Last Sunday, the five winners of the Swisscom Startup Challenge boarded LX38 to fly out to San Francisco for a week full of business meetings, investor pitches and challenging of their business models. So far, the startups had 38 individual meetings, did 12 investor pitches and had to drive 1´024 miles to meet with potential customers and advisors.
Have you lately been in a business meeting that went totally different from what you were expecting? This happened to me yesterday. As part of our startup challenge trip to Silicon Valley I went with two startups to one of the top 20 VCs here (no, I will not disclose their name). The meeting was supposed to be just with one of the partners, we would do a pitch with Q&A and then leave.After 10 minutes of deepest tech questions and tough questions about market, team and ambition – the meeting turned completely: The venture capitalist took out his phone and checked if two of his other partners were around, he gathered all entrepreneurs in residence to come and meet the startup. So in no time they were all over the place: Two VCs discussing with one entrepreneur, three of the entrepreneurs in residence listening to the other. On top of that the second startup went to another room to present their idea to three more executives.The meeting room was completely filled with curiosity, opportunity and excitement! I cross my fingers for a concrete follow up with this VCs. Who knows what might come out of it!
Nanolive´s tomographic microscope has been sold already over 100 times. One of those microscopes is now being used by professor KC Huang at the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center in Stanford. Nanolive grabbed the opportunity to do a public demo with a keynote right there.There were about 20 researchers, journalists and potential customers to find out more about the microscope and its use cases. Here´s the Periscope life stream.
Part of every trip to Silicon Valley is the intense exchange with fellow entrepreneurs. First of all, the startups of this trip create a close tie between each other. This relation can last a long time and might become a valuable resource of advice and support. Secondly, startup challenge alumni Rikke Blix-Hageman who now lives in San Francisco, gave us some advice on how to make the most out of the week by being open to meet new people and share your contacts and knowledge openly.Finally, we had the chance to listen to Swiss entrepreneur Walter Bachtiger, CEO and founder of Voicebase, an audio to text engine. Apart from sharing his story how he build his company into a nice “hockey stick growth” he shared some of his observations about Silicon Valley with us:
«When you come here – you are nobody. You´ll be blown away by the pitches that you see here. The startups don´t have everything figured out but they know how to entertain with their pitches. That´s your competition.»
The schedule for Thursday and Friday is tight: The startups will have a lean startup workshop to refine their customer personas and put a focus on customer centricity. We will have the chance to visit the Google campus and meet with Oliver Heckmann, VP of engineering. On Friday, Johannes Köppel, CEO and Co-Founder of WeTravel.to will discuss with us, how he built his business from scratch in Silicon Valley and we will do a wrap-up of the learnings out of this week.