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 In June 2012, at SW Bordeaux, Benoit Fuleran pitched an idea that wasn’t selected.  During the weekend, Benoit explained his idea again to a SW participant who turned out to be an investor.  Interested in Benoit’s vision, the “incognito” investor agreed to fund and support his startup idea on the spot.  Tel4Expat is a service specially designed for expatriates that provides its users worldwide with unlimited calls to over 40 countries.  The original story for this post can be found here  (in French). 

It was my first Startup Weekend. I came with an idea to pitch. My project. The project I was going to launch anyway.  Friday night. This is it. I go queue with the other pitchers to pitch my project to a hundred of participants attending the event. It’s my turn. One minute to pitch. One minute- it’s so short to present a project that you’ve been refining for weeks or even months. Short but intense!

After the pitches, it’s time to vote. Verdict: my project is not selected. My story begins not so well.

So I join a project that was selected. I also take the opportunity to network with participants and take time to chat. I meet students, free-lance consultants, passionate people, and entrepreneurs…. And, surprise, a business Angel. Yes, among the participants was hiding a business angel, attending the event «submarine-like » with the objective to spot promising projects.

My pitch aroused his curiosity. I take the opportunity to explain him my project in detail: the context, the market, the stakes, my needs…He is convinced.

Later during the week the business angel comes back to see me: he believes in my project and he is ready to invest. Not in 6 months, not in 3. Now.

So I accomplished my first fundraising during the Startup Weekend.

The icing on the cake? After this first fundraising, I met the members of a Bordeaux-based investing fund. And I’m having discussions with them to raise funds a second time. In less than 4 months!  

Conclusion: Participate in a Startup Weekend. Pitch your projects. Don’t come only with the “side projects” you’d like to test. Come with the project that you’re really envisioning to launch. Pitch it! Your project was not liked by the audience? That’s a shame but that’s not a big deal. Live your weekend! Join a team, give the most of yourself, talk to people, re-pitch your project to the mentors if you want… Take all the opportunities that can bring you an event like Startup Weekend Bordeaux.


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Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian