Why We Do Demo Day

FounderFuel 10th Cohort paid a visit to 5 companies during its first Road Trip – Photo credits: Carl Aytieh

On July 11, FounderFuel will host its 10th Demo Day. It’s quite a project to bring together 1,300 startup people, even just for a few hours. The logistics alone are daunting, to say nothing of the work to prep our teams to deliver inspiring and impactful pitches. As we gear up for another crazy push, it feels worthwhile to pause for a moment to remind ourselves why we do it.

As investors, the purpose of Demo Day is straightforward. A venture accelerator like FounderFuel combines small investments with intense coaching to prepare startups for larger financing rounds. In this context, Demo Day is an efficient way to present our portfolio to the next round of potential funders in the best light possible – with practiced pitches, in a beautiful theater, alongside guest speakers and community leaders. While Demo Day is by no means the only way we support interaction between our companies and investors, it is an essential part of the mix.

Demo Day is also crucial to the internal dynamics of our acceleration program. Three months is a short period of time – just one quarter of a year. High output is possible during a single quarter, but it requires intense focus and execution. Demo Day helps provide that focus. Most importantly, Demo Day acts as a clear deliverable for our work on company narrative, which is a key pillar of the FounderFuel approach. Appearing on stage in front of 1,300 people is a great way to motivate the CEOs to refine their value proposition and company vision. Demo Day is also useful for driving execution, since great pitches need great numbers. Indeed, as the date approaches, the best teams use it as a way to close sales and partnerships or as a forcing function for product launches.

Looking beyond the ways in which Demo Day “works” for FounderFuel, it occurs to me that, as with much that we do at Real Ventures, there is also a deeper purpose. Demo Day is a celebration. In a narrow sense, we gather to celebrate our companies, their hard work, their potential, their ambition. In a broader sense we gather to celebrate the ecosystem in which they were born and in which they hope to thrive. In other words, Demo Day is about community. It’s a place for existing members of the ecosystem to deepen their ties. It’s an open door for new entrants to “see what it’s all about”. And for everyone who attends, it’s a chance to engage with a high impact dose startup energy. FounderFuel is a startup party and everyone is invited. And great communities need great parties.

That last paragraph is an irresistible segue into a link for tickets, so here you go. We still have some space left but it will go fast, so grab them while you can. We’re looking forward to sharing another amazing night with all of you.

Isaac Souweine
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