Today wasn’t just another fantastic action-packed day at Camp Inc. Today was final pitch day for our thirteen startup teams here in the beautiful mountains of Boulder, Colorado. After an extremely hard working three weeks (two weeks for the middle school campers) developing our startup teams, today was finally the day we’ve all been waiting for. As a camper, I was extremely amazed to see how far we’ve come as a group as well as individually and in our startup teams today. One at a time, each of our teams was able to present all of our hard work in front of an experienced panel of entrepreneurs, businessmen, and venture capitalists. Being given the chance to present our ideas in front of Nancy Pierce, Paul Berliner, Ricki Mor, and Frank Mendicino was truly the experience of a lifetime.
I guess I expected the nerves to be higher, but in the past three weeks, we’ve become more than just a community of friends; I feel like each and every other camper is my brother and sister. Everyone’s genuinely divine love and care for each and every other camper is warming and calming to my heart and gave me the strength to get up there in front of everybody and pitch my company, TapTask, along with my co-founders: Sam Plotnick, Brandon Weissman, and Eric Factor. As I was walking up to the stage, something hit me. “Think about where you are. You’re standing in America, the land of opportunity – Starting a business in one of the most active startup scenes in the world, Boulder, Colorado – Pitching to actual investors and experienced businessmen on the Colorado University campus – inside one of the most famous business/law buildings in the state, The Wolf Law Building.” Wow. Now that’s a once in a lifetime chance.
After watching several of the groups pitch their amazing ideas, it was time for TapTask to step up into the hot seat. As my team and I place our wireless microphones in our pockets and clip them to our shirts, my breathing rate begins to elevate as well as my heartbeat. As soon as I click the play button on our Pitch Deck, the four minute timer starts to count down. After not being able to completely finish our presentation in four minutes during the last couple of pitch days, I began to worry as the timer switches to “3:59.” “Hi! My name Is Brennen Bliss” I soon spoke. “And we are TapTask.” Immediately, after saying that line, my confidence rushed up higher than I can ever remember. Throughout the duration of our pitch, I looked at the audience constantly and saw the interest peak out of their smiling eyes. We were able to finish our pitch within the time limit (barely) for the first time and a breath of relief was finally due. The four minutes of Q&A with the panel of VCs and Business people went by like a breeze of fresh Colorado mountain air. That was a performance to be proud of and remember as a team.
After all 13 groups performed and SafeZip as well as SunDefence won the “Best Pitch” award deservingly, we hopped back on the bus and headed to eat a gourmet lunch in the restaurant at one of the CU dorm buildings. Did I mention there were sugar cookies? Mmmmmmmm!
From overcoming our biggest fears, to creating valuable connections with business people, today was a day for each and every one of us to remember. And the best part is, it’s only the start. Until next time, have a fantastic weekend and Shabbat Shalom!
– Brennen Bliss, Session 1 Camper, 2014