Pitching competitions are to startup what skydiving is to adventurers: a bucket-list item that’s both exciting and terrifying. To take the skydiving analogy further, joining a Startup Pitching Competition may be the only way for your business to land where it’s supposed to. During such an event you get to pitch to multiple investors, gain some valuable exposure and get some equally valuable feedback. You will network, you will potentially build partnerships but, most importantly, you will get a chance to secure funding and accelerate your business. All you need is a leap of faith!
There are various such competitions held annually in Pakistan. Some Pitching competitions are open for everyone around the country to participate in. While others are hosted by accelerators and incubators for their own start-ups, NIC Peshawar being one such incubation center that is hosting its own pitching competition called “The Startup Pitching League”.
NIC Peshawar introduced this exciting initiative in the month of June, where its startups started competing against each other over the next two months. The startup pitching League started with a demo round, where at the end of the round, founders were assigned with respective coaches. Then began round 1, where all the teams pitched in front of a panel of experienced judges. Scores along with valuable feedback were given to each presenting startup. The pitch war continued to round 2, as the top startups faced each other with new improved pitches making the competition tougher than before.
One of the most valuable elements in the startup pitching league, that benefitted the startup founders in these rounds was the judge’s feedback! It helped them see potential gaps in their startup that could have led to expensive mistakes and heartaches in the future. It provided them a chance to address these gaps so that they minimize–if not, remove completely–these unwanted instances to occur.
If the competition was already not exhilarating enough, five wild card entries were selected from NIC Peshawar previous cohorts to battle it out with the existing cohort startups in the elimination round of the Startup Pitching League. The elimination round was a roller coaster ride, each startup was given 5 minutes to convince the judges, some startups handled the pressure well and were easily the favorites, while others had a close fight for a spot in the finals. One of our judges from the elimination round, Hassan Daud Butt – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment & Trade, said about the event.
“You would have heard about cricket leagues and other sporting leagues, but Startup Pitching League is one of its kind events”
Fifteen incredible startups, who nailed their pitches and won the hearts of the judges with their phenomenal & compelling value proposition, were selected as finalists of the elimination round. These finalists will be further participating in an Investment Readiness Boot camp, this bootcamp is an effort to equip the startups with the tools and skills that are required to swiftly navigate through the world of investors and VCs. Spread over 5 weeks, the startups will work on their financial models and pitches with the help of some amazing mentors and advisors. Once the bootcamp has fully prepared the startups, Pitching League Finals will take place, where the finalists will compete against each other to win: Seed fund, international Exposure trips, & One-on-one VC sessions at NIC Peshawar.