Focused pitching and a more structured organisation. Over the four years Stephan Christgau has been a jury member in the Venture Cup competitions, the organisation has grown – and so have the hopeful start up-entrepreneurs.
One team after another enters the stage and pitches their idea to an exited and cheering audience. Before stepping into the spotlight, the team members are a bit nervous – but there are no panic attacks and they present their ideas clear and focused.
“During the years I have followed the competitions, both the pitches and the business plans have blossomed, and the quality of both are now higher than ever.” Stephan Christgau, investment director at Novo Seeds, has been a jury member at Venture Cup for several seasons, and has also taken part in the relatively new initiative – the pitch training sessions.
Stephan Christgau explains that the training strengthens the value of the ideas: “Even though you can argue that it is a bit artificial presenting your idea in only three minutes, the pitch training is really important, because it is a great tool which helps the teams get more focused: Why is this a good idea? Who are my competitors? What is the business plan?”
A few weeks before the finals in the Venture Cup competitions the teams are invited to a pitch-training event, where they rehearse their pitches and receive constructive feedback from a group of experienced business people, investors and entrepreneurs.
Over the four years Stephan Christgau has been a part of the competitions the structure has evolved as well. Earlier the finals where regional finals – today it is divided in categories.
“In the beginning very different entrepreneurs were competing against each other in regional finals. The ideas went from a project importing bags from Africa versus a project making a new sort of bike stand. It was like comparing apples with bananas. Today the competitions are organised in categories, which means that people with a passion for medical technology compete with others who share the same interest. This brings more quality,” he explains.
The new initiatives make the competitions an even better place to learn and evolve as an entrepreneur.
“You get a unique possibility to get feedback from a group of people that you don’t normally meet, and if the teams have the necessary entrepreneur-gene and prick up their ears, they can really evolve,” he explains, and tells that the competitions are also a great place to connect and share with other impassioned entrepreneurs:
“Perhaps it will not be team A, B or C who creates a huge business. But then it will be somebody from team A combined with somebody from team B and C.”