Bill Kenney

Other Ways to Win at Startup Events

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Bill Kenney is the founder of MEET (My Expo and Event Team), which helps B2B growth companies effectively leverage at trade shows and in-person events, thereby ramping up sales for its clients. Bill also founded Test My Pitch, which is an online platform where entrepreneurs and business professionals draft, share and receive feedback on their idea pitches and self-introductions. Bill was present at Startup Istanbul 2018, where he delivered a keynote speech to Startup 100 where he talked about startups and entrepreneurship.

According to Bill Kenney, practicing the word entrepreneurship is as hard as its spelling, but using a 5 thoughts approach, entrepreneurs can find better approaches to solving problems.

The first idea is Winning, there are two realities, out of over 90,000 applications and 100 startups present at Startup 100, only one startup will come first, the rest 99 will go home and we define that the winning startup is the one that has success, the other startups end up unhappy and that is one thing we have to change. The other reality is that globally, only 1 in 100 ventures get investment, only 1% of companies get angel investments and venture capital.

This means that if you build your business plan to get funding, you stand a chance of 1/100 of getting that funding. So, you should have a plan in case you don’t get funding, or a plan to bootstrap until you get funding. It’s important to find other outcomes apart from winning or getting funding, that will make events like Startup Istanbul a success for you. One of these outcomes is the exposure and the idea that being at Startup Istanbul will help your company get exposed to the marketplace. Another outcome for you as an entrepreneur at an event like Startup Istanbul is using the networking time to get connected to investors present at the event.

Another outcome which entrepreneurs can take advantage of is the ability to drive revenue and make sales at startup events. As a startup, you should also define your expectations from participating in events differently, if you solely define your expectations on winning, everybody apart from one person will go home unhappy. Startups can also seize the opportunity of being at an event to expand their business to new geographical locations. Also, you can get a lot of feedback from a lot of people, in a very short time frame, this feedback can be useful to your startup.

It is important to also know that making it to final 100 of events like Startup Istanbul makes a natural winner already, out of 90,000 applicants, being part of the final 70 to show up at the final is something noteworthy. In conclusion, the transfer of relevant knowledge is also of great value, the sessions, connections, and feedback are all important knowledge that can help your startup grow, making them equivalent to winning. As an entrepreneur, winning does not always have to happen during a pitch.

─ January 4, 2020