Last year I was invited to pitch HappyFreebie at an angel event organized by Dave Cass, a career connections counselor for MBA students at Leeds. It was a low key event with a couple angel investors in attendance. Let me just point out that not every school has career counselors that organize events for students to pitch to investors. Just one of the reasons why CU is so cool.
Fast forward about a year and we’re right in the middle of making it happen. I was a bit worried about the event because we have a two sided market: angels who want polished teams to be there and teams who want active angels to be there. Luckily, this is Boulder and we have had great support from both sides.
Overall, we had 15 student teams apply for 8 spots, not bad for the first event. We vetted the teams yesterday and chose the winners today, not without much debate. What wasn’t debated was the quality of all the teams. Some of the teams were further along and have more diverse skill sets, but that is nothing that the others can’t get with time.
Our vetting session pared the teams with 3 judges for 10 minute one-on-one meetings. Our goal was to find the teams that were the best according to this criteria: (1) do they have traction, (2) can the team execute, (3) is it a big market, (4) is it a good idea, (5) is the business model clear.
If you know anything about me, you probably know that I loved every minute of that 3 hour session. I loved meeting the entrepreneurs, I love the puzzle of uncertainty and opportunity that each startup represents, and I love digging in to uncover the hidden value or lack thereof. It is like a game that I am getting really good at thanks to the last 2 years at CU and to my experience so far.
Not only have we had a great showing from student startups, but the local angel investors have rallied around this event. We now have 10 angel investors that have confirmed they’ll be there.
The format of this meeting is going to be unlike any other and I hope it will be particularly valuable for students. I wanted to design the meeting so that each of the teams get the maximum amount of feedback in the shortest amount of time. So, the teams will get 5 minutes to pitch their business and two clarifying questions. After all the teams have pitched, we’re going to break out for one-on-one speed feedback sessions with each of the angels.
I’ll let you know how it goes.