When I visited the two LAUNCH Incubator classes in December, it was to allegedly to see if there were any interesting companies to advise. My real plan though was to soak up some of their weekly pitch practice. We were working on an iPhone app for Recurrency that we planned to debut at the LAUNCH Festival and I wanted our presentation to go as smoothly as our last one.
But watching other people pitch their startups isn’t a substitute for pitching your own. So when Jason told me that a spot had opened up, I jumped right in.
What a wild ride. Our first week of pitching went great. We won the most points. It felt like it was going to be a breeze.
Was I ever wrong.
The next few pitches in January didn’t go well at all. The expert guests were confused. One of those sessions devolved into what felt like a startup intervention.
“Do I have you use your failed crowdfunding site if I just want to use this incredible app?”
What? Recurrency hadn’t failed! But it hadn’t succeeded either. Damn.
The third week of January was brutal. Based on this feedback, we were wrestling with the possibility of shutting down Recurrency and pivoting to exclusively work on our app. That same week, I lost my cofounder.
Our launch on stage was so much better than it would have been if I didn’t have eight weeks of practice in front of a half dozen other founders and 3 or 4 weekly expert guests.
Since I’m the only person who has gone through the LAUNCH Incubator twice, people ask me which class was better: the first or the third. It’s an easy question to answer. I’ve known the founders from the first class for over a year now, so I’ve got stronger friendships there. But the companies and products in the third class were much further along when they joined — and the team running the Incubator has so much more experience now. Everything about the third Incubator was better.
I can only imagine how great the TV show is going to be.