Monday, April 20, 2009

Tally Up MtB 2009

Guest post by Tara Kelly, president and co-founder of 2009 MtB finalist Passpack.

It's been about a week since I've been back off the MtB roadshow. The question I've been asked most often is: "how was it?" The short answer: great! How great? Well, here's some hard data for you.

Thanks to the MtB and BAIA crews, I was able to:
  • Get meetings with 2 VCs, and 1 potential corporate partner. To put that in context, I was also able to get one meeting on my own... but I've been working on it since October! Three meetings in one week is mind boggling.

  • Present Passpack to a room of about 80 people, from VCs to Angels, to corporate biz dev folks. And I also got to mingle with them before and afterwards. Some cards were exchanged, and another meeting will likely follow.

  • Q&A with service providers and pick their professional brains about corporate law, accounting and getting work visas for my team to come to the US (should we so choose). I actually walked away with information thats probably worth plenty of dollars had I paid those folks.

  • Brush up on my presenting skills and get coached on how to act in corporate America. Even though I'm American born, my adult life has been entirely in Italy. It was fun taking lessons from an Italian on how to handle a meeting in the Valley (thanks Elisabetta!).
All of that can be quantified, whether in terms of number of contacts, or dollar value of services offered. But the biggest value from this experience is, frankly, the network.

The network is the glue that keeps a startup ecosystem together. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a big preacher about building your network and sharing with other entrepreneurs. For Passpack, and I hope for the other startups, MtB was a chance to expand that network... both inside and outside of Italy.

Thanks to Marco, Fabrizio, Elizabetta, Matteo an the rest of the crew -- and good luck to next years participants. If you need a hand with anything, just reach out and ask.



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Zooppa is the winner!

In an unusual cold and rainy evening in Sunnyvale (CA), the MTB Gran Finale got to its apax.
The startup-impressive ambiance of the Plug&Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, filled up by 6.30PM with an interesting mix of somewhat-Italian-related professionals, professional Silicon Valley investors, and startups representatives from multiple corners of the world (with a high concentration from India)...

And the participants didn't get disappointed. Italian style food&drinks (and free), the right group of people and ... some amazing startups!
The presentation level of all participants was on par with the energy that all the MTB volunteers put on the table in the last few weeks... meaning, awesome!

After an impressive delivery of well structured (and all within the 7 min time limit!) presentations, the jury nominated (unanimously) Zooppa as the winner of the 2008/9 BP competition.
Wil Merritt, from Zooppa, brought home a nice plaque, a bunch of compliments and a great deal of expectations from everybody.

What matters now, is who will be the first of the 6 presenting projects, to reach the $1B bar as a business.

The race just started.

But for the moment, let us just savour our Italian made tiramisu, at a bit of glory for the new Italian-generated technology!