Normally that stage would be in downtown Toronto, but obviously this year it was all virtual, which means I sent in a video of me shot in my Fredericton office that was viewed by investors from Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Just one more adjustment to make because of Covid-19.
I love pitch competitions, whether I’m the guy on the stage, one of the judges listening, or a mentor standing in the wings. These are opportunities to present and hear about new innovations that spark our interest and get us thinking about what might be.
It’s also about building relationships.
Fast moving technology start-ups, such as 3D Planeta with our goal to be the leader in 3D visualization of the earth for exploration and situational intelligence, will step onto the Collision at Home virtual stage on the hunt for one thing: a consistent and growing supply of funding to enable us to build out our amazing tech ahead of customer demand.
To do that, we need engaged and reliable investors who see the path to market and are willing to invest in helping us get there. That kind of investment doesn’t come easy, and it shouldn’t. If someone is going to entrust some of their money to you and your company, you both need to know it’s a good fit.
Pitch competitions are a bit like speed blind dating; you spend a little bit of time with different people to see if you can make a connection.
A few years ago I organized a regional pitch competition for the Canadian Export Challenge. As I looked out at all the teams, I told them that in order to earn a financial investment, they needed to make a significant investment in building relationships. That’s what pays the real dividends as you scale and grow.
I believe it is the most important thing we as founders can do. Build relationships with people so they will want to be your customer when your product is ready for market. Build relationships with people who have walked this path before you, so they will want to coach and mentor you. Build relationships with people who believe in you and they will want to financially invest in your vision because they believe they will get a fair return on their investment.
That’s why I have spent the past year, despite lockdowns and travel restrictions, participating in online events, attending virtual meet-and-greets and applying to pitch at virtual competitions.
Short hits all in service to the long game that is building a fast moving technology start-up.
We’re building relationships with those folks we want to have in our corner, so when the time comes to ask people for investment capital, we’ll have the relationships to make that happen. It’s about creating value and building credit relationships so that they want to work with us when we’re ready.
I’m looking forward to taking part in Collision at Home; one more step in helping Tom and I build and keep 3D Planeta pointed in the right direction as it grows into the future.
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