So we here at Lightning Lab had a pretty good time last Monday night.
The GridAKL team were kind enough to squeeze us in between Agile Auckland and NZ Monopoly Championships for a glorious night of Startup and Investor Tinder.
Ok, that wasn’t the official name, it was called “The Lightning Lab Investment Preparation Evening”, but that’s a bit of a mouthful… and let’s be honest… everyone was there just hoping to get a match.
The 9 Lightning Lab startups moved around the room to small tables with 3-4 investors on the other side. A 17 minute courtship would ensue before a break was forced for both parties to catch their breath. Then they would move on to the next group. It nearly makes me blush thinking about it.
The bell would ring and the startups would swan over to a table, investors playing it cool, not giving away the game early.
“Tell us a little bit about yourselves”, they would ask - the startups confidently replying with a well-rehearsed 90 second pitch.
You can see smiles around the room as tables warm up - early indications of potential matches being struck.
Of course, this is a serious game. No time was wasted in asking about plans for the future and how they thought they would make money. Here is where the startups begin to get bashful. A few sideways glances, fidgeting hands under the table. Financial models whispered between founders. They’d been planning this for weeks but having to say it out loud for the first time is terrifying.
You see, you have to give the startups a bit of credit. The evening is a warmup. These investors get to see the companies early but that comes with a price. They now get to help the startups prepare for the main event.
Lightning Lab builds up to one thing. Demo Day. 9 pitches. One night. June 4.
So all jokes aside, this is a serious night with serious consequences, so these guys have been preparing intensely for it and we really appreciate all of the investors giving their time to help out.
The investors were supposed to be tough - testing the startups on their facts and assumptions. Making sure they had sufficient answers to the questions investors want answered.
While we are keeping our cards close to our chest, we’re sure we saw some sparks fly. Because even though it was training – it was as if there were scouts in the crowd taking notes.
This week we have witnessed startups ducking out for private meetings and had investors just dropping by to check-in. Very exciting to see it all unfold.
Amazing what can happen from one 17 minute date…
Connor Archbold is a Programme Manager for Lightning Lab Auckland which is based here at GridAKL. You can follow what Lightning Lab Auckland is doing via their #LLAKL hashtag on Twitter & Instagram, and on this Twitter handle.