Demo Day and Demo Night

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They say that there comes a time when the world goes quiet and the only sound you can hear is the beating of your heart. It´s important to learn its sound, otherwise, you’ll never understand what it is saying. The time has come. The world is our stage and It´s quiet. We got this and we know it by heart. IT´S SHOW TIME!

8 teams pitched for the selected audience of business partners, VCs, Investors and Angels on the 24th of June. These people understand their heart’s desire. They understand what this is all about: raising sh** loads of money!

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I know I started in the inspiring tone but I couldn´t overcome my – mostly misunderstood – sense of humour. Money is not the key component but it´s essential when starting with business. The key component is the team. The team defines the value and the values of the company. The most important part is the personal growth of the individual in the team, because success is defined by it. It all comes to giving back, when one succeeds it´s about helping others grow, sending the elevator down to pick them up.

Demo Day is focused towards raising the funds needed for the company to grow. It was our first event of this kind and we were eager to make it happen. None of us knew what to expect from our CEO Dejan, but we all had this clear vision that we followed, making the best with what we already had. Remember when I talked about the importance of having a strong team (sure you do, it´s few lines up), anyhow.

Dejan is already familiar with the process and he had this great vision when making ABC a reality. Once upon a time, he also started as a startup, creating his way up, so there is a great link between both sides of business: the accelerator and the startups.

I had the opportunity to interview investors, teams, and visitors after the event. I enjoyed it since there is always this moment when the interviewed person forgets about the camera and the social pressure and speaks straight from the heart. When I asked Paul Scharner, Austrian retired footballer and investor, who was there for the first time, I couldn´t help but sneak into his impression of that day.  It is always refreshing to see someone´s point of view who is there for the very first time, getting introduced to the startup ecosystem. Like I was 2 months ago myself. And look at me now, being a real Pro and all…

I liked the vision of the CEO Dejan Roljič, when he stated that we need to create the perfect infrastructure and a perfect platform, where you can communicate where you are at the moment. I am coming from sports and I have a good awareness of how important the infrastructure is. I believe that this is a great project and it has a great philosophy. And for sure I am looking forward to the opening of accelerator in Salzburg, I am from Austria after all.

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The teams gathered the investors’ attention and the very next day they already had follow-ups from them. Before demo day, the main question that was spooking around at ABC was: what will happen after Demo Day? Everybody is expecting a dramatic end, but at our accelerator, the end is a new beginning. It all starts now. What have you learned, how focused and determined are you, the business plan, the team, everything that you are and you will be, comes to surface now. It sounds sooo dramatic but this is the reality of the acceleration process. Do not apply if you are not sure what you really want, because you might get it. What then?

Since I started in the inspiring tone (and got lost in the middle) let me put a word or two about our guest speakers. Miha Zupanc, the BTC COO as well as other eminent guests joined us on the stage, talking about the importance of good partnership and the giving back to community. When talking about giving back, Darko Đurić, the Paralympic gold winner made a great connection between startups and what he did for living:

Behind every success story is a lot of pain. But the pain should push them forward and let them go beyond their limits.

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All the teams were amazing. The confidence and womanly charm of SmartFuturistic, Inspiring speech from Travel Starter, Humor and spirit of Symvaro, Effortlessness of Styliff, Persona of Facility, Intrigue of Messenger, The real deal of Moveo, and the Boyish Charm of Venxly, made all pitchers stand out! The only problem was, and I am quoting most of the investors from the event; “you had too many great teams! Usually, there is like two top teams per program. Here you have all 8 of them!” Real big problems, we must deal with that later!

After the successful event it is only logical to create an amazing after party! And I´ve decided not to say a word about it. What´s the saying: a picture´s worth  1000 words? Here you have a gallery of 20, so that will be 20000 words for you there. Enjoy the reading and see you on the next demo day!

COUNTDOWN!!!

P.S: I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too. –Steve Martin