It's All Share founders Benita Matofska and Nick Tong are on their way back from Silicon Valley now that BlackBox Connect is over, so let’s hear from Benita how the final week went, shall we?
“If week one was a deep dive into Silicon Valley, week two took us even deeper - much deeper! - away from the safety of the surface and right into where the sharks circle!
Our week began on Sunday when Nick and I went to the Mill Valley film festival with Jasmine Shih, a VC from Wingspan Ventures that we met at Thursday’s pitch at Astia (for women-led businesses). It proved to be quite an adventure meeting both Francis Ford Coppola’s cousin who is making a movie about a talking Mazoh Ball and Nicolas Cage’s nephew – random!
Weekday sessions ranged from Silicon Valley legend, Bill Joos - our coach for the big ‘Demo Day’ on Friday when we presented our companies to an audience of 250 investors and fellow entrepreneurs - to Marcin Treder from Poland, designer and user experience whizz, founder of UXPin.
Wednesday saw us all doing speed mentoring sessions with a whole array of entrepreneurs and investors giving us important feedback on our business.
Then it was off to the Computer History Museum (van sharing of course!) to check out the geekiest museum in the world, and o hear Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google give the lowdown on ’How Google Works’. It all comes down to hiring Divas and the idea that if people leave your office smiling you will get more out of them. Probably sounds easier than it really is. In the evening we all shared some campfire fun with the Blackbox crew before everyone got into very serious pitch mode in preparation for Friday’s big Demo Day.
On Thursday, after yet more delicious Mexican food for lunch, we heard everyone’s favourite speaker – the indomitable Mike Maples. His advice? Do something spectacular or don’t bother. The spectacular ones are the ‘Thunder Lizards’. To Mike – it’s ‘us against the world together, so let’s go…! It's All Share likes the sound of that. That night, Ben from Carpool Arabia (carpoolarabia.com) – the latest addition to our Global Sharing Economy Directory! - led a rehearsal and feedback session so everyone could practice their pitch for the big day…
Friday was the big day, and it saw the outside area turn into a stage and pitching arena with garages for our demo stalls – well, Steve Jobs started from a garage so why can’t It's All Share?! We decided to set up a Who Shares Wins quiz wall with lots of chocolatey prizes.
Before we all had our last pitch polish, our final speaker and by far the most entertaining lawyer I’ve ever heard – Jacob Sapochnick gave us the inside story for entrepreneurs on getting a US visa.
At 4.30pm, Nick and I took to the stage and I presented Compare ad Share to the 250+ Blackbox audience. I managed to stick within the 3 minutes, get a good audience howl for my two jokes and even let Nick get a word in edgeways during the Q&A!
The rest of the night saw an array of entrepreneurs and investors try their hand at Who Shares Wins, with our stall (or garage) attracting a lot of attention.
Carpool Arabia won the prize for the most unusual Sharing Economy business they’d heard about: Frances’s machineduvoisin – in English – share my washing machine! Yes – it does exist!
After that, it was time for the party, we even had a visit from the Mayor of Palo Alto.
2 packed weeks, 20 fascinating speakers, 16 extraordinary companies and of course, buckets full of sharing. Thanks to Google for sponsoring and to Fadi Bishara and the Blackbox team for making it all happen.
I loved every minute of it."
Cheers Benita, you deserve a bit of time off now, but just a tad!
Were you at the BlackBox connect programme? Yes? Share some pictures with us on twitter for our BlackBox Connect moments collection!
Until next time Sharers!