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Eleven selection days

Eleven selection days



Probably the most coveted and enticing moment of 2014 for Cybercity - Althemy crew. After almost a year of work and studying and pitching and crushed egos and a lack of sleep, we made it to Sofia, Bulgaria to join the Selection Days of Eleven Venture Fund.

Day 0
After a whole night of travel in what is probably the worst train west of India, we grabbed a nice apartment close to the offices of Eleven, got some rest and started preparing for the pitch. We felt it was important to try different versions and approaches and we were ready that some things would need to be changed in accordance to feedback we’ll receive from mentors.

So we prepared a one minute pitch, our standard pitch and a couple of other version we can use on the go, depending what aspect of Cybercity – Althemy we needed to pitch and focus on.
Believing we are as ready as we’re ever going to be, we even managed to enter the land of dreams before the sunrise – quite a feat for the night hawks that we are.

Day 1
Probably the most exciting day of all, as we had no idea what expect or what is about to happen. We made our way to this enormous building and entered the offices of Eleven, where the first startups were just arriving. We were greeted by mentors, mostly other startup-ers who were already part of Elevens network.

Day one was meant for us to get to know each other and in order to do so, the guys from Creative Shower devised a little game. But before the games began, Dylian and Vessi gave us a little presentation about Eleven, how it works, what it does, and what can we expect from Eleven and what Eleven expects from us if we are taken under it’s wing.

So once we learned about them. It was time for startups to make the introductions. First we had a little zodiac game, where people were segregated into groups based on their zodiac sign. Then a leader of the group was selected who had to pitch in less than a minute what were the main traits of their sign and what was their unfair advantage above others.

We are happy to say, that our Aion Ra and Max were selected to present their respective groups.

But what was the point of the whole zodiac game? Simple, to break the stage fever and prepare people for the next part of the program – the one minute pitches.

Now, considering how difficult it used to be to explain what we were doing when we were just starting our startup journey, we were quite surprised we actually pulled it off. All the hard work at the Academy paid out it seems.

By the time all 25+ startups made their introductions, throats were dry and stomachs were growling. So when Eleven announced the it was time for pizza and beer, it was greeted with a loud cheer. The rest of the evening we’ve spent casually, drinking, eating and talking to our mentors and other startups, before making our way home and getting ready for the most challenging day tomorrow.
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Day 2
This was by far the most demanding day of the three. Both mentally and physically, as we had to pick 5 mentors who will help us shape our presentation for the final pitch on day 3.

The structure was simple but tasking. We pitch our startup to a mentor, run a Q&A session with them, receive feedback and then rewrite the pitch on the spot and pitch it again.

Then, move to another mentor and do the same.

Later we pitched the final version to other startups and received feedback and Q&A with them, and then we learned that it was all part of a bigger game.

The mentors we have chosen, acted as fake investors, who had to decide in which startups of those they mentored, would they like to invest into. This was done not with money but with points. And as mentor withdrew to make their decisions, we were invited for a little creative game.

All startups we offered to pick from a pile of pizza boxes, fluo-markers, sticky tapes and anything we could get our hands on, to create a physical representation of our startup. Then all this “artpieces” were gathered in one place and they were to be presented not by the team that made them, but by random selection. So each startup had to pitch a startup they don’t know, based on visual representation of it only.

I picked Dextrophobia Rooms, personified in this case as a black box with one way in and out, and a pink condom on the other end… Well, it was a pink balloon, but the condom remark made for some good laughs.
After a few more hilarious pitches that followed our own, the voting was done, and we were happy to learn that our team and Cybercity – Althemy had 3rd place by popular choice.

We made our way home, hoping that tomorrow we will be able to match that position and secure our place as part of the Eleven family.
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Day 3

We don’t function well in the morning, and luckily for us there were so many startups pitching that day, that we had the great and lovely luck to pitch in the late afternoon. So after a good sleep we got ready to release the Kraken once more.

The pitch was a standard 5 minute one, but the Q&A session that followed took over 25 minutes more or cross-examination about the platform, the community, our team, our plans etc… It was condense and thorough, but lighthearted and fun.

And then, the hardest game of all began – The Waiting Game.

5 long hours of waiting for results ensued, as there were more pitches after us and decisions to be made by Elevens management team.

But then we heard it – We Were Accepted :)

We officially became the part of Eleven – batch 7 investment round.

And we celebrated like beasts that night, joined by both old and new members of Eleven.

Tomorrow, after signing all the paperwork and sealing the deal on administrative level, we boarded the worst train west of India, and made our way back home, with full hearts and minds sparking with fresh enthusiasm.
Even the light that didn’t work in our compartment didn’t bother us, as we were shining on our own

Jagi Journal author