Sickweather co-founders James Sajor, Michael Belt and Graham Dodge.
Sixty seconds. That’s all the time Graham Dodge had in round one to impress a panel of judges with Sickweather, the illness-mapping startup he co-founded.
Sickweather was just one of a handful of Baltimore-based startups that competed in the Distilled Intelligence 2.0 pitch competition in Washington, D.C., last week for a chance at winning a slice of capital funding.
According to InTheCapital, Canton-based 410 Labs walked away with a fourth-place finish (and a shiny new Microsoft tablet) on day one, which was set aside for pitches from startups that have already secured at least $101,000, but no more than $1 million, in capital funding.
“Pitches that win come from the heart, address a real problem, have a clear business model behind them, and demonstrate a true passion for the problem and the solution,” said Dave Troy, co-founder of 410 Labs, in an e-mail. “The companies that seemed to do less well were ones that were unsure of themselves or were trying to memorize too much.”
Day two of Distilled Intelligence 2.0 was reserved for startups with less than $100,000 in venture funding. While Sickweather didn’t place, it was selected as one of 10 companies that moved on to an “intensive Q&A session with the panel of judges,” reports InTheCapital.
“There was obviously something that we said that didn’t appeal to the judges, or that we didn’t say that they wanted to hear, but we answered honestly and it cost us a place in the top five,” said Dodge in an e-mail. “We think it had something to do with fact that they asked if we were working on Sickweather full-time, and I said no, not thinking that they would perhaps draw the conclusion that we weren’t dedicated enough.”
Dodge was joined by Sickweather co-founders Michael Belt and James Sajor for the Q&A session with the judges, the third and final pitch round of day two at Distilled Intelligence 2.0. Although Sickweather did not place, Dodge said “we had one investor tell us that we were his ‘big find of the day,’ and we have plenty of other follow ups to make this week with other interested investors.”