Last week, Vulcan's CEO Mr. Rafael Masters went to Singapore to pitch in the Hello Tomorrow Competition where Vulcan got a chance to win $50,000 in funding!
Q1: Can you tell us about this competition?
The competition was part of the global Hello Tomorrow competition with the world finals to be held in Paris next year. There were over 5000 applications from 128 countries. In the Asian regional final there were 16 teams pitching across a wide range of categories, from life sciences to quantum computing. Our major advantage was that we were the only medical device company and we were incredibly lean compared to the other companies, most of which had already received over $1,000,000 in investment.
Q2: How did you come to know about the competition? Why did you decide that it would be a good fit for Vulcan to join?
I found it through a previous event where I met one of the representatives, and then investigated and applied. It looked like a good fit as Vulcan met all of their criteria in terms of innovation, location, stage etc and was a good opportunity to get feedback and meet with investors.
Q3: Can you tell us about your preparation process for this competition? Were you nervous? What thoughts did you have while making the pitch for this competition? Anything interesting to share about your Top 5 pitch?
The biggest challenge, and one I wasn't entirely successful in, was cutting down the pitch to 4 minutes. I cut about 75% of the slides and 90% of the text from our big deck and It still wasn't quick enough, although I did manage to address all of their requirements.
I set up the slides and went over them again and again, setting time requirements and limits for each. Although I had the text memorized in my mind, once you get on stage it's never exactly the same so the time limits were hard to stick to. Also I do like talking about what we do.
After the first round we were told we got through to the final five and had to pitch one more time. The biggest problem here was that I wanted to take the demo hand on with me, and I had one hand for the microphone and one hand for the slide control clicker. So I had to put the microphone in the demo hand, and hold that. This worked for a few minutes, but then I started having problems with the clicker (it wasn't working) so I had to put the hand down and just hold the clicker and microphone. The clicker STILL wasn't working so I ended up pitching/presenting whilst pointing it everywhere and clicking randomly until the slides continued.
So that was…...interesting. And it's all on video, unfortunately. But it was a good experience and we got some excellent feedback.
Q4: On the stage delivering the pitch, how did you feel? What did you learn after you get off the stage & what do you wish you could have done differently?
The first pitch was pretty good, but the second one was challenging because the slide change control isn't working. That was a little disappointing but I did manage to cut the more business oriented parts out and focus on impact and tech. Mostly I wish their clicker had worked, and also that I had been able to cut more of the slides out, but I have some ideas about that for next time so overall a good experience.
Q5: Did the judges give any comment about your pitch or about Vulcan Augmetics? What was the comment? How do you feel about such opinion?
Not yet. They will do next week. I'm interested to hear their feedback, although I expect most of it to relate to traction and revenue.
Q6: How do you feel about only making it to Top 5? What is the “take-home” lesson that you get from this competition for yourself and for Vulcan? Moving forward, what is the next step?
Disappointed, obviously, but the biggest take home lesson is to keep cutting the slides, and try to hone down to a really simple but effective core message. Good product and solid plan to income. People will see the impact by themselves, we don't need to over-stress it.
Even though we didn’t win, Vulcan was recognized by Hello Tomorrow as one of the most promising projects in deep tech to date, which means that our application is in the 2nd round of evaluation and we still have a shot at being selected as a Finalist.
Of course, we don’t know the final ruling just yet, but we are expecting to be notified in January if we’ve selected to pitch at the Finals for a chance to win one of the fourteen €10,000 Track Prizes, or even the overall €100,000 Prize for the Grand Winner of the Challenge.
Let’s keep our hopes up!