Counting the weeks to Echelon Asia Summit 2019 this coming May, you may have heard about our TOP100 startup pitching competition (of course), the culmination of our two-day event where new and promising startups take the centre stage. This year, it could be your ideas and your business that experience its own TOP100 journey, as e27’s mission of empowering startups in Southeast Asia gives you the chance of a lifetime.
As e27 always supports aspiring startups in whatever stage they are in, we hope this article gives you — the hopefuls — some sense of control. This one would be the cheat sheet of how you can increase your chances to make it into TOP100 Echelon this year.
The first one is from Ashleigh, one of our own colleagues, who belongs to the team that makes Echelon happen. You can count on his tips to get the attention of investors, which can open many doors for you.
Startups should prepare their pitch decks for a 3-minute pitch and prepare questions that investors would typically ask
There will be around five minutes of Q&A after presentations, so you better come locked-and-loaded with any possible questions that can be raised. From inspiration, business model, revenue stream, margins, technical issues, to founders background, anything is possible. Leave no blind spots.
Be able to show what makes you THE startup above your competitors and bring your industry knowledge as well as your sales skills
There are two skills highlighted here by Ash. Your knowledge of the industry must include how many people will be using your solution and what pain points it solves. Who are the competitors, and how are you different from them? Sell it in a convincing way backed by numbers and tested markets.
Ash’s wise reminder: It’s not only the startup/founder that matters, it’s how much passion you have and how you are able to convince others that yours is a business worth investing in. If you don’t make it, ask why from the investors and learn from it. And if needed, pivot. Pivot fast.
Next, we also spoke to the previous TOP100 finalist at last year’s Echelon, William Suryawan, Co-founder of MyClinicalPro, a healthtech startup based in Indonesia. William gave his side of the experience and what he and his startup did in order to secure a seat at TOP100.
Startups need to prepare a clear and visionary purpose of why they built their startup
William shared that he was once asked about his purpose in building MyClinicalPro, and he couldn’t answer well. Since the encounter, he got to think through his real purpose of building his startups, and it involves the solving elements that bring value and tackling an ongoing problem that will have a significant impact to the nation.
“Well, long story short, after figuring out what the big purpose in building my startup was, I defined the long-term vision that was not only from one specific problem, but also from what we want to see how digital technology could improve the health, beauty, and wellness of Indonesia people,” he added.
Now ask yourself the same question and begin with a kickass “Why?”
Bring a clear business model and uniqueness to the stage
“For me at that time, I needed to be able to breakdown the purpose of my startup with a clear statement of what problems I wanted to solve, how would I solve it, and the impact it has brought so far,” William recalled.
There’s a connection between a clear purpose of why you want to develop your startup and how will you improve your startup in the future that needs to be presented. This should be the basis of your business model.
In regards to uniqueness, William emphasised the importance of delivering the unique element of your company, as your startup will be compared with others that offer similar products or services. “By the end of your explanation, the investors should be able to think that your startup is bringing something different and valuable enough for them to want to know more,” said William.
William’s wise reminder: You may have a long answer to each question because you are the founder and you know inside out about your startup. But aim to make your answers concise and clear to avoid distraction and undelivered message. You need to ensure the investors can discern your message precisely within the limited time provided by Echelon.
William then shared the questions he prepared to answer for the Q&A stage during his TOP100 moment:
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- What is your solution to the problems?
- What is the impact you have made so far?
- What is your business growth or traction so far?
- What is your revenue structure?
- What is your plan for your startup?
- How will you execute?
- Who will execute?
- What do you expect from the one who listens to you at this moment?
“Crucial thing to do during Q&A is to bring your partner to stage. You might not understand everything in detail and you never expect what question will be asked and how detailed it can get. Good teamwork also plays a role here,” said William.
Now that both sides have given their tips, it could really be your year!
William further added, “The good thing about TOP100 is that it can open your startup to new opportunities because the one who listens to you might be potential investors, strategic partners, or even big customers.”
This year’s TOP100 will be played differently as the pitching sessions will be private, meaning that the only audience will be the investors.
The startups will also need to stick around (or come back) for the event in the evening called Echelon Roadshow, as that’s where the announcement of the startups that qualify for TOP100 at Echelon Asia Summit 2019 will be made.
If you haven’t registered, please do your startup a favor, and submit your TOP100 application here.