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First impression for 500 Startups batch 7

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Today is the second day of my 500 Startups journey, I’m sitting on my seat enjoying one peaceful writing time after working from 6am and finally hit inbox zero and cleaned up to-dos in Basecamp.

Yesterday was intense. Sometimes I am not good at networking especially when my stamina was consumed by a whole bottle of white wine the day before, I didn’t perform good company. But I felt loved and really happy to join this big family.

I didn’t see other Mandarin speaking or Asian teams (actually there were!) so I felt a little inner-isolated in the beginning. But then I found that everyone is also a little shy, not only me. There is always a short awkwardness in the beginning of all relationships, I guess we can get over it. And even if Dave was being bossy and irreverent but I can see amazingly he’s still got so much passion, for the 7th times of programs.

I think I’m getting close to know the core spirit of 500 Startups, this is our second time to join an incubator, and this time it’s more like an accelerator which is for later stage then an incubator, all teams have great tractions already.

On the welcome night, all teams need to give a one minute pitch in front of 500 Startups family including Dave McClure, 500 Startups partners, batch 7 teams and alumni, I was a bit nervous and I wrote down what I should pitch. This is the original version.

Bounty Hunter is crowdsourcing platform for creative works. Our customers includes Google, Blizzard, Adobe, Microsoft and Playboy. For example, Playboy produce bags, they launched a Bag Design Competition using our Contest Builder which provides an official contest website, registration and public voting system, the outcome is to get a great design and marketing value. So far we have 130,000 talents ready for challenges. Including designers, illustrators, writers, photographers and other creative artists. We are based in Taiwan, we are profitable. Now we are looking to expand to global scale.

After I shared this pitch with a senior batch mate Julian (from InstaGIS), he asked,

“You said you are profitable, so how much is your revenue?” I told him it’s about $50K a month lately,

“Wow it’s good so you should definitely point this out!”

But it’s kind of stressful to say revenue to public as it might not be a stable metric that will only go up like “Downloads”, “Registered Users” or “Content”.

But he said “it doesn’t matter!”

Thanks for Julian, I drafted another outrageously arrogant version. But I didn’t really memorize all sentence I should say, take it easy.

Hi my name is Hana from Bounty Hunter. We do crowdsourcing campaigns for brands and companies. We make 50 thousand dollars a month, we have big customers like Google, Blizzard, Adobe, Microsoft and Playboy. We bootstrapped and we are profitable now. Thank you.

But when I was really on stage, I blah blah blah about all types of contests we have before I remembered I should just say the point. So lesson learnt, always be prepared!

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The other thing is, my pitch was 40 seconds only while others tend to keep the microphone on the hand for longer time which I think they are much much smarter because in that way people see you longer and will have deeper impression. Tricky!

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After all the pitching, what amazed me is that I thought our traction is not bad (getting big brands like Google, Blizzard as our customers and we are profitable), but actually almost all teams are profitable, many of them have bigger revenue than us. So the primary impression for the latest trend in the valley is out:

“Fundraising is not anymore the first thing to do, but getting real customers and prove that you can make money.”

Luckily I’m on the track and hope the obstacles I am about to face will not kill me too soon.