“Susan, you seem comfortable up there.
You’re authentic. I can tell you’ve spoken to
audiences before.” A judge comments after
“Well yeah”, I think. Like 25 years of presenting, selling, training and enticing. It is a skill I take for
“Thank you.” I respond, grateful for the compliment.
Care Better is now built, still a MVP (minimal viable product), but testing has begun in the real, online world. It’s time to get out there.
Pitch competitions have different types of audiences, investors and reputations. The Bay Area is
exploding with hundreds of organizations hosting events, attracting founders like me and giving
Care Better the opportunity for exposure. Some you pay to play, some are easier to get into, some
are invitation only and with different levels of credibility, designed for different stages of asking for
investment. Founders come from around the world to pitch in this mecca of innovation and money.
There are coaches and businesses whose sole job is to help us nail THE PITCH. I could see why.
Some Founders are so young, so technical and brilliant yet need help looking someone in the eye and
speaking. Pitch design matters as does content. Everything matters.
Each chance to pitch gives me practice and incredible feedback from real investors. We pitch from 3
to 5 minutes, sometimes just verbally and sometimes with our deck of slides.
“And what is your revenue model?” a kind, female investor asks at my first pitch when I totally whiff
on the most important detail in my 3 minute pitch. Thank god I started with this group. I know I could be eaten alive at others. No matter how I do, each night there are folks lined up to talk with me about
their loved one with Dementia. I find new users everywhere.
A week later, I am chosen to speak to a group of young, female founders about Care Better and being fearless. Fearless? Am I? Or do I just know myself at this age? The audience is so smart and wide
eyed and I realize I have just as much to learn from them as they do me. The wine is flowing and we
have a ball.
I get better at a number of other events and am pushed along to more follow up meetings and
prestigious, invitation only events where I’m back with mostly men and very cool, male founders with
amazing startups. I stand out as the only woman and the oldest, whitest, first time founder in this
universe but it’s working for me. Whatever gets me in the door.
This invitation only event has 100 people packed into the Google Launchpad office. It’s so beautifully
designed with kitchens, lounges, the fastest freakin’ wifi I’ve ever had in my life with spectacular
views of the SF skyline at sunset. It feels like a movie.
“Can everyone put your phones away, introduce yourself to the person next to you and ask a
question? Don’t talk about yourself.” The organizer begins. I watch so many young people struggle
with this simple task.
Tonight, I nail it. The feedback from the investor judges is excellent, constructive and I get critical
advice. At the end of the 7 pitches, for the first time that I’ve seen, the audience is asked to vote on
their favorite pitch through a show of hands for prizes of free coworking space and a weekend in
Yosemite. When Care Better is called I shoot up two hands and ask the organizer if I can vote for
myself twice. We all yuk it up in my corner of the room and I end up winning by a landslide! Again,
folks line up to tell me their stories as Care Better gets new users and I get more meetings. Authentic.
Inch by inch, Care Better is happening.