Days #34-38: Pitch day @Draper University

The pitch is done! We have all graduated from Draper University!

Last couple of days were full of hard work, rehearsing, networking and finally led us to a pitch day. Results are in, everyone’s a winner and this was 2015 summer class of Draper University.
Pitch day
Kerstin Karu & Sander Gansen
Our team's the best

On Saturday, Erin Lang, one of our EIRs, gave us a talk about social entrepreneurship. Or as she put it, doing real good vs feel good. We also had a pitching workshop with Teri Dahlbeck, who was showing us how we should be behaving while giving our pitch. At lunch, we went to an Italian place and had a great lasagne. I decided to take a nap afterwards (around 4-5PM), only to wake up next morning, 14 hours later. I really needed this time to recover.

On the other hand, Sunday was all about practicing our pitch and we did nothing else.

On Monday, we first had speaker, Sam Bright, from eBay. He really did not want to tell us why they had split up with PayPal or what’s going to happen next, but promised, it’s going to be awesome. Then we had some time to practise our pitch and talk to DU Marketing Team, Andy and Frank about our ideas. Later, Audrey Proulx, gave us another public speaking workshop, after which we continued practising our pitches.

Finally, it was time for Tuesday, the long awaited pitch day. It all started well and I was the first one to pitch. I do not know what happened, but I guess I got a bit anxious and did not give the best pitch. People were telling I did great, but I felt I had failed myself.

Anyway, we continued to listen to everyone’s pitches and had two networking sessions in between of the close to 70 pitches. That’s where I met an Estonian, Kerstin Karu in person. She had been the one, who helped me to fill my application to Draper University back in the January and was now giving us all great feedback about our pitches.

We found out that we had common friends in Silicon Valley and called one, Kristo Peterson, up. He invited us to go to San Francisco to a networking event and so we did. There we met a couple of other Estonians, currently in the 500 startups accelerator program and had a great night.

Wednesday was our graduation day. First Tim gave us a speech and read a sentence about every one of us. Mine was something along the lines: “Sander always wants to be the first, the best, the greatest…(some more adjectives)…and one day he’ll sure reach there.” It was touching.

They then counted the points and we got the results of the pitch day – I was not in the top 15, but many of whom deserved it, were. Over all, Fire Phoenix team got the most amount of points and won. Their names will be engraved on a plate and put to a wall in Draper University.

Then we were all given capes, we had to give quick speech and jump to a pile of beanbags, where we were given our “power” crystals as a graduation gift. After that we had some food and a band (Audrey Proulx) play to us.

At the same time, every team got 15-20 minutes to speak with Tim and Andy about their future plans. Although, Tim did not let me speak much, saying he already knows my plans and we will be doing some kind of a cooperation. The rest, got some time to talk about their plans and were given some advice.

Then we also had a session with Azra, giving feedback about DraperU and another one with Josh, where every member of the team had to tell what they are mad, glad, sad and afraid about. I was mad about my pitch day results, glad that I came here, sad that its all over and a bit afraid of the future ahead.

Anyway, now its all over and it has been a great journey. I really loved every bit of it and do recommend it to others. I will also try to take some time and go through all the things we learned and maybe even write a post about it, later this week.

But the trip is not over. We are still going to be here until 1st of August and then I have another day in San Francisco. And we are going to make the most out of those days!