Top five lessons from the OzApp awards: A finalist shares what he learnt
Triplifier.com, a finalist at the 2014 OzApp awards last week, is an app that tells travellers what’s on at their destination during their dates of travel.
I pitched Triplifier with four other finalists to a 150-strong crowd full of high profile investors and international industry superstars such as Bill Tai and Lars Rasmussen.
As an entrepreneur you’re always learning and becoming an OzApp finalist was our first opportunity to pitch our product to an important audience.
Here are my five tips from being an OzApp finalist.
1. Importance of networking
Unlike some of the start-ups we met at OzApp, we didn’t emerge from an incubator, an accelerator or a co-working space, and as a result, we had to work harder at our networking opportunities. We made so many great connections through OzApp that have since opened many doors for us and provided valuable advice. We’ll now take every opportunity we can to network. Don’t hole yourself up and expect to think of everything on your own. The more people you speak to, the better your product becomes.
2. Be confident in your vision
When we were asked pressing questions about the finer details of our business it was easy to become defensive and come up with excuses. What’s more important is to be confident that when your vision is strong and you know you’re solving a genuine problem for your users, you’ll work out the finer details as you continue your start-up journey. When you’re asked a question you don’t have an answer for, quietly take it on-board, be cool, and say you have a plan for it – no one wants to hear excuses.
3. Investors are your friend
This may seem obvious, but we had been hesitant to engage with investors until we felt our product was ‘ready’. Through OzApp, we had investors help us prepare our pitch and their insights have provided critical guidance for us moving forward.
Furthermore, we have developed relationships that we can build on and allow investors to join us on our journey.
Who knows, if we keep following their guidance they may offer us investment when we reach our milestones, or know someone else who would make a good investment fit. Speaking with investors is about so much more than the money.
4. Play to your strengths
We didn’t win OzApp, but we did win a lot of fans and were dubbed the ‘people’s choice’ by reporters. We resonated with the audience by highlighting the strengths of our proposition. Not only did everyone ‘get’ our product they were swept away by a pitch presentation that got them excited.
5. Be bold
Before OzApp, Triplifier was three guys and a just-launched idea. In many ways we were the little guys, we were the youngest in terms of our start-up journey and this meant that we hadn’t closed off all the challenges that lie ahead of us.
Whilst we learnt to be better prepared to combat questions around these challenges, we benefited from going for gold with what we had: a big idea with a global vision.
We enjoyed invaluable exposure and made great connections and I recommend to all start-up entrepreneurs to put themselves out there and go for it. If you wait till you think you’re ready, you’ll miss opportunities.
Title Image: Triplifier’s founders (L-R) John Daniels, Matt Fontana and Damien Hatton