Acceleration

Maze X startup accelerator – Week 8

Maze X Startup accelerator program demo day event

Goals: pitch, make a good impression, say the right thing and meaningfully connect to a new business partner.

The feeling before pitching in a Demo Day is like going on a blind date. You dress up and feel a bit nervous. You hardly have information about the other person except for age range, workplace and university. A little bit of Linkedin stalking plus what some friend told you. It’s not the first time you are in this situation, but anxiety always finds its way in. You feel excited to go AND wish you didn’t have to go at the same time. Blind dates, demo days, potatos, potatoes. In both cases, success means to make a good impression, manage anxiety, say the right thing and meaningfully connect to a new business partner while staying true to yourself.

 

Demo Day of the first cohort of Maze X

Maze X Startup accelerator program demo day event

Contrary to previous startup accelerators we ran, we chose to do the Demo Day of the first cohort of Maze X on week 8 instead of the last (week 12). It was a bold move since some startups are still going through relevant changes. At the same time, it releases the pressure and leaves us four weeks to focus on other things than perfecting the business pitch. We are happy to announce the results were outstanding.

The Demo Day was the culmination of hard work on fine-tuning our message and our purpose. After the Demo Day, our vision and our goals are much clearer and our mindset is sharper and more focused. It was great to feel the positive energy in the room and to benefit from a powerful network of values-driven people and organizations.” said Reinaldo co-founder of Springkode

We kicked off the event with Maze X partners discussing the importance of corporate partnerships in startup accelerators to bring innovation inside big organisations, and how the foundations Calouste Gulbenkian and Edmond de Rothschild see impact entrepreneurship initiatives in their agendas. Then, the founders pitched to a full room of corporates, investors and partners. Finally, before the drinks & nibbles, Sérgio, a former student, and current teacher at Academia de Código, an impact venture that transforms the unemployed in full-stack developers, used his personal story to portrait the potential impact ventures have in changing our shared future.

For Maze X, Demo Days are unique opportunities to connect founders with their next investor or corporate partner. That is why we always opt to keep them invite-only and cosy to allow for meaningful connections. It is seldom the case that a new connection converts into an investment decision (as you rarely start a relationship on a first date; if you did, we are rooting for you m8). Demo Days are often the beginning of fruitful relationships.

 

SEO for all

In the last weeks, some founders started to work with Tiago Campos an expert on Search Engine Optimization. SEO can feel overwhelming especially if you still have a small team. Tiago follows a lean work methodology and shares checklists of best practices to ensure that all the content you put out there is contributing to your SEO. After doing exceptional work with MAZE, he is now helping Chatterbox, goodbag, MyPolis, RNTERS, SitEinander, Springkode and TUKI. “Our clinic with Tiago was the best SEO education I could have possibly dreamed off. He did extensive research and analysis on our specific use case fuelling both best practices and ideas for the next many months.” shared Udai, co-founder of TUKI.

 

There is something magical about blind dates and Demo Days. Both spark the energy and the hope for new and brighter beginnings. Even if they require a certain level of awkwardness and sweatiness, they ask us to go out of our comfort zone and make the most of it. And regardless of the result, we always take something home, a phone number or a valuable learning about someone or, even better, ourselves.

 

Photos: Maze X Demo Day full room at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation  (© Luís Macedo Photography).

 

Maze X was conceived and initiated by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations and MAZE, with the law firm PLMJ joining as a founding corporate member and BNP Paribas, Hospital da Luz Learning Health, Casa do Impacto as partners.

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