Andrej Dula is the CEO of Rezztek, a 2019 Boston Gold Winner. This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
If you are expecting a 10 step guide how to win at a prestigious accelerator with guarantee, I suggest you stop reading right here. This is merely an observation of the Mass Challenge journey of Rezztek®, while the whole experience still is a fresh memory. Nevertheless, let me summarize it for you in a couple of bullet points:
Play to Win
I honestly never expected for us to even make the final 20. Not that I lack confidence, but the sheer volume of startups is intimidating. Then you get to learn what they do, how awesome the other companies are and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
Easy for us to say when we were the only sporting goods startup in the cohort but seriously, listen to the others and then adjust your pitch to be different. Does everyone sound high-tech and throws huge numbers around? Being more casual and laid back might help to differentiate.
Get the Best Talent
After day two of Mass Challenge just by seeing other founders pitch, I knew that in order to get to the top, help was needed. Grab the best possible mentors, previous Mass Challenge finalists, compare yourself with other companies from your cohort, just do not think you do not need to improve. Because everybody around you will.
In the office, in sessions, with other founders. They are most probably solving very similar issues so why not share the knowledge? Literally go to every event that even remotely makes sense for your business. How else would you find out that the guy running an investment fund also plays hockey?
Involve Your Cohort
Bring samples, organise a demo, do something for them. Connecting a face to the name of the company is priceless. Unless your startup freezes sperm, a demo is always a good idea (and maybe even then, right Legacy?)
Even though to be successful in Mass Challenge, you have to be present, your company still remains more important. Set goals for the time at Mass Challenge, talk about them, but most importantly, achieve them and let people know.
Make It Easy for the MC Staff
They are working hard and really like what they are doing. Help them by being on time with your submissions, having your logos ready, respond to them before deadlines and reply to their messages. They will not judge your startup, but their help can go a long way.
In the end, it just might turn out to be a hell of a journey, so why so serious?
Thanks to Mass Challenge, Rezztek® was featured on NBC Boston. Thanks to Mass Challenge, Rezztek® was chosen among a handful of startups to be featured in a MC promotional video. Thanks to Mass Challenge, Rezztek® was featured in the Slovak Edition of the Forbes magazine in a interview about the MC success.
I would like to thank the MC staff (Elisabeth, Christian, Matt, Siobhan, Katy, Kevin, Cait, Dan, Alexia, Joe, Liz, Hannah, Kara) for their great work and dedication - thanks to you guys the MC office is a great place to work and the whole MC experience was pretty much flawless.
A big thanks to all the mentors that found and dedicate time to help make Rezztek® a contender. Gary for challenging me to get out of my comfort zone and see the bigger picture. Stephanie for sharing valuable experiences and explaining what NPS is :) Rain for everything on 3D scanning and also for being pretty damn cool. Doug for the dig deep into our brand strategy and value proposition. Jodi for being there since day one of the long way and always supportive. And last but definitely not least Derek for being confident that we can win and helping me craft a badass pitch deck.
A big thanks also goes to our team at Rezztek® and also our advisors and investors, who worked hard to achieve goals, that we set for the duration of Mass Challenge. And last but not least to my wonderful wife and kids who were great sports throughout the whole hot summer in Boston and even attended the MC Awards and supported me the whole way.
Good luck to all MC 2019 winners, finalists, but especially to all companies from our wolf pack. Fellow Gold winners Lab Grown Source (make them rain guys!) but also to all the others who did not make the final 20 but definitely could have like Jamber, The Feel Good Lab, Radian Jeans, Aisling Organics.