In the past two years, the ones that are closely connected to MavenHut, I’ve applied to different competitions and accelerators (ok, one accelerator) and I’ve got accepted to almost all of them (I think I’ve only missed Web Summit in London in 2012, when the company was still young and I didn’t have too much to say about it).
Among the ones that accepted us were Startup Bootcamp Dublin, Enterprise Ireland Competitive Startup Fund, Venture Connect (Bucharest), How to Web Startup Spotlight (Bucharest), Global Technology Symposium (Silicon Valley), Best Startup in Romania, Best Co-founder in Romania. There are some more, but these are the most important ones.
As you can see above, I’ve set myself as quite the expert :)) There are some competitions there. But it could’ve been so many more, since there are so many startup competitions right now (in Europe, at least).
First tip: choose your battles.
I never try to compete somewhere unless I have a really good reason: become more visible in a target market, get investors, start the product. This means I analyze every competition there is, who comes there, what is the impact in the areas of interest for me and then I decide. Most of the times against participating, because it takes a lot of time to fill in everything.
Second tip: Take your time filling in the forms
This is by far the best tip I could think of. It takes me (even now) 2-3 days at least to complete a form. I write the informations again and again, in a note in Evernote, until I get the best form possible. I use as few words as possible, put the exact information requested, nothing more, and I really emphasize what makes us different. I talk to people, I let them read what I wrote, see if they understand what I try to say…
While the information that you put in is important, the form might actually be more important. The jurors have to go through tens or hundreds of applications, so make their job as easy as possible.
That’s it! I got the idea to write about this from a friend of mine that asked me about 2 months ago how I’ve done it and I remembered to write because I saw that Startup Spotlight is closing its doors at the end of this week. MavenHut won Best Pitch last year at Startup Spotlight and it was a good experience for us (talked to a lot of like-minded people, met a lot of investors). So take 2 days and fill in their form. And do it well :)
P.S.: the photo above is our “Proud Corner”, with the prizes we took and the t-shirts worn during different important moments in our company’s life :) Later update: Yes, we know it should be “Corner of Pride”, but our corner is really proud of us, ok? :))