The final pitch round in Tuesday night’s episode of RiverPitch delivered such a surprise turnaround it left our newest mentor literally speechless.
This week we visited Melbourne, where another eight hopefuls were put through the paces in the pursuit of a perfect pitch.
And if our first two episodes of RiverPitch taught us you’ve got to work out ‘why’ your business matters, Melbourne mentor Sheona Devin, and experienced angel investor and director of Viant Group, reminded everyone to keep it real.
“I look at hundreds of businesses a year and invest in very few,” Sheona started things off on a positive note.
“It takes more than a great idea to run a great business. It takes more than passion to pay your suppliers and your staff. And it takes more than technology to have your customers come back again and again.”
“Do they have the capacity to build something great?”
Of course, when it comes to invoice delivery, the ability to wow a room with greatness is obviously just that little bit harder.
Robin Sands of Link4 specialises in faster and more efficient invoicing. He says he can help small businesses save up to 80 per cent through his software.
Sheona started off instructions with a harsh reality. “This topic is so dull. Invoicing.”
“We need to understand why this is important. Why, why, why, why, why? If I could quote my six year old,” taking viewers back to Queensland mentor Steve Baxter’s favourite question.
Jamie Daou and Nick Wright of SITU360 target the advertising industry with “360 degree experiences,” and theirs was a pitch that left the mentor with questions.
“I still don’t understand exactly what you do… Investors don’t want to feel dumb, no audience wants to feel dumb. So, you need to make me feel smart.”
Among the more complex ideas was Jessica Christiansen-Franks’ Neighbourlytics platform, which she says can improve cities using social media analytics.
But Sheona became frustrated with the lack of clarity behind the pitch and what Jessica hopes to get out of the RiverPitch experience.
“Be upfront. I don’t understand…You’ve got to show why people should spend time with you.”
Jessica tried to appease Sheona with an attempt at humour, but the art of the pitch was no laughing matter for the mentor.
Meanwhile, it’s the first time Yifei Wang of Happy Hackers has ever pitched, and he was off to a nervous start.
His business allows people to virtually view yet-to-be-built structures and interior design ideas. But Sheona wanted to know what happens if you’re not as on point as he is.
“I’m obviously not cool, I don’t have those [virtual reality] headsets, how would I get my hands on a headset and why would I be doing that?”
John Webster of Shiftiez wants to solve complex rostering issues for shift workers but doesn’t quite manage to deliver all the info Sheona was looking for.
“I’m going to be pecking away until I’m satisfied with your answer. I’m a chook. Just pecking away,” explained Sheona.
Annie McAuley uses her mobile app Talkiplay to help kids with speech impediments. She’s delivering state of the art groundbreaking technology, but needs a bit of help expressing that.
“I’ve always been hesitant in saying we’re the first of a kind,” Annie tells Sheona hesitantly.
Sheona advises, “if you’re going to go up against the rest of the world in terms of innovative technology, they are not so bashful about coming forward.”
But it was the final session of pitches that delivered the most surprises.
While Jessica’s one-on-one earlier didn’t appear optimistic, but her final pitch was strong enough to wow Sheona.
And viewers finally got a clearer idea of how social media analytics about certain locations can help businesses and governments to enact better city planning.
🎉 [NEW ARTICLE] 🎉
What could a neighbourhood look like if it was built it solely on the premise of #inclusion? 🤔https://t.co/puE6gr25xg#internationalwomensday #womensday #balanceforbetter #neighbourlytics #smartcities #IWD
— Neighbourlytics (@neighbourlytics) March 8, 2019
“I would actually come and work for you tomorrow. So job well done,” Sheona beams.
There’s nothing better than a feel-good story of self-development and Yifiei certainly delivered just that in his final pitch.
“If you can think of it, you can build it. Visualise it, build it, engage with it,” he finished with flourish.
Sheona found his improvement so impressive, she could barely able to put words to it.
“Wow. Yi Fei, that’s like a totally different presentation. You’re like a different…changed man. I love it.”
Finally, the winners to go through to the next round were Jessica from Neighbourlytics, Tony Wu from Weploy, John Webster from Shiftiez and Annie from Talkiplay.
There were plenty of hugs to go around and in a rare feel-good moment, Yifei was awarded a ‘most improved’ award.
Warm and fuzzies abound.
Congrats to the next round of winners and stay tuned for next week!
Watch the full episode in the video above.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly described Sheona Devin as having raised “lack of transparency” as a concern with Neighbourlytics. Instead, the mentor raised concern with the clarity of the pitch, not with the business itself. It has subsequently been amended.
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