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Waxing Poetic About "Demo Days"

If I were an investor, I would only want to go to Demo Days at various incubators or accelerators to run into other people. I wouldn't be interested in the startups presenting, even if they were great -- and most of them are. To me, Demo Days are efficient -- founders need a goal to work towards, and investors want to see things that are somewhat baked. On the surface, it makes sense, but I am personally more interested to learn about founders who aren't part of these programs, who are doing their own thing, or if they're in the programs, to meet them or, better yet, try their product well in advance or without the pressure of time. Making Demo Days about funding vs making them about product would probably interest me more. What do you all think? I haven't fully made up my mind here, but this is where my head has been of late.

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One key challenge of demo days is that startups inevitably compete with their peers for the attention and funding of the investors who participate.

Very efficient for the investors, but easy for startups to be overlooked or underlooked.

The few Demo Days I've been to have been very formulaic. The pitches sound the same. They mention how much money they have and need. Folks aren't able to try the product. Maybe it's just me, but it all just sounds noisy.

The pitches are formulaic because everyone gets advice on how to pitch from the same people.

Who give them all the same instructions.

Which means the pitches are all very similar, modulo the market and the charisma of the pitcher.

Well, which I guess is exactly why I don't like them.

You do seem to prefer when companies uniquely express themselves.

Differentiation is important, especially for startups.

I wonder why the accelerators would take away replace their individuality with pageantry.

The Demo Days are a good forcing function to get teams to ship their demos by a certain date.

But in 2013, it is rare that a startup gets funded with just a demo.

Investors expect traction, and not just a little. They want millions of users or lots of customers.