On March 24th, Plug and Play Techcenter hosted its spring PACT. The concept is quite simple: thirty startups presenting their product in a 2-minute elevator pitch to a panel of VCs. The jury decides the best three, which are then qualified to present for 10 minutes followed by a Q&A round. Everything began as usual. Saeed Amidi made his usual speech and announced the expansion of Plug and Play Techcenters around the world through franchises or JVs (Singapore, Malaysia, Austria). The model of the incubator associated with venture capitalists funds seems interesting for these countries and being associated with the biggest incubator in the world makes sense. The keynote speaker, Vivek Paul, former CEO of Wipro, insisted on what was an ideal Silicon Valley success story: “Not funded, no IPO but they knew when to sell their
But when the pitch ballet began, the mood was underwhelming: speakers were not appealing, the PowerPoint presentations were not good and the crowd was disappointed. It evoked PayPal Platform Product General Manager Jason Korosec's words at the Peer Financing conference: “Stop spending time on putting your idea in a PowerPoint to convince VCs. Build it and test it on real customers.”
The average level of the startups was a little disappointing and the fact that the early stage startups were mixed with more mature firms was a problem. It was especially confusing for European “startups” which had solid business cases in Europe, like the Hungarian Innovatix, providing an indoor navigation product, or Spain's Planet Media in the telco sector.
At the end, the three winners were m-via, an international money transfer solution, Volta Energy, an electric power management system and A-volute, revolutionary 3D sound software.
We hope that next PACT will provide better candidates, as other elevator-pitch conferences of the week like Spring Demo and Y Combinator's 10th Demo Day were more successful.