Digital Media Zone Shines at the International Startup Festival’s Elevator World Tour!
The following post was original published on the website of CDMN node Ryerson DMZ and is re-posted here with permission.
January 31st, 2013 was the official kick-off of the International Startup Festival: Elevator Tour Contest. What better way to launch this tour than to start right here at Toronto’s iconic CN Tower?
The “Elevator Pitch” Experience
Rumor has it that the term “elevator pitch” comes from the method of seeking investment funding many years ago. Before we had access to the internet, and much before television shows like Dragons’ Den made it possible, aspiring entrepreneurs would squeeze into an elevator with some of the most well-known venture capitalists. The goal was to spark an interest in their business idea before the elevator got to the top floor where the private offices were. If the investors liked your idea, they’d invite you in for a meeting. If they didn’t like your idea, back downstairs you go, empty handed. As an entrepreneurship student and active member of StartMeUp Ryerson, it was really interesting to witness modern day elevator pitches, especially in one of the most well-known and largest elevator experiences in the world!
Toronto: Home of Startup Culture and DMZ Presence
Toronto is known quite well for fostering a passionate startup culture and energy. With the continuous rise of startup companies being born in Toronto, the best of the best were called forth last night. This included 9 of the Digital Media Zone’s startup companies. Kira Talent, Mejuri, Cover, Ping Pong Story, EatSleepRIDE, DanTeb, SensorSuite, FoodStory, and Thumble were all participants in the contest. Other members of the DMZ family attended as well to support and cheer on these great teams.
A Minute to Win-it! How it All Went Down… or Rather, Up!
The CN Tower was filled with excitement and anticipation. 100 startup companies, over 100 guest attendees, 12 venture capitalists and angel investors, as well as industry judges filed through the security gates. After being registered, entrepreneurs were split into groups, and awaited their turn to board the elevator. Once inside, they would have just 58 seconds to give their best elevator pitch to win the votes of the investors and judges, passing the brightly lit city and Toronto skyline along the way. Once at the top, the entrepreneurs exited the elevator and were asked to mingle in the 360 Restaurant – which was functioning as an elite cocktail party – as they waited. After three hours of pitching, the judges were ready to reveal the results. It was down to six startup finalists, who were asked to re-pitch their idea to everyone. It was then in the hands of the audience to choose the winner… literally. Everyone in the cocktail lounge was sent a message to their mobile phones, asking to vote for their favorite pitch.
And the Winner Is….
After what seemed like a lifetime of silence, but was only actually fifteen minutes, applause broke out as the Digital Media Zone team Mejuri was announced the winner and took home the crown for Best Elevator Pitch! They will be moving on to participate in the contest happening in Montreal! On behalf of StartMeUp Ryerson and the DMZ, we’d like to wish best of luck to Mejuri, and congratulations to all of the teams who participated! This event was a great success and allowed several introductions and lasting impressions to be made.
Majed Masad and Noura Sakkijha of Mejuri
A big thank you to the Canadian Digital Media Network for their support for this event.
To see Mejuri and FoodStory featured on CBC News, head to the 13-minute mark.
See photos of the event on Facebook.