Editor’s Note: This story was originally posted on the blog of “Rev: Ithaca Startup Works” and is being republished with the Ithaca incubator’s permission.
The 21st Century Library Campaign – Tompkins County Public Library
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Three Shark Tank investors and nearly 25,000 people attended IBM’s SmartCamp Global Finals in MGM Grand & Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Rosie, an Ithaca-based startup that allows customers to buy groceries online for delivery, pitched its company among two other finalists in front of this crowd, competing for first place in the program. Rosie competed on both a local and regional level to earn their spot in IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, and advanced to pitch its idea in front of these celebrity investors on February 23.
Rosie’s CEO, Nick Nickitas (pictured talking to three of the “sharks”), had 6 minutes to pitch his company and answer questions in front of the Shark Tank group.
He opted to take 30 seconds to deliver his pitch and leave the remaining time for Q+A which worked out in his favor. The investors recognized the benefits in Rosie’s model, including Rosie’s competitive advantage in marketing, technology, and data and analytics. Rosie was the only startup finalist to receive positive feedback from the group and, among the competition, had the most sales and traction. Despite the effort, Rosie was beat out by by Insight Robotics, of China.
Still, Rosie gained tremendous exposure and opportunities from the event: Its Facebook page received 1,900 new “likes” in the past 30 days, and Nickitas and his team took advantage of networking abilities and connected with 40 investors, some of them senior level executives. Rosie will meet with IBM reps to discuss feedback received from investors as well as Rosie’s future growth.
When I asked Nick what set him apart from the other presenters and allowed him to be the only group that received positive feedback, he noted that he was the only one to stick to the allotted time of 6 minutes. All of the other presenters went way over the time limit, and the “Sharks” were not happy.
When Nick said this I thought back to comments made by Brad Treat at Rev’s recent networking event. Those comments were repeated here in Brad’s blog post “How to win a business plan competition”. The very first rule he lists is to “Hit the time limit. If you go over the allotted time, you look unprepared.” I guess that is where theory, practice and reality meet.