Wednesday 13.4.2011 at Hub SoMa in San Francisco was a historic day. The first investor pitch of the Monkey Business Mental Model Game was held then. And the results? Lot of fun and learning, I’d say! Here I reflect the outcome and share the slides used & ideas generated from this session. I’m going to use a short ”motorola” model answering the 4 questions below.
What went well?
In my master’s program all individuals of our #minnteam had a challenge to pitch a project. I picked Mental Model Game since we had just recently been talking about it with Tekes and found out that there might be potential to invest on this idea and the development of it. So the pitching chance came with a perfect timing!
Thanks to deciding the topic well in advance I was able to develop my pitch by talking it thru for many people before the actual show. Hugo & Ville Monkeys, Aleksi Hasu and #minnteam mates helped by giving a lot of open critics & additions beforehand. (Thanks guys!) Just before the show I also established a relationship with the investors by chatting a bit with them before going to the stage. It helped to relax and enjoy the moment, and finally the presentation went better than any of the test pitches. It was a good experience and for sure I felt that I want to do it again and again and again!
What went poorly?
The presentation was quite well handled but in the questions and answers part I was not sharp anymore – it was the selling point and I went on talking not focused. First question was: What kind of customers buy this game now and have you asked them woud they like to pay for an online game or mobile app? That was easy to
answer: individuals & consultancies have already showed interest for buying a training for facilitating the game, and also for buying the web / mobile version of the game. The next question I received was harder: Why companies buy exactly this product? I answered that it’s bought for the team-up-day purposes or for eg. the sales teams motivational purposes. But that’s not really a good answer. Mental Model Game is not just any dynamic for the team-up-day. Instead, it’s a deep and simple tool for improving the team dynamics and performance inside a company, and you don’t need to wait for a development day to play the game. It can be used for thinking challenges in real time, even urgetly. For the next pitch I will go deeper in thinking about the real value of the Mental Model Game with the Monkeys team and with the academics who have launched the theory originally.
What did I learn?
I learned that it’s important to mention numbers, and for example answer to the question ”How much are you investing on it yourself?” and of course I forgot to tell that. We have been investing on the brochyre texts about the game, on the rights for the name and websites, and on the Mental Model Game tour. Our total investment is about 2000 € + 2000 working hours up to date as a team. We are now facing a bigger investment need for getting the online game development going on and the board game design done.
I also learned that: ”Investors never invest on a service company, but if you had a developer in your team who owns this project it would be an attractive project to invest in.” Second positive comment from StepOne José was: ”I want to see you making it happen, it’s a good idea and you’ve got the basis ready – it will be a good learning experience for Monkey Business to check how far you can go with the Mental Model Game – make it happen!”
What will I do differently next time / take to practice?
I would practice still more before presenting. Maybe 30 times is minimum for practice, now I had 10. Goal would be to get to give 300 pitches at least! And that’s why we are launching a ”Pitching Evening” concept to Jyväskylä region, for getting a stage to learn this lovely skill, and for waking up the start-up culture in our city. Would yu be up to participate? Is there someone wrking on it in Jyväskylä already? Who should we team up with?
We will keep on developing the game with our new designer Janne, and keep on talking with Tekes about the possibilities for idea development funding.
Summa summarum: I used to be critical towards pitching because my mental model of a pitch was that it’s boring to have one head talking for a crowd as fast as possible to get the idea sold. Now, after experinecing the role of the presenter, I can just say that this was the most learningful experience I’ve recently had. Being seriously vulnerable and honest with the project in front of 30 or more people makes you feel, think, act and love it!
Today our USA Learning Journey continues in Boston with Liher Monkey. We’re visiting MIT Lab, Babson College with Endeavor course running there, and also Harward & some local enterprises. Do you have more ideas for what might we do here? We’re around until Friday 22nd of April.
With Yellow regards,