We aren’t a tech company. Heck, we’re barely tech-enabled. The sagacious team of Tech Launch saw something in us, OnGo Spray. They gave us the opportunity to pitch our Company in front of dozens of investors and be critiqued by a panel of distinguished judges. The room was also filled with passionate students of the Rutgers Business School – some there to learn about business presentations and others with aspirations of being an entrepreneur themselves.
I invited our Chief Digital Officer, Jessica Prieto, to take part in the presentation and networking. This was our first pitch in front of a crowd, ever, and it was an extremely promising experience. We had just ten days to prepare for this pitch – envision and rehearse – and in 9 minutes, try to sell the company’s proposition, its product, ourselves, as well as predict and answer the fundamental objections that may arise. Jessica was the star, by the way.
After our presentation, there was a 7-minute Q&A by investors and students alike, and what impressed me the most was the thoughtfulness of these questions. They indeed paid attention to all the details of the presentation and asked excellent questions. Perhaps my favorite quote of all time is by Voltaire, “Judge a man (woman) by his (or her) questions, rather than by his answers.”
Then came the judges’ turn, and no, it wasn’t like Simon Cowell, but thoughtful and constructive critique; while some of it was hard to critique (and rightfully so), it was almost always constructive. We thought we had communicated those points of contention well in our presentation, but apparently, we didn’t. Perhaps it was the nervousness or the lack of experience. In hindsight, I would have rehearsed in front of other people and asked them to critique us. By the end of the Q&A and Judges’ critique, I wasn’t sure whether we did well or not.
However, as soon as the presentations formally ended, I got my answer. After the presentation, a line of people coming up to Jessica and me, congratulating us on a great presentation and tacking tough questions well. They all asked for our card and contact information. Best of all, some even purchased our product. I would like to formally thank Mr. Ratan Agarwal and Mario Casabona for inviting us.
When people think about “living the American Dream,” no one thinks about working for a Corporation. Almost all of these dreams are around a small business or entrepreneurship. Most people that work off of this dream also set their goals and work hard towards them. They are smart, resourceful, and hard working people. However, almost none of them take into account the necessity of fund-raising. It’s an art, a skill, and it’s time-consuming; in all reality, it might be harder than creating the product itself!
I’m a former athlete, an engineer, and a business owner. About 20 months ago I embarked on a new journey that I had NO idea about – entrepreneurship. It’s different from being a small business owner; this time I started a Company based off a sense, created a functioning product, gained consumer feedback, and launched – all without a team, without any foreseeable cash-flow, and without any certainty that it will come to fruition.
In sharing these thoughts with Jessica, being creative that she is, she asked me to share my experiences with other people, especially aspiring entrepreneurs. So today we’ll start with a series of blogs geared around my journey as an entrepreneur. Since our product is a spray in a bottle, rightfully, the title will be “Entrepreneur’s journey in a bottle.”
Next, I’ll take a step back and reveal my journey thus far, focusing on what I’ve learned and what I would have done differently. Stay tuned!