Pitching to fund EU COVID-19 passports
ComeTogether recently had the opportunity to participate in two Blockchain-focused pitching events. Walking away with a win at both events!
It might seem that having a startup focused on ticketing for live events might not be the easiest sell in the middle of a global pandemic. But a mid-term expansion of focus to address the pandemic in the context of events resulted in the development of BackTogether, a COVID-19 passport app that can be used as a separate module or integrated into the ComeTogether offer to help safely restart the events industry.
The first of two events in the course of a single week was BlockStart. The partnership program has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under a grant agreement. They work with seed, early and growth stage startups by bringing them together with SMEs to develop and prototype their solutions with real-world business input. This helps the SMEs to be early-adopters of blockchain, while helping the start-ups to work with live target customer input. Industry areas of focus were Fintech, ICT and Retail.
Starting with an ideation kickoff, selected start-ups move to a four-month prototype phase in order to ensure their ideas have a relevant market fit. There is a two-month pilot phase to allow for refinement of the final customer offer.
ComeTogether competed against nineteen other start-ups to be in the final ten selected for this next phase along with funding.
Also in the same week was BlockIS. An accelerator program to build an open and collaborative cross-border, cross-sector innovation ecosystem. This is to foster blockchain technology adoption in agrifood, logistics and finance within the EU.
This structured program works with start-ups to take them through a process of innovation, experimentation and commercialization. Initially competing against forty-four other start-ups in the innovation phase, ComeTogether was among twenty-three organizations selected to move to the experiment phase. In addition to funding, technology and business guidance is provided. At the completion of these activities, ten finalists will be chosen to take their MVP to market.
The team was awarded 69,000 Euros in funding across both events. Another important aspect of these programs are the connections within the wider industry to set the groundwork for further market engagement. A great success from a busy week!
What was it like to pitch in two events concurrently? Lazaros Penteridis, CEO of ComeTogether shared his thoughts on five topics:
What was the hardest part of pitching two events in one week? The requirements for different length pitches — one of three minutes and one of five minutes meant keeping two versions of our story aligned.
What was the best new idea you got from listening to other pitches? You can say a lot in 3 minutes if you really focus your thoughts.
What kind of competition were you up against and who was most interesting? We were in the Fintech category in both events. We learned about a company working on verifiable credentials. Even though they were a competitor in the pitching they could possibly be a partner in the future.
How do you think you were able to stand out versus the others? BackTogether showcased our ability to quickly adapt in a tough market situation. And we already have proven market traction with both ComeTogether and BackTogether.
What is your advice to others who might find themselves in a similar pitching situation? Take the time to work on clarity in your pitch. Each time we have presented in one of these events we refine our materials. This has helped us to be successful by getting more and more laser focused. Additionally, don’t spend too much time on presenting the technology. It’s easy to think that for a blockchain event you should be deep in technology. The story really needs to be about how you create value for your customers.
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