Kiuas killed the Demo Day to create something even better: Investor Pitching Clinics

November 24, 2023
Written by 
Mari Lahti
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Very often we get asked: “When is your Demo Day?”. Short answer, we haven’t had one since 2021.

Instead of inviting friends and family, with some investors to watch 20 teams do their 3-minute pitch with questions, we have put all our effort into scheduling 1-on-1 meetings with relevant investors during the 2 last weeks of our accelerator program.

As you might be aware, typically the route to get some 1-on-1 time with an investor goes through cold messaging, sharing your deck, and then maybe scheduling a meeting. At Kiuas Accelerator we provide all the teams a fast track directly to those 1-on-1 meetings.

In most cases these meetings are not with the VC analysts, but directly with partners, who are in charge of the final investments made. Also as a fun fact, 30% of the investors participating in our program this fall were female.

We have concluded that this format is a win-win situation for everyone. Teams get to have a whopping 40 minutes of 1-on-1 time with an investor who is relevant to them. They have the ability to not only present their case but also to get valuable and honest feedback from our trusted network of investors.

Awesome stuff, sometimes it was difficult to see why we were matched with an investor before we had the actual meeting, turns out 3/4 of interested investors were ones that we didn't know why we were matched! In hindsight, these 3  had very similar values to us and I believe that played a big role in being able to connect.” -Fall 23 Startup participant

Demo Days are nice, but due to our industry-agnostic approach, one batch can cover anything from B2B SaaS to B2C hardware. We don’t want to take hours of our investor’s time, when only a fraction of the cases match their investment focus. Instead, we ask them to spend that same time 1-on-1 with only the relevant teams.

The teams were great and well prepared. Decks were concise and answered most questions I would have.” -Fall 23 Investor participant

During the program, we help the earlier-stage teams to understand, that they are not there just yet. For these teams, instead of finding investors to join their round right now, the sessions are a perfect opportunity to get feedback on their business model, go-to-market, and roadmap to understand what the progress needs to be in order to be fundable.

It was firstly a little bit scary to present Your startup idea to this specific group of very important and smart people. But actually, we see now that this prepares us for future investor meetings. Now we see what is important, what they value, and how to communicate with them! We really appreciate the feedback and time they were able to share with us! -Fall 23 Startup Participant”

The meetings can also serve as valuable first introductions, putting the startup on the radar of some of the best funds in the region. True story! You can read more about our 2022 Kiuas Alumni Wudpecker and their very recent funding round with our network investors Trind VC & Sofokus Ventures here.

Some of our teams have made a thoughtful decision to bootstrap, for now. For them, we offer maybe just a couple of meetings with funds that have invested in something similar, so they can learn about these companies and their journey, instead of pitching for funding.

During the fall 2023 program, we definitely broke some records with our Investor Pitching Clinics. We had a total of 40 investors, including angels, family offices, and VCs, from 12 different countries, committed to having 1-on-1 meetings with our program teams.

During the last 2 weeks of the program, we facilitated over 160 meetings. On average there were 9 investor meetings per team. For some of our teams, who gained the most interest from our investor network, we were able to match and facilitate over 15 meetings in just 8 days.

”Probably one of the things that make Kiuas stand out. Super valuable for us to know what investors want and how they think. I at least see getting funding as more realistic now because I start to know how it actually works.” -Fall 23 Startup Participant

If you are a startup interested in joining our spring 2024 Accelerator Program, the best way to secure your spot is through Kiuas Labs.

If you are an investor interested in joining our network, please contact me directly at mari.lahti@kiuas.com. I’d be happy to tell you more about our approach and investor matchmaking.

Mari Lahti,
Head of Community & Operations

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