Still Holding

Last night was Mentor Idea Review at Founder Institute. Man, I was so nervous going into this one. The whole premise of this session is to give a 3-minute presentation to several mentors (investors, CEOs, etc.) and then receive ratings and feedback from them. If your average rating is too low, you could be asked to leave the program or be given a “special assignment” to further validate your idea before continuing. I really wanted to be above that line.

I spent A LOT of time building a powerpoint presentation to go along with my pitch, with my fancy charts and stats, pictures of stressed moms, etc. But we didn’t know the format of how we would actually be giving the presentations, and it ended up being in a small conference room using a laptop just on the table (no projector). My slides were not ideal for the small screen and the remote clicker didn’t work well for me, so I ended up forgoing using my slides entirely and just spoke my pitch from memory. Thankfully, public speaking and presentations are something I’m usually good at, especially given my passion and comfort with the topic, so I was able to convey my story and idea pretty well I think.

We were split up by teams and gave our pitches three times each as the mentors took turns rotating through the conference rooms. By the last pitch we had mastered our pitches and our nerves pretty well. You could quickly see how beneficial the practicing-in-front-of- the-mentors piece is.

In the end, I got good feedback but it was also tough. Which I needed to hear for a good reality check. Their overall notes were that I was a good presenter with a good story, show passion for the idea, and know my market. But they all wanted to see more as far as how am I going to differentiate myself in a crowded market, and what team is going to build all the complex programming I’m talking about?

Valid questions. I’m not as concerned about differentiation at this point because I haven’t found any existing company offering everything I want to, but by the time I have a live product that could be different. As far as the team goes, yeah, I need help in that department. I’m not opposed to educating myself in coding and programming, but there’s no way I can gain the level expertise required for this kind of work in just a few months.

I need a technical co-founder. But before anyone would consider working with me, I need to prove myself with a basic framework, landing page, demonstrated interest etc. Lots of work to be done here.

So, you’re wondering if I made it above the line? I did! Yaay. No special assignment. But I wasn’t terribly high above the cutoff, so I have plenty of  work to catch up on. The name search is still underway, but I put in a few work orders on fiverr to see what the professionals might come up with. Will reassess after those come in. Hopefully my next post will be announcing my company name! Fingers crossed. Til then….

Still holding. (Note: I am not a smoker. Gross.) 


Startup Mom is written by Coralee Dixon, a NJ mom trying to launch an online business aimed at helping parents solve their memory-keeping needs. Is she “having it all” or losing her mind? Follow along as we find out…I’m just as curious as you are.