal savings scheme company that helped people split their savings into tasks. Pretty sweet idea but it is humanly impossible to go through 15 slides in 4mins. So his presentation was cut short quarter way though. Tough luck.

The guy after him presented his investment company, Innovest, that enabled startups and angel investors and venture capitals to interact seamlessly on his platform. It was great, but it has the similar problem with mine, more text, minimal pictures.

Victor of Workspace had his co-founder present their co-working space startup and they did a pretty okay job. We definitely both knew that there was room for improvement in both our presentations.

To be honest yeah, there were about 10 startups that pitched on the day, but for the love of me, I can't remember a couple of them, their startups didn't exactly stick out very much.

The worst feeling taking part in a competition isn't in coming 5th or 6th or even last in the competition. At least then you know that you there are a lot of things that you would need to change in your presentation and in the general idea to ensure that it is appealing. I came 4th. ( I like to say that I was the 3rd Runner Up to give myself hope, but the truth is that I just won myself a pat on the back and a good thank you for coming around. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy the experience and networking with potential customers, partners and investors are opportunities that I appreciate at such events like this. 

Should I stop?.....

I am sure you guys are wondering who won... 

Just Chill, I would start from the business that should've missed the event for me to come third and win something at least. LOL. No hate.

3rd Position (2nd Runner Up): SCUTA (Smart City Urban Transport App)

They had an idea of having and Uber for bus services. Where people can book buses from their homes and the bus would select its route based on where the orders come from that lie along the same route. They claimed that it would save you from walking long distance to the nearest bus stop. They are still in the product development phase, but have been running market testing runs with about 4 buses around Abuja.

2nd Position (1st Runner Up): Facetunez

These guys are basically Snapchat and Smule all in one designed for the African market. Apparently they have already raised an investment of $20,000 dollars and have sealed advertisement deals for Dangote and one other big company. They are basically an augumented reality marketing platform for big brands. They look to create more African-oriented filters with Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba hats and face designs etc etc so that Africans can relate to it. I really related to this idea, it was a good one and he sold it really well. I think they are still in product development phase.

1st Position (Winner): LegitCar




Click here to visit their site: Legitcar

Overall they had the most captivating argument that most of the audience related with and their CEO pitched his startup with enough time to spare. He was at ease and confident in passing across his message.

In fact, I want to be like him when I grow up. LOL.

His idea is centred around rampant car theft that came as a result of the despair that the APC government put the masses in as a result of "fighting corruption". Well before I disappear like Nnamdi Kanu, please I was just playing.... LOL

But yeah, his business urges people to register the details of their stolen vehicles on their app and advises those people that are in the processes of purchasing cars in Nigeria to check the details of purchase on their website to ensure that the car that is being purchased is not a stolen vehicle. Really simple yeah.

You want to know my opinion...

The event was an idea pitch, people that have blown shouldn't pitch at it. LOL it's all jokes, it's not like HubbonNG is still an idea lol. LegitCar  has qualified for uncountable awards most recently the HIIL Justice awards and are getting ready for some "undisclosed fee" investment. 

Apart from my bad belle, I have to be extremely honest. LegitCar takes the front row as a social impact startup in Africa. Helping people to find their stolen cars and preventing others from purchasing stolen cars and working with the Police to recover stolen vehicles. It is a win-win for everyone involved. And they earn as a result of truly helping people. That's amazing in my book!

He deserved to be the winner. I knew that. His idea was succinct, delivery was great and people related to his startup and through that he won the hearts of the judges, the audience and even me as a competitor.



LESSONS

'In life, you wouldn't grow if you don't take lessons from your experiences and reinvent yourself.'

I know that I would pitch at many more events and I have learnt quite a lot of new techniques that were displayed by more experienced pitchers than myself and I decided to look into more opportunities as a result of that. I believe one thing that keeps me going, give your best at whatever you do but know this, whenever you don't get something, it is probably because;

1. You're still not at your very best at that thing.
2. What you need is around the corner because  that competition is not everything. For me it was meeting potential investors and customers. Already working on setting up meetings to blog about certain Entrepreneurs that attended that event and bringing them on as clients of HubbonNG. We all know it's not about winning today, but on the macro-level, it's winning in the long run. I feel as  I was aware to see that I could win differently and you should too.
3. It's practice for a much bigger win. There has been things that I have done in the past that I never just felt were relevant or I did just for the money and I have realized in hindsight that the things I had done have played a part one way or the other to what I am currently doing now.

'All your experiences, bad or good, with the right perspective to life, would lead you to even greater victories.'

Insider Joke alert: "Man's didn't win the pitch because evidently man was never hot. LOL"

Okay I am done now!

I hope you enjoyed reading this just as much as I enjoyed writing this,

Best regards,

Muna Ejieji
(HubbonNG)

3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this piece @Muna Ejieji. I hope you do better next time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you thank you for enjoying the read just as much as I enjoyed writing it. Life is a learning process and from every experience we learn something new. I am new at the business of pitching but I think I am already doing good. Would definitely do better next time. Best wishes!

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    2. Don't forget to subscribe to the blog. Thanks!

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