Feedback from AngelFair Johannesburg so far

A quick update from Johannesburg where I am presenting Edgeryders at angelfair in a “pitch tomorrow” (today we did a rehearsal with feedback from “judges)”. [irma wilson] is also here.

Driving Edgeryders involves costs and if we want to keep it independent we need to have revenue coming in to cover expenses and pay people. So, unlike most of the othr participants my primary interest is in finding clients and partners for a new kind of open consultancy model that aims to generate revenue (there’s a post somewhere with more details about this but Im too tired to find link about this now). My reasoning behind presenting here is that people in the room have networks where some  prospective clients “live” and that this could be a way to reach them without needing to know in advance who they are. So this is what I presented today (we had 3 minutes per person):

Edgeryders Angelfair presentation

The reactions were really interesting. The feedback session turned into a one hour discussion both with judges and the joined by some of the people who were pitching their own initiatives. Basically some people were very provoked by 1) that I pointed out there are systemic crises existing processes are not addressing 2) that I was selling consultancy and not asking for investment.

Theres a bunch of people here that are “judges” and “entrepreneurship coaches” and “communication coaches”. When I talked to people on a one to one basis they totally got it and got excited about it. One guy wants to start a hackerspace in south africa. I told him about unmonastery and how projects happen in Edgeryders and he got excited about it. During the feedback session he weighed in saying he had checked out the platform and the we he understood it was like avaaz but with tools and method that gave people means to act on solving the problems collaboratively.

Another guy was very critical about the presentation, stating that it was basically telling all the investors who are not impact investors that we are not interested in them.  Later during one on one conversation I told him about the p2p support and knoweldge exchange and he went “Hey I could use that”. Turns out he works with what he calls microenterprises, people trying to just generate revenue to support themselves and their families (and be able to afford things like schooling for their kids). He could see the value of being able to plug into a global community of people, ideas and experiences from other parts of the world.

A third person works with investor relations at Ghana Angel Investors Network and mentioned they work with Acumen fund and that she thought they should hear about what we are doing. Again the unMonastery and setting up something like it in Ghana was the main point of interest.

The general impression was that on an individual level, people could understand the underling argument. About things not working and the need for change. But as part of a group, representatives of something other than themselves they were saying “we don’t care about this stuff, we just want to make money”. It is this gap in perspective and value systems which I find very interesting and considering the scale of challenges we are facing, scary. Maybe it was just my failure to communicate well enough, or present a compelling enough case but the total disinterest amongst the business community to even look in the directions of big threats is worrying. The question is how to bridge that in 3 minutes, or maybe not :slight_smile: More tomorrow!

xxxm, Nadia

Pitching “new” things is always very hard… But the level of engagement ( and I’m counting even the negative stuff) should be very encouraging to you!

What happened on day 2 of Angelfair, and my overall impressions

So the final version of the presentation I did is this one:

This version got a much better overall reception, one person said “I totally got this, it was very clear and interesting what you are doing”. The peers on the same side of the pitch with whom I spoke said they thought it was a much stronger presentation. I was approached by a Lisa Kroppman from the Bertha Foundation and have sent her a follow up email with an invitation to the Jozi workshop taking place tomorrow. I think it was Ismail Dorat who mentioned we ought to get in touch with the Omidyar Foundation so I will be following up on that as well.

Overall the experience was very useful on several levels:

  • new ideas, approaches and possible collaboration partners. For example running unMonasteries as small scale agribusinesses may be one model to achieve economic sustainability. So investing into doing a feasibility study on Agrizones with Global Green might be worthwhile for us. Wolfgang Von Loeper who is behind the initiaive and pitched at Angelfair is very knowledgable about hands on farming too. Also, I thought OTG playa's solution for making digital content available through mobile phones without internet access was very interesting.
  • deep dive into the conditions of doing business as percieved by people who do the work, as opposed to "innovation experts", from around the continent
  • Forcing me/ us to really get to the basics of what we are offering and how to communicate this effectively. In an honest no-bs environment with lots of people helping you along.

Things I would like to see in future editions or similar events:

  • Online collaboration between the participants and ability to present and critique one another's presentations ahead of the event, p2p.
  • More focus on p2p skillsharing: it was clear that the different participants have different strengths and areas where we shine. Would have been great to have master classes/ troubleshooting for one another.
  • Some kind of way of incentivising non-financial investment into initiatives- some people were looking for other forms of support and were pushed towards asking for money because there is no clear way for investors to get involved other than by putting in money investments. 

So how does it end?

So what happened later? I am really curious!

just posted on the blog!

See comment above!

Also just penned a post with what has happened since, Here you go: