Mass Challenge here we come

On a phone call sometime in June, Elena mentioned that she thinks we should apply to Mass Challenge. I responded ok without any further thought.

As I got off the bus at Liverpool Steet just after 10am last Wednesday, I called Elena because as far as I as I knew it was Skills Matter day at #AcornAccelerator2016. However, I’d just got a text from her saying we were at Holition that morning. Two days at #AcornHackADA and I was brain dead hence calling rather than Googling their address.

“Er, we have a pitch at Mass Challenge”

She said after confirming where Holition were based.


I said, somewhat confused.

“You can scream now”

I looked down at my jeans, dirty white pumps and t-shirt and told her what I was wearing.

“Oh well, we come as we are.”

I said.

I was totally perplexed as to why we only got a phone call about 5 mins before to confirm that we were coming. Turns out Elena had submitted the application using her Yahoo rather than Acorn Aspirations email address hence the invitation to pitch email was sent to her Yahoo email (one she barely uses). Although she had provided her Acorn Aspirations email in the actual application itself, let’s face it, hundreds of applications would have been trawled through and I doubt the application assessors were also were also admin, so easy to understand why that note in the application would have been overlooked.

We had 28 teens doing a morning tour around Holitions office, a real eye opener to the future and an example of pushing the boundaries of Augmented Reality. We had no time to think about the impending pitch which we still had no information on. In the meantime, Elena gets a call from the nursery saying her son is running a fever and needs to be picked up. This is not an option off course and they are very understanding, agreeing to keep him until he would have been picked up anyway. It wasn’t until we walked out of Holitions doors just after midday that we knew we were in the 4pm – 6.30pm slot and the pitch was taking place a couple of streets away from where we stood. But first things first, feed the hungry rabble of teens.

It was after 1pm by the time we finally found time to sit and think about the impending pitch. It also dawned on us that due to childcare obligations, we both needed to be out of the building by 5pm. We had 2 hours to amend our business focus, think about our 2017 strategy and make sure we were aligned.

We rocked up without a pitch deck into a room full of suited and booted individuals (with the exception of one other team), people were pacing, practicing their pitches and going through I don’t know what on their laptops. Our pressing concern was to make sure we first up but the pitch times were allocated on a first come first serve basis. We were third to last on the list. We jumped on our phones frantically sorting out childcare.

A week later, we got a congratulatory email inviting us to participate in Mass Challenge.

Despite the madness of last Wednesday, things worked out as they were supposed to. I thank goodness that we didn’t know about the pitch in advance because we would have over thought things, going back and forth about the focus for 2017 and rehearsed every word to death rather than just tell our story. As fancy as our pitch got was writing the revenue strategy on a flip chart.

Now, the hard work really begins.

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