The First 10xU Pitch Day: Bridging the Gap between Entrepreneurs and Investors

It’s been a busy summer for us here at 10xU, starting with our official launch in June at eMerge Americas. Since then, we have been working tirelessly to connect and mentor the entrepreneurial community, developing a series of events, tools, and conducting one-on-one mentoring sessions to prepare entrepreneurs to succeed.

Many founders were coming through our doors with great ideas and even great businesses but no clear roadmap to success. So, we hosted several workshops, from “Becoming a Better Founder” to our “Fundraising Bootcamp,” a two-part fundraising intensive to help entrepreneurs hone their pitching skills. We partnered with organizations to host events, including “Decoding the Fundraising Process” organized in conjunction with Starthub Miami.

We developed the pitch deck roadmap, a tool to help entrepreneurs see the strengths and opportunities for improvement in their pitches, as well as provide a framework to steer conversations with investors.

Many of them went through our Cobuild Course where they learned the fundamentals of exponential startup growth and worked with our experienced mentors one-on-one to hone their business model and pitch.

The end goal was to give entrepreneurs the skills they need to step in front of a room full of investors ready to pitch, and deal with the onslaught of questions investors were sure to have.

And then, we put entrepreneurs face-to-face with real world investors during the first-ever 10xU Pitch Day, hosted in partnership with Rokk3r Labs, Rokk3r Fuel, and Eight Dragons. The 10xU Pitch Day was developed with one objective in mind: to allow entrepreneurs to meet with different types of investors that could ask them the tough questions, while also connecting investors with aspiring entrepreneurs earlier in their journey, offering them the opportunity to build relationships with startups poised to succeed and scale.

dalENT presents at 10xU Pitch Day

We invited a panel of judges from diverse backgrounds to facilitate this highly interactive session. In attendance:

  • Marcus Dukes, the consulting advisor to the CEO of publicly traded venture firm Eight Dragons, a shareholder of Rokk3r Labs. Eight Dragon’s goal is to bring great ideas to exit, by identifying entrepreneurs with the right ideas and help them go to market using Rokk3r Labs and other companies in the Eight Dragons ecosystem.
  • Jeff Ransdell, a General Partner and the Managing Director of Rokk3r Fuel. Rokk3r Fuel is a global VC firm committed to identifying early and later-stage companies, leveraging exponential technologies that can bring disruption to stagnated industries or verticals.
  • Christopher Staley, formerly a Rokk3r Labs founding team member, is a Principal at Rokk3r Fuel and is currently responsible for leading all due diligence on new companies joining the Rokk3r Fuel portfolio.
  • Juan Montoya, cofounder, and COO of Rokk3r Labs, who is deeply involved with the cobuild process, turning ideas into companies, while mitigating risk using the exponential company framework.
  • David Rivera, a private angel investor and consultant, who brings more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry working with multinational companies such as IBM, Accenture, and AOL.
Judges at the first 10xU Pitch Day

Five different companies stood in front of these seasoned judges, and each other, in a crowded room to present their pitches in 7 minutes. After each of their presentations, they received feedback from the judges, who asked probing questions about their strategy and business model. Anything from their plans for the funds, their competitors, and estimated growth projections was fair game.

The companies pitching to the judges were:

  • dalENT, a medical device company changing the way sinus infections are treated today.
  • Brickly, a marketplace where landlords can rent directly to tenants
  • Resort Homes of America, a tourism company, that aims to provide families with better options when it comes to planning and taking family vacations
  • Design Sprint School, an educational company, which helps individuals plan and execute design sprints while offering them access to a global community of sprint masters
  • Raw Shorts, a company created to help businesses develop explainer, demo, and marketing videos for web with an easy-to-use cloud platform

All of these companies are part of the 10xU community, working with 10xU mentors, attending our workshops, and have been actively applying the 10xU methodology. Most of this being done in the context of our Cobuild course.

We decided it would be great to get crowdsourced feedback and have everyone in the room vote on which company delivered the best pitch, and ultimately, the crowd decided on a tie, awarding both dalENT and Rawshorts. Both companies that won will receive a year’s subscription to the upcoming 10xU member’s only community, where they will be privy to relevant content, exclusive events, and additional workshops, and will soon be featured individually on our blog. So, stay tuned for more news on the winners!

The winners of the first 10xU Pitch Day

We are proud and humbled to share the first-ever 10xU Pitch Day was a success beyond our expectations.

As a company focused on educating and helping entrepreneurs build a roadmap to grow and scale their company, we couldn’t feel more accomplished. This event serves as validation that we are on the right path, fueling our determination to continue building bridges and paving the way for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to break out of the linear business mold. 10xU acts as the primary access point to the Rokk3r Labs ecosystem, and by putting those founders we coach in front of potential investors, we are actively contributing to the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This is the first of many 10xU Pitch Days to come. Ultimately, we want to drive disruptive innovation, and this is only possible if we give aspiring entrepreneurs the right skills and support to succeed, while connecting them with those who can help facilitate that success, whether it be mentors, investors, or just a vibrant like-minded community.

We hope you can join us next time!

Exponential Startups = More Castles (Airbnb vs. Hyatt)

airbnb vs hyatt exponential castles

Exponential startups can beat big traditional companies — and they do it with fewer employees.

But figuring out how to change the world is intimidating! We see successful companies like Airbnb, Snapchat, Instagram and wonder, “How can we build something that’s even half as awesome?”

We’ve built over 40 companies in the past five years, and in that time we’ve become big fans of Salim Ismael’s Exponential Organizations, which describes how to create lean companies that have an outsized impact on the world.

Why Exponential?

Exponential organizations stay small and scale at least 10x faster than traditional businesses. Smart companies can drop the cost of both supply and demand to almost zero by using the latest digital technologies, leveraging shared assets, and tapping into the power of the crowd.

When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion they only had 55 employees! A year after the acquisition they had 900 million users — still being supported by a small team of only 50 engineers.

Impressive!

What about Hyatt, which was the leader in hospitality? Over more than 60 years they’ve built up a giant portfolio of 600 locations in 57 countries and 550 cities across the globe. It’s a massive infrastructure based on real assets.

Then Airbnb introduced a disruptive business model based on the fact that they could use bedrooms similar to the ones Hyatt was building—but without owning them. They could tap into the power of the crowd to leverage abundance.

Here’s a video walkthrough of Hyatt vs. Airbnb (linear vs. exponential company).

The genius of Airbnb was to create a platform — not to create more assets, but to connect existing assets and make them accessible to everyone. Airbnb can add new rooms almost for free, whereas Hyatt has to build or buy them.

Airbnb is completely focused on creating value for their customer, not on building hotels. Not on expanding in countries and cities. Just on building a solid platform with a global reach.

The result is that Airbnb is now in more countries and cities than Hyatt, and they have over 3 million listings. They even have 1,400 castles.

But the biggest thing isn’t the massive outcome — it’s that Airbnb achieved all of this with a tiny fraction of the number of employees. Only 2,000 people are creating a company that’s worth more than 30 billion dollars. Compare that to Hyatt’s 100,000 employees and $7B market cap.

That’s truly exponential! And it’s how we think at 10xU.