I need a better phone camera.
Tuesday and Wednesday nights were spent with MIT $100K Elevator Pitch Contest events. As I have written, I’m working with a team of awesome MIT, Harvard, and University of Cambridge students and alumni on a new social venture, Essmart. In short, Essmart is a rural retail that connects social impact products (e.g. cookstoves, water filters, solar lanterns) with their intended customers using branded sections of local stores as its distribution network. Too many companies focus on design and manufacturing without focusing on dissemination. Essmart fills in that gap.
On Tuesday night, my teammate Jackie Stenson did an amazing job nailing Essmart’s pitch in the Emerging Markets track. It was perfect pitch, timing, cadence – everything. That evening, we found out that we were semifinalists, so we prepared to be present at Wednesday’s EPC Finale. Only the top 2 of each track would pitch that evening. Given that one of our reviewers had written “Best pitch so far” on our feedback forms, we thought we had a pretty good chance of getting in. However, we weren’t selected – probably for a number of reasons: we don’t have a product (like many other teams do – it’s MIT, after all, and engineers make things), the intro to our pitch could have been improved, and the framing of the problem was wrong for the judges, who probably didn’t have much exposure to emerging markets. Well, more to learn from, right?
The Finale itself was quite exciting. I brought home two red thunder sticks that require iron lungs to blow up. I got my fill of MIT mentions in Hollywood movies. Hey, I went to my first $100K anything, and I still feel amazed that I’m actually participating in it this year. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s on the horizon!