Leaving the 12th week behind, it is almost surprising to reflect on how fast the time has passed since the day the program was kicked off. Unsettling to most as the last month of summer, August simply excites us with the prospects of even more growth and full on scaling.
On Monday, Jeff Abbott lead a session on the next steps of the program as well as introducing the 3 new intensive programs within the agenda. The teams were interested to find out more about Jeff’s HubSpot experience during the Q&A session. When it comes to the program’s definition to be successful, Jeff shared that everything needs to be implemented within the platform. The meeting ended on a positive note emphasizing mutual collaboration between the teams.
In addition to a small workshop on the 3 essential elements needed to convert visitors into paying customers, our teams conducted an investor deck review with Scott Johnson. Scott Johnson, who serves as one of our mentors, is a managing partner at Blitzscaling Ventures and managing director at New Atlantic Ventures focusing on early-stage venture capital investments in information technology. His expertise and feedback were extremely invaluable for the teams to improve and nearly finalize their investor decks.
Wednesday was a hectic day with events, workshops and presentations. We welcomed Nate Gilmore, an ex-executive director of global marketing at Ingram Micro, a logistics, commerce enablement and device lifecycle services company. He also serves as the Consultant Entrepreneur in Residence at 500 startups. Nate gave a presentation on “B2B& B2C Growth Hacking”, introducing growth frameworks and conducting 1:1’s with the teams. Nate shared spreadsheets on target buyers, revenue goals, targeted accomplishments and spending framework for each team to fill out. “If your potential customer tried a similar product for the solution you are offering, this is great” Nate stated. He further recommended that repeatable, predictable and scalable sales processes are necessary before hiring the 1st sales guy. According to him, the sales process follows the framework of qualification, discovery, demo, negotiation and closing call. Qualifications, such as budget, addressable need and timing, is significant in that you understand if the potential customer relationship will be beneficial for you.
He followed by introducing the funnel stages for sales as awareness stage in which you “get traffic”, consideration stage in which you “get leads”, and close stage in which you “conduct sales”. The funnel process was originally different but had to be standardized as multiple companies started receiving investment. The process was standardized to involve acquisition, activation, retention, revenue and referral.
Towards the end of the presentation, Nate introduced the predictable revenue method with 3 keywords: spears representing outbound sales, seeds representing word of mouth and need representing marketing. He concluded the presentation by recommending that the business conducted, including growth and sales, should be turned into a function that can be quantified. The presentation was incredibly well received and was truly helpful.
Lifograph’s Pitch night also took place on Wednesday in San Francisco, including Samsung NEXT Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and Wharton Angels. After presenting to an esteemed investor panel with 90-second verbal elevator pitches, the startups had the privilege to receive feedback. This was yet another important networking opportunity for our startups.
Throughout the week, our teams attended various pitching events including Silicon Valley Funding Week at Reed Smith Law, PitchForce events at Santa Clara, and Startup Pitch Night with a focus on Blockchain. These events mostly featured early stage tech startups and entrepreneurs delivering elevator pitches to a panel of seasoned angel investors. The Startup Pitch Night introduced 7 handpicked entrepreneurs to pitch their startups that are making great strides in the fast-growing industry that is the blockchain technology.
We were also excited to welcome lawyer Ameer Shaekh to our office. Ameer gave a truly insightful presentation on startup immigration and answered our teams’ questions, responding to their concerns. Following this, we opened our doors to 21 young entrepreneurs from TEB, one of Turkey’s most well-known banks, for a networking session accompanied by snacks and great conversation.
As we step into our 13th week, our teams take a deep breath to absorb the remaining fatigue of an overwhelming week left behind with good memories and new connections. We are thankful for the opportunities this week offered to our teams and will be seeking for even more.