The One-Minute Pitch

So I arrived at the Emerging Technology Center, Baltimore's Technology Incubator at 8:00 pm just in time for the pitches and a quick drink of something. I  chugged an Amstel Light down as I glanced around the burgeoning crowd of 150 plus of Type-A people.  Many developers and entrepreneurs had used the time wisely over the last two hours to get to know each other and to sell their ideas.   Not knowing anyone, I was already at a serious disadvantage -- and I needed people to vote for my idea, or else I wouldn't make the cut.

We made our one-minute pitches in a large hallway with no chairs and barely room to crawl -- just the floor to sit on and the person next to you to lean on.  There were over 75 pitches that night (more than half of the people attended had ideas), but only about 20 would be asked to demo during startup weekend.

Most of the people there were Business, marketing types with less than half being developers -- me being an MBA communications type and designer, finding a developer was the one critical skillset needed to make RUNIN Out functional by Sunday evening.

My one-minute pitch on Friday night

There were lots of wonderful ideas -- each one of them was an application that I surely had need for.

Mappable links, text-relationship manager, social charitable giving,  checking your health online and via SMS, a mobile site that lets you rent out your driveway, crowdsourcing advice on what you should wear via Twitter, determine ad potential for sites, etc.

When my turn came up, I asked Mike if he would allow me to tell the  story of my car getting broken.  He allowed me to do so, and I used that example to seque into my core message that it would be great if I had an aggregator that could read Yelp reviews as well as Twitter and police reports and provide a customized recommendation based on the sources I choose and the weights assigned to each one.

Some of the ideas from Friday night:


Parking Panda
Sports Moms Connect
Stay Social
Mappable Links
Closing Hawk

The pitch was well received, but when it got time for the voting, everyone was given three sticky notes to place on the the wall pads of each idea.  Because there were so many pitches, some of the pads were spread out further down the hall where less people congregated.

As a result, I only received six votes, one less than was needed to make the cut of 20.  I was in dire straits.  I went to see Kav and Mike who informed me that although I didn't make the cut, I was still welcomed to demo as long as I could gather a team and build a prototype.

I quickly scurried around the room looking for techies --  noticed that groups were already nestled away in their own spots brainstorming ideas.  Meanwhile there were a few of us pacing around with great ideas, but no team members wanting to make it happen.

That's when I made a quick call to Senodja.  Senodja Walker was home in Virginia, getting ready to call it a day -- she had class all day Saturday at GWU but had signed up for the Sunday demo session in Baltimore.

"Senodja, I need you to come and help me demo."

"Certainly, but are we going to be ready?"

"We have no choice.  It's make or break for RUNIN Out."

With that, I headed home to DC -- it would be a long day tomorrow.

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