April 20, 2015
Building a business is tough. Many entrepreneurs struggle with making important decisions, while many more have trouble just getting started. In major markets, accelerators and other mentor networks are beginning to help provide guidance to thousands of entrepreneurs, but that’s only a small fraction of the entrepreneurs who could benefit from mentorship and advice.
Enter D.C. based startup, pitchLove. PitchLove has created a platform for current and aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their product or business idea to experts. These include successful entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors, and more – all of which help validate entrepreneurs’ ideas and help them make more intelligent, key business decisions.
The benefit is clear: entrepreneurs are able to avoid major pitfalls and roadblocks while gaining invaluable advice that betters critical decision-making from inception through growth. Mentors, on the other hand, are able to help foster the next generation of innovation and potentially even find new investment opportunities.
PitchLove also adds a gaming element, leveraging data-driven processes to validate key elements of your startup based on feedback. The feedback collected by both founders and mentors culminates in a validation scorecard that others can view.
I recently sat down with the founder of pitchLove Maxime Paul to learn more about his own startup journey and encouraging signs he has seen while growing pitchLove.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned while building your startup?
“Finding the right team members who fit your team’s culture is extremely difficult. There are many people out there, many people with great skills, even many people who are passionate about your mission, but finding people ready to work on it at an early stage without large amounts of immediate pay is tough. But it’s a great lesson to now quickly understand who might be ready for my startup and who definitely isn’t ready.”
What do you wish you had when you started?
“I wish I had more people around to talk to. You need other people to help you and talk to you on the hard days. They also will make the days when you actually take breaks beneficial learning days. Having a community is extremely helpful while learning, collaborating, and staying balanced when starting a startup.”
What keeps you motivated?
“I remember who I’m working for and what a big problem I’m solving on the hard days. I remember that I’m working for underserved communities that do not have the social capital to achieve to their highest potential or the funds to survive everyday life. I know from my own upbringing how debilitating it is to be without the means to succeed and to struggle everyday. I think that no one should have to worry about how they will eat, if they will be safe when they sleep, and being self-sufficient. That’s one of the main reasons I created pitchLove, to teach core self-sufficiency skills no matter the situation or background.”
What’s been an encouraging sign of success?
“More and more potential customers wanting to become entrepreneurs and admitting they don’t know the first step to get started. I’ve had a lot of meetings with people that try my product, or a simulation of the product, and see tremendous value in what we’re doing. In addition, universities are looking at us to provide entrepreneurship/innovation education programs out of the box for their students.”
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