Celebrating the Week of Disruption at Hult is no ordinary thing. With panelists from Y Combinator, Zipcar, Founders Factory and many more, the Hult Founders Lab was able to join in the discussion about start-up ecosystems, everyday life at a start-up and the implications of Brexit to the bustling London scene.
The panel was packed with practical info about how to find your true calling, pitching tips and advice for keeping up with the ever-evolving world we live in, from machine learning to quantum computing to blockchain. Speaking of these new technologies, one interesting comment we heard was the idea of not fitting these evolutions inside the customer experience, but rather reverse engineering what consumers want and then trying to find a medium on how these technologies can be fitted to those necessities. Ideas can change but technology is limited, so try to focus on the experience rather than the technicalities. This is a common theme that has been spearheaded by the likes of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, and is more relevant today than ever before.
The conversation then veered towards practical recommendations in terms of what investors want from a pitch. An interesting analogy made by YC was that pitching is like “peeling an onion”, where each layer is a level of risk and ideally you want to peel off as many layers as possible to make the investors feel more comfortable with your proposal. Essentially this is showcasing your risk management and explaining it in an attractive way. This may also include Brexit risk, which is a hot topic in London right now and rightfully brought up an interesting discussion, led by Clustermarket, on trying to create the best possible product and company, in which “you are so good they can’t ignore you, Brexit or no Brexit”. Founders Factory (another incubator here in London) noted that accelerators and investors look to invest in teams of great people even if their ideas are far-fetched as most ideas tend to be in the beginning (think of Airbnb or Uber).
Needless to say, the panel was extremely insightful on what it actually means to be a founder or work for an incubator, and the panelists left us more motivated than usual, something we all desperately need in this period.