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WhoAPI @ Seedcamp in Prague

Seedcamp experience is something I would recommend to every wannabe businessman, entrepreneur, startup founder. If they choose to invite you, you will have to constantly test and push yourself.

Goran Duskic WhoAPI's co-founder networking at Seedcamp
Goran Duskic WhoAPI’s co-founder networking at Seedcamp

You have to talk to them (Seedcamp), show them you are making progress, and apply their suggestions until they ask you to come. It doesn’t matter in which town they hold an event. Get in your car, find affordable accommodation and prepare for something that will change you.

With all the work around selling our hosting business and finishing our last web development projects, it seemed to us that all the info regarding Seedcamp came in the last minute. We really didn’t have that much time to prepare for the perfect pitch. But that’s the whole point, you never have enough time for anything. We pitched a month ago in Berlin on HackFwd event, but that presentation was for 8-10 minutes, and in Seedcamp Prague we had 3 minutes. Seriously, 3 minutes? But technically that’s all the time you have to grab the VC’s attention and trust me, that’s all the time you need if you are any good.

The point of the 3-minute pitch is to be direct, stay on point, learn how to prioritize and say whats downright important!

Seedcamp in Prague saw a pitch of an API that provides information about domain names.
Seedcamp in Prague saw a pitch of an API that provides information about domain names.

1st Seedcamp tip

Everybody is a potential : _______________ fill in the blank. Seriously, be alert all the time! When you go to the coatroom when you eat when you go to the toilet, all the time! I am dead serious! When we arrived at the Cervo Institut where the main event was held one of the organizers/hostesses told us where cloakroom was. And I really couldn’t remember what is a cloakroom. Please keep reading, this story is important. So I went inside, to see what kind of a room this was. Then I saw hangers, jackets, coats, and realized it was a wardrobe, a coatroom.

Shortly after another person entered the wardrobe, and I started a conversation about how I couldn’t remember what a cloakroom was until I remembered playing Diablo 10 years ago, where you wore cloaks. And the guy laughed and commented on how games can be educational. I responded that was true, and the first time I realized that was in high school when I was the one pupil out of 30 to know what “congested” meant. And when the teacher asked me to explain the word and how I knew about what it meant, I explained and said I knew this from playing Sim City 3000. So naturally, the guy laughed again, and so did I. Then he asked about my startup, and he (Thomas Preuss from VC fond Neuhaus partners) ended up giving me his business card, and to send him the info and to update him. So you see, stay sharp!

2nd Seedcamp tip

Have 50 business cards (oh, that means your co-founder to).

3rd Seedcamp tip

Stay open-minded. Take feedback, listen to tips, open your ears, eyes, mind.

4th Seedcamp tip

Stay sharp! Prepare your best answers. Always remember, you didn’t go there to eat or drink. Except for water, drink a lot of that cause your throat is going to burn like hell from all the talking. You didn’t go there for the site seeing. And no, you didn’t go there to sleep either. Be prepared to pitch in the middle of your meal cause some VC will see your name tag, and he is on a mission to test you because you managed to impress his partner so they sent him to see if you are any good. OK, get it?

Goran Duskic WhoAPI's co-founder and CEO pitching at Seedcamp in Prague.
Goran Duskic WhoAPI’s founder and CEO pitching at Seedcamp in Prague.

Imagine pitching in front of over 100 people. Half of them are your competitors (everybody is really nice and friendly, but let’s be honest, if the startup next to you is much better, where will the VC go?) and the other half can make or break your startup. You are pitching to the sort of people that work at Google, exited out of their startups for tens of millions of dollars, had Rothschild as their client, etc. Trust me, I am not making this up… My friends told me that I don’t need to worry that they are ordinary people, just like me. Easy for them to say, take a look at this picture below.

I accidentally met a guy… he was standing there alone, I approached him and didn’t know who he was, started a conversation… Very benign… He ended up registering and paying for WhoAPI pro package, very very excited about the service! So if you ever, ever think you are tired, and the person standing next to you is not important, think again.

WhoAPI founders receiveing mentoring at Seedcamp.
WhoAPI receiving mentoring at Seedcamp.

We had this mentoring session. I call them the mixer because afterwards, you feel like you went throughout the mixer. And this one particular mentor didn’t agree with anything I said, and I mean anything! I was beginning to question myself and if anything I said made any real sense. When the mentoring was over, he connected us with the 3rd biggest hosting and domain registrar in the Czech Republic, which could potentially be our biggest deal so far.

Although we passed to last round of pitching, we didn’t get the investment from Seedcamp, but we managed to get something we went there for, something much more valuable 🙂

Written by Goran Duskic

I am the founder and CEO at WhoAPI. Entrepreneur for more than a decade in the hosting and domain industry. Sold my previous company. 500 Startups and StartLabs alumni. Author of a white paper "Domain Disclosure: Dirty Dozen" and eBook "26 Fundraising Questions for Startups".

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