It’s here – R9 Accelerator DEMO DAY!!! 14 weeks, 10 teams, countless guests and speakers… Game faces people! #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
I don’t want to ruin the illusion, but there were definitely times on DD that it felt like we were an iceberg. i.e. over 70% of what we were doing was unseen, and all of the guests just saw the polished piece floating above the water…
I think that’s how events are meant to be though!
I spent the morning co-ordinating the print elements, including helping (hold the ladder) while the 8 metre banner was put up outside the venue!
My job on Demo Day had changed earlier in the week… Initially I had been on presentation-duty, where I would be responsible for changing the slides behind the interim speakers, while one team member would be responsible for their team slides. Streamliner, the AV company, was comfortable doing this element though (and meant they were always overseeing their tech still – bonus).
So for me, I was on mic’ duty! New skill acquired! …As the pitcher for each team came off the stage, I removed their country-man microphone and handed it to a runner to take to the tech backstage, who was mic’ing people up.
We had the awesome Anna Guenther, Chief Bubble-blower at PledgeMe (who spoke with the teams a few weeks before) running the show as our MC. And I think that thanks to her prompts at the beginning of the event, along with a great show from the teams, #R9Accelerator managed to trend #1 on Twitter in New Zealand!!!
The auditorium was filled with around 300 guests to hear the seven teams pitch. With members from both the public and private sectors, the pressure was on – especially with some of our esteemed guests taking to the stage, such as Minister…
All of the teams did an amazing job, and it was a real testament to the hard work they’ve put in over the past 14 weeks!
Check out the post-event video with ringing endorsements below.
Anna Guenther, doing an awesome job as MC
Minister Craig Foss addressing the attendees
Grand finale for a full R9 cohort photo!
And if you want to check out how the teams did for yourselves, I’ve created a subsection for each team below.
Lab Tech Life
This week again, I tried to catch up with the teams as much as possible to help shape their decks…
All of the teams were also having meetings with their ‘owners’ i.e. the people who had suggested the opportunities they have been working on.
One of last year’s alumni, John from Nexus Marketplace, came in to talk to the teams about the potential of how his product could help their solutions plug in to government. John has been working on API’s (application programming interfaces) – which means he knows how a lot of the teams’ solutions could integrate with existing softwares.
In our cohort-wide pitching session early in the week, we switched it up a bit.
This time, it was in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format, so there were a combination of public and private sector experts, some CE’s in their own right, who sat and listened to the pitches, before asking the probing questions…
Personally, I think this worked really well for the teams. Teams got (a bit more) used to answering questions about their solution, as they will have to do on Demo Day. It also means that – for this session at least – they have a little bit of time to take on board the comments and amend their pitches and presentations… for my Friday-deadline!
After a gruelling (3-hour) meeting later in the week, we had sign-off for (most) of our Demo Day materials… so then I spent a fair amount of time this week co-ordinating down at the printers!
At the end of the week, I ran through the set-up for all of our slides in the ‘MASTER’ deck with Mike from Streamliner. This was so they could take them all and get set up on their equipment. All of this in preparation to do a full run through, with the teams and audio, on the morning of Demo Day.
Last year’s alumnus, John from Nexus Marketplace, came in to talk to the teams about APIs
Sign-off received, so off to the printers I go…
This was a first chance for the teams to see where they would be pitching, as we took a cohort-wide field-trip down to the Embassy Theatre in Wellington.
Anyone not from Wellington may also know the name, because it happens to be the theatre that all of the premieres for Lord of the Rings were held at!
Tour of Embassy theatre – Outside, what will be a networking area, the view for the speakers, and the stage
Final Cohort meeting
As it was the last Friday before the final pitches, we had our final cohort meeting :’o(
The final cohort meeting celebrated the achievements of the teams so far, and served as a time for encouragement and advice… This included the now renowned guidance from Shawn:
“We love you… but don’t f*** it up”
Then in the afternoon, all teams were challenged to have their full 5-minute pitch presentation, with slides down to a T.
This was also an opportunity for the teams’ chosen introducer to come into the space, introduce the team as they will on Demo Day, and listen to them pitch.
Week Eleven at the R9 Accelerator… Anna Guenther from PledgeMe, Immunity to Change, more Ministers visit and Demo Day prep… #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
As per the previous week or so, I have been working on the print collateral for Demo Day…
I’ve been collating all of the information for our Demo Day booklet.
This is the programme guide for the audience, with the order of pitches and information about the teams and their proposals. Thankfully, I’m not in this alone, and the HitSquad has been on the case. Together, we’ve been writing, or suggesting starting points for the R9 team tag lines, blurbs, collecting their logos and company contact information…
As you saw the other week, we also enlisted the help of awesome resident-photographer Ashley, from Creative HQ, to take updated team photos… Once we have all of these elements, the actual design of the booklet is headed over to local design agency Strategy.
I have been putting together some of the designs for on-the-day items, so the templates for digital elements – as well as the plan of print collateral at the venue.
For all of us, the past week(s) and the upcoming ones are all about pitching…
Listening to the teams pitch, suggesting edits, cuts etc to get their presentations down to 5 minutes… suggestions on what elements should be shown on their slides.
For me, I’ve been setting up ‘one-on-one’ pitch sessions with all of the pitching teams. By one-on-one, I really mean HitSquad and team sessions… In these, we’ve been running through the pitches with a timer. My aim is to provide suggestions and feedback for the visual aspects and how they relate to what is being said.
Crowd-funding – with Anna Guenther, from PledgeMe
Between all of these meetings, more with early adopters and stakeholders, the teams are pretty busy…
Thanks to our cohort-wide trip at Chapman Tripp a few weeks ago, some of the teams will be weighing up what type of business they think will best suit their products; whether their solutions would suit being government-owned, a private company or a public-private partnership. While most of the teams are getting their business proposals written up, they’re looking at what sales models would work best…
And they were given another option to consider, in a session from Anna Guenther, CEO/Chief Bubble Blower at PledgeMe.
Just in case you’ve not come across crowdfunding before, here’s a quick run-down of it. As the name suggests, crowdfunding is a way for lots of people to fund a project. The aim is to meet the target amount with lots of smaller investments.
PledgeMe is New Zealand’s top crowdfunding platform, and has so far helped raise funds for over 1,000 Kiwi-based projects.
Sorry, no pictures – I was paying full attention to what was being said!
It was déjà-vu, as we were again visited by Ministers…
This time Minister English and Minister Joyce came in to hear teams pitch, find out more about their opportunities and solutions – and about the programme as a general.
The pitching teams did great, and all the teams had a chance to talk with the Ministers, who seemed interested in the programme.
I think some of the government employees suffered minor heart-attacks, as both Ministers decided to step onto the office hover boards!
Immunity to Change – with Geoff Harrison and Michael Berger
Later in the week there was also a really interesting session called ‘Immunity to Change’.
Run by Geoff Harrison and Michael Berger from Cultivating Leadership, the workshop is based on the book of the same name by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. The Immunity to Change workshops were developed to help participants identify the reasons why they may find change and coping with change difficult.
This is obviously not something that start-ups or large organisations – whether founder, director or employee – want to struggle with so really interesting to learn more.
The aim is to confront the personal fears, or beliefs, developed consciously or subconsciously over our lives. The theory is that these fears are what cause the ‘immunity to change’ and hinder individuals in achieving their goals. The workshop was good and run with a small group. As it’s such a personal journey, it was definitely a ‘safe-space’ workshop requiring openness and honesty.
By confronting these beliefs, and digging to the root of where, when and why we started to believe them, we can overcome our thought patterns and fears.
For me, it was really interesting, especially to be able to think and process why I’ve approached certain things and made decisions the way I have.
I would definitely recommend reading a little more into the theories, and if you’re looking at developing a more leadership-based role, it might also be useful!