Let’s face it, at most events the actual investors are usually a minority but most startups are looking for just that – money. No matter how you spin it, money is needed to start, run and grow a company. So it is always great to see an event that is specifically tailored towards this goal.
I attended Enterprise Finland Venture Forum the other day and quite enjoyed the fact that there were around 70 people representing various VC’s and investors compared to just 26 companies that were pitching. Many of them were international VC’s that made the trip from cities such as London, Paris and Munich.
The pitching companies were also not just a bunch of random companies that applied to the event. A special VC committee pre-selected and screened the companies that they thought would be the most interesting to the investors and then sent out the invitations.
Which explains why so many investors took their time to come to the event. After all they were promised extremely interesting companies in their growth stage that are currently looking for funding.
The event started off by a speech from the US Ambassador, Bruce J. Oreck, which if you have heard the man speak is always amazing. This time he talked about the fact that we just dont understand innovation, nobody does and then helped the audience realize what steps they need to take in order to grasp the concept. If you want the answer, you’ve got to beg us for it.
And after brief speech by Sampo Ahonen, CEO of Beneq, it was time for the companies to pitch. Later I learned I was not supposed to listen to any of the pitches but the secret service and the security did not notice me (I am very small, it helps) and I was able to listen to the first set of pitches.
One thing was clear to me is that our region still needs to improve in pitching and presentation design. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that many of these companies did not go through an accelerator or a funding route that would require pitching, but we lack the concepts in presentation and visual quality. Especially among more technical companies.
Now you might argue that this is not a deal breaker, however we spoke about this with Jennifer L. Hicks from Forbes.com, and came to a conclusion that it is in fact a very important and crucial element. To succeed you need to be able to represent your company with an utmost quality, because if you can get through with just numbers and technology on the local scale, you will be crushed on the global scale if you can’t represent your company with quality. After all if you can’t put a decent presentation together and find a speaker, how can you complete much more difficult and demanding tasks?
But this comment does not change the fact that the companies were very interesting indeed and deserve a chance at funding. Since I promised not to share any information about what I saw in the pitching part of the event, I will not go into the details.
Once the pitching was over, the companies and investors hurried to talk to one another in a series of one on ones. This format seemed very good, as everyone got the time to get acquianted with the companies and then arrange for further discussions. We think that this was a great event and there should be a lot more events that provide value to both the startup and investor communities. Looking forward to Enterprise Finland Venture Forum 4th Edition.
Oh, almost forgot. Here is a list of companies that attended the event:
Corrosion Control International Oy
Footbalance System Oy
Goodmill Systems Oy
Grand Cru Oy
Laurantis Pharma Ltd.
Netcycler Oy / Swap.com
RapidBlue Solutions Oy
Ukko Mobile Oy