Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose

New Venture & TNW Startup Rally

Last Friday the 20 finalists of New Venture were invited to pitch their idea at AEGON HQ. 

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 6.48.12 PMZEEF is a great name but we had to wait until the very last to pitch our idea since the pitches were ranked alphabetically… After the pitches you really felt that all the teams were relieved that it was over. It was now time for drinks and to wait for the results. During the drinks all the teams started to share their experiences and making wild guesses which teams would end up in the top 10. I must say I really had no idea but we were pretty happy with our pitch and the jury gave us  good feedback on our concept.

At 4 pm we were invited to the conference hall of AEGON for the announcement of the top 10 (pitches of New Venture). Before the top 10 pitches were announced each team had the opportunity to pitch their idea in front of the audience. Below you can see a proud Klaas (our founder) presenting ZEEF to the audience.

Klaas pitch New Venture

Unfortunately ZEEF was not selected as one of the top 10 pitches. However, it was a great experience for us and we received a lot of good feedback. Also this week we received the written feedback from the jury on our feasibility study.  Below you can read the final comments of the jury.

General assessment
You are entering a market with a very dominant player. I see sufficient room in the market for your proposition. You have also
shown potential earnings sources. However, my main concern is your long term earnings capability. What are your customers
willing to pay for a product that is still acceptable for the users?

– This is a promising entry
Well-structured document. Compliments! If anything, I do not understand your choice of name. A Dutch name with a USA first
focus. Do you think any US citizen will know what a “zeef” is? Sugggest change of name before it is too late…..

While I agree with some of the points, changing our name is something we are not going to do. We are proud of being a Dutch company so we will stick to ZEEF and not change it into the English word ‘sift’ or ‘sieve’. We believe in the near future everybody will know what a ZEEF is and that they will understand that the words sift and sieve originated from the Dutch word ‘zeef’.

Remember there is an old saying

If It Ain’t Dutch, It Ain’t Much!’ ;)

The Next Web Startup Rally

Next to New Venture, ZEEF also participated in The Next Web Startup Rally. Over 4.000 startups applied to The Next Web Startup Rally, so making it to the video rounds was a pretty good step for us. Below you can view our pitch for The Next Web.

Unfortunately Klaas had a bad hair day when we were shooting our pitches so the jury did not select us for the next round. This was disappointing and also no feedback was given on our pitch, only an email was send to us (see below). I especially like the comment of Microsoft Bizspark 😉

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 6.52.16 PM

So to conclude, competitions are great for us and it really puts pressure on the team to deliver high quality work in a short amount of time. Also, by pitching your concept you must really understand “Why are you doing this”, “How are you gonna do this” and “What will your product look like”. You can find more info on how to pitch on my zeef page ‘startups‘.

I definitely recommend every startup to participate in these competitions. You fail and you learn, that’s the most important thing. Don’t worry if you do not win these competitions. Charlie Chaplin himself ended up third in “The Charlie Chaplin Look A Like Competition”… 🙂

So Fail Fast, Succeed Faster!

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