From the way the startup landscape is often portrayed in the media, what startups covet above all else is funding. That may be true for some, but any investor will likely tell you that the smarter ones are after customers. Customers, however, can often be harder to come by than investors.
Melbourne company Versent, which helps enterprises create and utilise innovative new technology, is looking to help bridge the gap by hosting B2B pitch nights at its community space Level 3 throughout 2016. These pitch nights aim to give startups the opportunity to accelerate their sales process by pitching their products and services to big industry players.
“This is a unique opportunity. While many pitch nights provide investment to winners on the night, we are hoping our outcome is one step beyond investment in that we are providing real customers for the startups,” said Dave Slutzkin, general manager at Level 3.
The team hopes that helping startups meet and sign up real customers rather than spending time pitching to investors will help solidify their business model, in turn helping them pitch more confidently to investors later down the line.
Sarah Rudd of Level 3 said that with Versent boasting 12 of the top 20 ASX companies and various government agencies as clients, it will be drawing on these relationships to ensure that the startups are pitching to a full room.
“[We will] ensure we have senior decision making enterprises that are looking to partner and leverage startups in the room. The [Versent] founders are ex-enterprise and corporate customers and therefore have a good understanding of what enterprises needs are, and know the value in quick startup technologies,” she said.
The pitch nights reflect the purpose for Level 3’s existence in itself. Versent launched the space last year in the hopes of creating a place for the startup community to meet and mingle with enterprise; at its core it exists so that enterprise can learn to create product in a viable way that can be integrated within their business.
“We knew that we had to facilitate the introduction of startups with enterprises, one can’t be successful without the other. For us to really entice the relationship we really had to create an environment and an event that will bring everyone together in the same room,” Rudd said.