How to Overcome After Demo Day Fatigue

Hi teams of Startupbootcamp class 2014 Berlin,

This is an open letter to say a few words about your accomplishments.

  • You managed to go through a program of high pressure and stress.
  • You did storytelling, pitching, market and customer discovery, customer development, business modeling and many more things.
  • You built a alpha/beta version of your product or improved your public version.
  • You learned a lot. Starting a startup is all about learning. Keep on.
  • You dealt with emotional ups and downs.
  • You made entrepreneurial friends :)
  • For most of you, you managed to live in a completely new city (challenge of new culture, environment, finding a flat etc) and will continue to stay in Berlin.
  • You managed sleepless nights and dealt with anxiety about how to reach customers, how to make money and how to build a profitable business.
  • You had close to 50 speed dating sessions with more than 100+ mentors, dealmakers and investors.
  • You had weekly check ins with Startupbootcamp (mostly Tanja, sometimes Alex and Danny).
  • You had 7 entrepreneurs in residence (EiR) work for you. SPECIAL THANKS TO Jens Hartwig, Julie Silverman, Lorenzo Sinisi, Martin Holzmeister, Patrik Winkler and Sebastian Dehling. 
  • You pitched your business in front of 500 people at demo day. (#sbcdemoday - check out the tweets)

Be Mindful about YOUR Achievements

I am sure that you managed many more obstacles. Please take a moment and think about them. You just finished Startupbootcamp. You changed. Your personality changed. You have grown in how you make decisions, how you deal with team issues. Even though knowing that going through an accelerator program is another tiny step to your startup journey, take your time to reflect and be mindful. What did you learn? What can you improve?

The startup game is so rapid, dynamic and exciting that we forget to enjoy it and celebrate our achievements. Take a moment or two to stand still. Hold on. Appreciate your work. Your ambition. Be proud of you.

We were told SBC is one of the best accelerators in Europe, and the public stats were really impressive, so we decided to give it a try. After the experience at the selection days, we were 100% convinced, and after the program we are 200%.
— Oriol Tort, CEO @Counterest
The mission for myBus is to get out of project based business to a scalable one. After the program we opened a lot of leads into that direction, that we would never have accessed without SBC.
— Malte Metzing, CEO @myBus

Overcome After Demo Day Fatigue

Every story has a twist. You know that. That’s why I also want to share a few words on how your upcoming months will look like (it’s how I felt after leaving Startupbootcamp in 2012 with Spotistic)

  • You will have after demo day fatigue because you leave a community, you just started to really appreciate (love in that context feels to strong. Sorry I am not American here :)
  • You will have after demo day fatigue because you won’t have another demo day in three months. Be aware that you need to have major goals for your startup journey.
  • You often feel excited and tired. Sometimes it changes within seconds. Deal with these emotional states. Build a life around your startup. Building a startup should be a marathon, not a series of sprints. Just run the marathon really quick ;)
  • You will renew your pitches as you get new insights from customers and the market.
  • You will probably get not a lot of MAYBE's from investors. Don’t think that not getting a NO is a good thing. It’s an investor’s job to keep you close. You won't hear No’s.

Again, this is just a tiny bit of the emotions you will go through. However, be extremely aware what it means not being in an accelerator anymore. You have to set your own goals. You need to define your path to success. Depending on your startup's stage (problem/solution fit, product/market fit, sales scale), the following questions might help:

  • What 3 major milestones will we accomplish in the next 3 months? 6 months? 12 months?
  • How do we make this happen?
  • Why do we make this happen?
  • Who will make this happen?
  • What needs to happen that we will continue to push? Define success metrics.

My WISH for Entrepreneurs

Despite the massive hurdles and challenges starting a startup entails, I wish that startup founders find a life set up that allows them to be an entrepreneur for 20 or 30 years or even more years. In my eyes, it’s not only about starting and doing it for a few months or years. Being an entrepreneur is a lifetime’s journey. A passion. So let’s build a life around our passion and do this as long as we are alive. That’s at least my personal goal. Because it would be tragic that “failed” first-time startup founders wouldn’t try starting another startup again.

I am extremely proud of you. By writing this post, I took a moment to stand still and appreciate your accomplishments. I wish you all the best for the upcoming months.

Bye, Danny

PS: Special thanks to Alex Farcet and Tanja Kufner to give me this great opportunity to coach early-stage startups at Startupbootcamp. Also big thanks to Luisa, Heather and Daniela making me feel at home all the time.

PPS: It was a great pleasure not only working with each team, but also with each entrepreneur in residence (EiR). SPECIAL THANKS TO Jens Hartwig, Julie Silverman, Lorenzo Sinisi, Martin Holzmeister, Patrik Winkler and Sebastian Dehling. I can't thank you enough for your support, trust and teaching.

 

Über den Autor: Danny möchte Studenten & Absolventen durch StartupGeist - Blog & Podcast - helfen, ihre unternehmerischen Träume zu entdecken und diese fokussiert und produktiv zu realisieren. Entdecke auch du deinen StartupGeist und hole dir eines von Danny's 5 eBooks.