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.



1 comment:

Antonio S said...

NANOXER is a great thermal insulating product - the best there is! But I admit, we didn't truly realize how important our work was until we started preparing for the Mind The Bridge competition. Marco Marinucci was deadly serious about it: "You must do your market analysis, identify your potential buyers, strategic partners and potential investors. You have to understand their language and grasp their point of view so that you can show them what you are worth!"

It's only when I booked my flight to the States as NANOXER CEO that I started to truly think globally about our business. Thanks to the MtB mindset I was able to reach VPs for product development at 5 really huge companies: they are interested in our products! They are ready to do business with a small start-up company such as we are! I found out that in California there are investors specialized exactly in thermal insulating materials – they know everything about markets, competition, costs, business models, term sheets, stock options …

Coming back to Italy, here's at NANOXER we're now deeply, deeply convinced that the world is our market. We must be global, we must be fast, we must grow quickly - and California is the right place to start.

Elisabetta Ghisini helped strengthening my presentation and communication skills, Matteo Daste - a brilliant young lawyer - immediately understood our business model and gave me precious tips for improvement. Matteo Fabiano helped in understanding VCs. Danny Maco of BAIA helped us establish a very promising contact in Italy with a large company that is interested in becoming a key strategic partner of NANOXER. Everyone at MtB wants to help and show that a small Italian start-up can make it. I want to thank them all for their passion, enthusiasm and dedication.

A tip to next year’s participants: have passion, put all your energy into it! MtB will show you that “you can reach the world.” The MtB friends and other entrepreneurs will give you the opportunity to learn some key skills. But above all, they will let that inner strength that you needed to succeed emerge.