A startup pitch is usually your five minutes of glory that can help you attract the investors. Pitching your startup to them is often the only time you get when you are a first time founder and the investors don’t know you. They, on the other hand, hear a lot of pitches and you are “only” one of the many founders they have seen. It’s not a good starting position. But if you avoid making the mistakes that most less experienced entrepreneurs make, you increase your chances with the investors significantly.

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I should probably say “7 tips to help you maximize your chance to win Startup Weekend”, because if more teams follow my advice, there will only be a one winner anyway. And quite frankly, it still doesn’t guarantee anything because there are judges that decide and pick the winners. I’ve mentored a lot of teams on Startup Weekends over the past few years and I noticed that the top 3 teams have always had something in common. They succeeded in validation, business and product – what are the categories for judging criteria.  Here are my 7 steps that help you succeed and maximize your chance to win Startup Weekend .

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No problem – no startup. Every successful startup solves a problem. Without a problem, there is no solution and therefore no business. If you want to succeed on Startup Weekend, you’ll have to quickly validate that your idea solves a real problem in order to have enough time to build the right prototype and prepare the business case. 95% of teams that I mentored during four or five Startup Weekends used the wrong approach to validating the problem and their ideas. Therefore, they had to double (or even triple) their effort if they wanted to fix it and still get a chance to succeed. I am going to quickly explain you what is the mistake and how to avoid it to validate whether your idea solves a real problem.

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Let’s admit it. When you tell someone about your idea, you want them to like it. You are wired to crave for being liked all the time, whatever you do. And I’ve been the same, for now. I decided to change it, because I realized how toxic those words – “I LIKE IT!” – are. It happened quite recently.

Igor and I have been working on Mentegram for two years. It’s been an amazing journey with an amazing team and people we met. I’m still very passionate about it, because I see how we are going to help many people improve their mental health conditions and therefore their lives. I really like this mission that Mentegram has. Being able to improve health of millions is very inspiring and motivating. And that leads to a problem that we haven’t expected.

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Business Model by Alex OsterwalderAre you searching for the Business Model Canvas that you want to share with your remote team, or just take with you whenever you want? I was searching as well and couldn’t really find one. Of course, there are some apps or templates, but neither of them were really simple to use. So I logged on to my Google Docs account and created a template in Spreadsheets that you all can use.

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