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Preparing for Seedcamp Week: Tips From Last Year’s Startups

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Seedcamp Week presents a great opportunity for startups to learn from our experienced mentors, investors and speakers. It’s also one of the best ways to receive valuable feedback on your product and, perhaps most dauntingly, your presenting!

We caught up with some of our previous Seedcamp Week winners and asked them to give their advice for the next group of Seedcamp Week startups.

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Presentations

Presentations are a key element of Seedcamp Week; startups will be invited up to the stage numerous times. And as daunting as it may feel on the first attempt, our mentors are on-hand to provide feedback and help you improve throughout the week – you’ll be more confident, slicker and your messaging will be perfected by the end of the week, we guarantee it!

That said, it’s still worth preparing before the first day, as Al Mackin (Co-founder & CEO, Formisimo) comments.

We practiced our first pitch until it became painful, and we made some connections prior to Seedcamp (via LinkedIn). The more you can warm up for the event, the better it’ll be.

James Kay (Founder & CEO, Fluttr) also prepared well for the opening day, knowing how important it is to make a good first-impression.

The most challenging part is probably the opening line – you pretty much lose 50% of the audience’s attention if you kick it off with “Hi, I’m XXX and I’m the CEO of YYY”.

Nerves

It effects us all differently; for some, nerves are nothing more than a quick stomach flutter before we go on stage, for others it can be completely debilitating. But what’s true for all of us, is that by preparing well you can lessen the negative effects of nerves and even play them to your advantage. As Al Mackin says…

Visiting the presentation space as early as possible was important for me. For the biggest presentation, at Barclays, we were there ninety minutes before we pitched. Getting a feel for where we’ll be stood, where the monitors are and what could go wrong, meant that it improved quality and made it all seem easier.

By preparing well you’re minimising any potential risk, allowing you to focus positively on your presentation rather than all the elements that could go wrong; being familiar with your surroundings can help you own the room. James Kay ensured that even if the worst were to happen, he’d have enough quick-fire ammo to continue…

Memorise your 10 key sentences by heart. If you lose track of your flow it will allow you to jump easily to the next point while keeping a concise and highly powerful pitch.

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What they’d change if they did it all again

Seedcamp Week is one of the best opportunities to develop various aspects of your skill-set. That said, the learning doesn’t stop once the week is over! Al Mackin reflected on his experience…

If I could go back I’d change the way I described ourselves; until you’re exposed to that many high-level individuals you don’t know the exact ordering of words – the prioritisation of describing features or successes – that will get someone excited early. We had to go through Seedcamp to gain that knowledge.

Kevin Straszburger (founder, Krak) adds…

Think about Seedcamp Week as an opportunity to grow, to become smarter. Believe me, no matter what, you’ll be a better person at the end of the week. So enjoy it, don’t forget to have fun, and pre-order your Red Bull if necessary. You don’t want to have any regrets.

Best of luck to all the startups joining us next week. We can’t wait to see how you do!

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