Tech start-ups need to build up their brand and achieve market traction before they can secure funding, according to the co-founder of Melbourne-based tech incubator Angel Cube.
Andrew Birt heads up Angel Cube, which opened its doors earlier in the year, along with Adrian Stone and Nathan Sampimon, founder of web development firm Inspire9.
The incubator recently selected four start-ups to participate in its first funding round, offering each start-up an average of $25,000, free office space and a three-month mentoring program.
The start-ups are now gearing up for Angel Cube’s first demo day on December 5, when each start-up will pitch their ideas to around 70 investors and mentors.
“It’ll be the first real chance for investors to see the progress each team has made during the Angel Cube program,” Birt says.
“In addition to all our mentors, we’re assembling a panel of prominent VCs to provide feedback to each of the teams.”
Birt says the objective of the demo day is to give start-ups the opportunity to pitch, receive quality feedback and make contacts. If they manage to secure funding, it’s seen as a bonus.
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Birt provides an overview of the first four Angel Cube start-ups:
RentWant is a peer-to-peer exchange.
“Users are able to log on and if they want help with anything – it might be they need their lawns mowed or want someone to do their shipping for them – they place a request and people respond to that job, and you can pick the right person,” Birt says.
Lexim is an online management system, similar to Blackboard or Moodle.
“It’s software-as-a-service, so it’s cloud-based and really easy to set up. Teachers subscribe for out-of-the-box solutions. It’s aimed at high school teachers and also university undergraduate teachers.”
TestPilot.me is a software testing tool, also cloud-based.
“Originally, developers would have had to set up their own testing service. Now they can tap into this cloud offering with a successful distributed platform.”
Goodfil.ms is a ratings and reviews site, similar to Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates critics’ reviews.
“Goodfil.ms aggregates what your friends are watching. It’s a standalone platform but it uses Facebook and Twitter to build a friend list and then display films based on what your friends are watching.”
Birt says while it’s important to have an original idea, achieving market traction is often seen as more important.
“That’s got to be the hardest thing for any start-up. If it’s going well, people will always take it seriously,” he says.
“Having something to show – something tangible investors can look at or play with – is also important. A lot of people submit ideas but there’s no link [to their site] or basic landing page.”
“I like looking at landing pages. You can get a sense of the brand and the value proposition pretty quickly.”
“It’s like a legal case. The more evidence you mount, the easier it is for investors to make a decision.”