River City Labs Startup Accelerator – Day 1 of 70

River City Labs Startup Accelerator – Day 1 of 70

Six weeks ago, we saw a promo for the River City Labs startup accelerator in Brisbane. It sounded pretty sweet – muru-D (the startup accelerator backed by Telstra) and River City Labs were offering to each invest $10k in exchange for a 1.5% equity stake in five lucky startups. So we went along to one of their pitch nights and much to our surprise, won our way onto the pre-program bootcamp.

Long story short, GreenSocks survived bootcamp (despite mentor advice overwhelm, the threat of a mentor veto vote, the process of merciless pitch critiquing and the final pitch in front of VIP judges such as Shark Tank Australia’s Steve Baxter). Woohoo! Thanks River City Labs and muru-D.

Fellow Boot Camp Survivors

Outbound – a social network for travellers to connect and share experiences

ParkFit – a mobile app that helps you discover crowdsourced outdoor workout structures

Puntaa – a social betting app for you and your mates to be on anything via mobile app

Process PA – (formerly Otheyos) – a SaaS company looking to simplify P&C/P&F/Parent Council meetings and legal accountability

The Accelerator Has Started

Fast forward two weeks and today was day 1 of 70 in the River City Labs startup accelerator program – for GreenSocks and our fellow bootcamp survivors.

Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

 

It was an exciting day – full of possibility about what was to come.

Here are some of today’s personalities and insights:

Chris Hood – Y Combinator alumni

Fresh off the plane (almost) from Silicon Valley, Chris Hood (Go1) joined us to share some insights from his experience on the prestigious Y Combinator program:

  • Focus on the product – make something people love
  • Make quick decisions
  • As soon as possible, get your own premises so you can build your own company culture
  • Don’t get distracted with fundraising during the program
Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

Chris Hood on day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

 

Aaron Birkby – River City Labs

Aaron Birkby – the main facilitator of the River City Labs accelerator – talked about protocol and respect when you reach out to some of the accelerator’s long list of amazing mentors. He emphasised the importance of “warm introductions” and encouraged us to try to be referred wherever possible. Aaron also claimed that “your business model is your product, your [physical] product is not your product”. Food for thought.

Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

Aaron Birkby on day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

In terms of managing your time, Aaron shared a question used at Startmate: “If you valued your time at $500 per hour, how would you manage your day (in terms of work versus socialising)?”

Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

Aaron Birkby again on day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

 

Caitlin Fitzsimmons – BRW

Somehow we scored an impromptu visit from BRW’s online editor Caitlin Fitzsimmons (aka one of those high-profile business journalists in Australia that every innovative entrepreneur would love on their speed dial). Each team got sixty seconds to pitch themselves onto Caitlin’s radar. Here’s our very own Richard Eastes, giving it his best shot. Go Richard!

Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

Richard Eastes pitching to Caitlin Fitzsimmons at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

 

Caitlin gave us a reality check about reaching out to journalists who receive hundreds of email pitches a day from startups who all claim to have the ‘next best idea’.

Her top three tips?

  • Quickly articulate how you stand out from the big blue sea of good ideas out there.
  • Don’t send generic press releases. If the email isn’t specific for the journalist, don’t bother.
  • Social media outreach is fine. But if you nail it, you’ll be invited to email, so get the email right.

Specifically, what grabs Caitlin’s attention in a press pitch?

  • Impressive traction and/or revenue
  • Successful investment rounds
  • Interesting back stories
  • ‘Bounce-back from disaster’ stories – that teach and inspire

 

Jason Roulston – Just Digital People

Our final guest speaker for the day was Jason Roulston aka “Chief Trouble Maker” at Just Digital People (which by the way, is just one of Jason’s million-dollar-plus businesses – kudos to Jason!)

Jason came to give some tips on networking:

  • Be super-interested in everyone else before expecting anyone to take an interest in you
  • Be creative, be real and be consistent (C.R.C.)
  • Follow up. And then follow up again. And again. (Most people are too lazy to.)
  • His 20/20 hindsight? Earlier in your journey, keep notes on everyone you speak to
  • Learn from the best: Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Never Eat Alone‘s Keith Ferrazzi

 

Day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

Jason Roulston at day 1 at River City Labs accelerator © GreenSocks

 

Wrap-up

Judging by day one, together with the pre-accelerator bootcamp (which was jammed full of a long list of awesome mentors), the next 69 days promise to be an incredible ride. Stay tuned and we’ll share as much as we can…

2 Comments

  1. Richard Eastes

    RiverCityLabs accelerator program is already the most desirable in Brisbane. Congrats to the 5 teams on being one of the first!

    Reply

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