This article was originally publish here.
Wednesday september 24th, was the culmination of a great team effort. We started the year rethinking our business model, customer, product, the whole thing! Argentina is not an easy landscape for entrepreneurship but we were certain that Root4 deserved our best efforts to survive even here! When we were going through this process we came across with the Startup Next program. Our experience with incubators and accelerators had all been local, and although a bit hesitant about its real value we decided to go for it because we trusted the local people involved in the program.
I must confessed that I was the harder to convince, but on the other side Nico andSalva, were 100% sure that this was the right move and once again I could not be luckier to have them as my teammates. They were right!
Founders Place Palermo was the location for the program that proved to be really hard work. Once a week I would review the status with the guys and I could see how there were asked read and be prepared in advance before every week, how much homework they were bringing to the office and most important, the questions and the answers we were getting from this fresh and systematic view on our project.
By the end of the program, we received great news. We were selected to participate on the NYC’s First Look Forum Demo Day! Root4 was selected with other 16 startup finalists and granted with the opportunity to pitch in front of angel investors, venture capitals and other key players from the east coast of the US startup arena. It was a tough competition, during 2014 spring time, 400 startups applied and 281 startups were accepted from 27 cities and 12 countries!
The day before to the pitch we met Dave Parker for office hours to review our deck and message. Dave’s feedback was key, but it needed for us to change the whole deck sequence, create a new chart and of course change the speech that I’d been rehearsing for the last two weeks. The meeting ended at 3:00 PM, we had to deliver the new deck by 7:00 PM and be ready to pitch by 9:00 AM the next morning.
Once again team Root4 delivered! And this was the result…
The most important outcome is that Startup Next allowed us to adapt our product to the local market so we could understand how to start creating, a much needed, local revenue stream. But it also allowed us to clearly define our next step to get into bigger markets with the confidence that Root4 is based on a feasible business model, with the right product to satisfy a very real need to allow businesses to engage with a new kind of customer: Aspirational Consumer
We’ll be forever thankful to the local volunteer facilitators at Founders Place Palermo like Martin and great mentors like Juan who not only gave as feedback but also put their effort and even teams to test our idea in their organizations. And to Matt and Dave who coached us in the final run and allowed us to get our first VC meeting in NYC, the very next day!
Since I started writing this blog entry we had such great feedback from the VC that we decided to take seriously their suggestion to apply to a NYC accelerator and find a strategic partner to take Root4 into a bigger more mature market, so keep in touch for more news to come.
We are going to continue working hard to Take the World to the Next Level!
Thanks to all of our community of Volunteers, Beneficiaries and Sponsors for always being there to support us.