Meet Ankur Patel and Param Vora, winners of our recent Supercharged sweepstakes. As part of the prize package, Ankur and Param were given the opportunity to grab coffee with three venture capitalists (VCs) and discuss their startup OpenSilo, an enterprise SaaS platform that gives employees fast access to internal subject matter experts. They recently sat down with us to share the top highlights from their experience:
1. Receiving game-changing advice for their startup
Ankur: To be honest, winning this giveaway was the most relevant surprise of all time. These meetings with VCs were extremely relevant for us as co-founders, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Our startup OpenSilo has only been around for a few months, so getting feedback and validation on our company strategy at that stage was critical. The advice and direction we received will absolutely influence how we’ll grow long-term.
2. Being exposed to a new way of thinking about their product
Param: It was incredibly useful to talk to VCs with different backgrounds. We’d been focused on developing an enterprise product, and Sarah Tavel offered a more consumer-oriented perspective from her experience working at Pinterest. She emphasized taking out unnecessary features and keeping things simple — we’ll definitely keep her advice in mind as we continue to think through the user experience of our platform.
3. Refining their pitch
Ankur: When pitching investors, entrepreneurs usually have to rely on reading the facial expressions of their audience to see if they’re following. Stephanie Palmeri literally gave us an A/B/C/D grade for our pitch, and provided direct feedback on which parts needed work and clarification (e.g. our go-to-market strategy). By the end of our three meetings, we had refined our pitch into one simple and effective sentence — an absolute necessity for any startup.
4. Brainstorming with a VC
Param: One of my favorite parts of the experience was a brainstorming session with Brendan Baker. This was a first for us, and I’m not sure if we’ll have the opportunity to do that again — to throw around ideas and get to know a VC in a creative, low-pressure environment.
5. Enjoying luxury service around the city
Ankur: This whole trip was a really well-timed opportunity for us to get advice from VCs. But it was fun, too — staying at the Intercontinental was awesome (thanks WeHostels!), and the transportation Sidecar provided going from one VC meeting to another was definitely a pleasant experience. Overall it was one amazing weekend.
So, what’s next?
Ankur: We’re looking forward to getting back to the VCs in a few months time to show them the progress we’ve made and the traction we’ve gained since our first meetings. Part of our prize package included a subscription to GA Front Row, so we’re also excited to check out some of the online classes. In the future, we’d be more than happy to win the next GA sweepstakes, too!
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