TechCrunch Disrupt Challenge: Describe Your Startup (in a 140 characters or less)
I was able to attend TechCrunch Disrupt 2016 held in San Francisco and focused my time meeting startups that had a display on the floor. After I would meet with a startup, I would take a picture of them, include their company name or Twitter account and described what they did. This interestingly enough was a challenge for almost all the startups I talked to.
In some cases, it was a no brainer. A startup would have a short tag line that was descriptive and easy to comprehend. An example is Infani Inc, Smart Baby Monitor Solution. Being a parent, I instantly got it.
However, for many of the startups that I met, it wasn’t so simple. A good example is Troop. Their tagline was “Organize your Business with Cards.” When I read their tagline, I assumed it was some sort of system that organized business cards. It turns out that it was something more like Basecamp. So, in as we were brainstorming how to describe it, the phrase “it’s like JIRA for everything. “ Hmmm…being a developer, I knew what JIRA was but I don’t think a lot of people did. We finally settled on “Card base collaboration system.” My response was that I don’t think people would get it but in the interest of time, we went with it. For this article, I went back to their web site and they changed their Tag Line to “The best way to manage your project, your team, your life.” To their credit, they must have taken feedback from TechCrunch and re-worked their tag line.
It wasn’t only startups that had a challenge describing what they did in a tweet. The folks at the IBM Watson display had a hard time describing Watson; finally settling on “Artificial Intelligence Platform” (I helped them with that). Cisco also had a hard time describing Cisco Spark. Their initial description was “It’s like Slack” but quickly dismissed it. They finally got their marketing person on their team who came up with “Business Collaboration Made Simple.” I don’t know what that means but went with it.
Hopefully, you’ve got a 30 second elevator pitch for your chance encounter with Marc Andreessen. But I’ll end this article with a challenge to you. Can you describe what your startup does in 140 characters or less? Try it. I think this will be a good exercise that will force you to be succinct in describing your startup.
By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014. Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.