If you've been living under a rock that doesn't have access to Instagram these past few weeks (or if you don't look at our FB/Insta accounts as often as we apparently do), you're probably thinking, what is REV? And why do we care? Well, maybe you don't, but for those of you that do...that is what this post is here for!
Let's start from the top, shall we? Back in August, we applied to pitch at the preliminary round for an event through TS Bank out of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The event, REV, supports small businesses in the Omaha / Des Moines area and awards finalists up to $27k to help grow/fund their new endeavors. Learn more about the gist of it here!
So, after applying electronically, we were selected to pitch in the prelims in early October. We had 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes of questions with 4 judges. Each pitch was judged on the pitch itself, the company's focus on marketing, the business overall, and our investment/exit strategy.
After refining our pitch and presentation (as you could guess, Briana designed it and Natalie wrote it), it was finally time to make the trek to Council Bluffs. We loaded up, drove the two hours to Council Bluffs, and pitched at the bank headquarters. (And lest we forget, got ready in a Walgreens bathroom across the street...) Going in, we were pretty nervous...not because we didn't believe in our company, but because our business isn't anything revolutionary. Here we are, yet ANOTHER stationery company, going up against start-ups that have revolutionary, never-been-done-before ideas. Sure, our look is different but our idea isn't. So we weren't sure how it would be received, especially with a panel of four judges who aren't our target market.
But hey, it never hurts to try, right? And try we did...the pitch went great, we received awesome feedback from all of the judges, and within a day, we were notified that we were one of five applicants who would move on to compete in the finale—pitching to win up to $27k! But this time, the pitch was only 5 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions. So, we spent the next two months trying to condense a 10-minute presentation into 5 minutes, focusing on the most important aspects of the initial pitch and adding what we hoped would show the judges that we were deserving of ALL THE CASH. Kidding...but only a little...
Our primary pitch for what we would do with the winnings was to buy a printer + cutter, so we could perform these services in-house and cut out the middle man (and all of the struggles that come with it - see previous post if you want to see our most recent rant).
Once again, pitch day was here. Cue Friday. December 1st. Back in the car, nerves at an all-time high, we made our way to Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs. The event started at 5pm with networking and apps, then the pitches began at 6pm. The lineup was: Appsky Labs, FLYOVER - WOOP!, Found Vintage Market, Fyiio, and HomeDitty. We were one of two Des Moines' companies presenting in the finals (along with HomeDitty!). The pitch came and went, and we didn't pass out / throw up / stare at the judges blankly for any of the questions. The hard part was over and now, all we could do was wait - and drink wine - as the rest of the companies pitched.
Anddddd fast-forward to the results! As many of you know, we ended up coming in in second place, winning a total of $7,000! We were beyond thrilled to have not only participated in the event but to have had such a great outcome. They ended up awarding each company with a chunk of change, so everyone went home a winner - score! And thank tha lawd, with our winnings we can now buy ourselves our very own, brand-spankin'-new printer!
So, in closing...for any of you with small businesses in the area (or with plans to launch one in the next 6 months), apply to REV in 2018! This is such a great event to participate in! Not only do you have the chance to win money to help your business, but you also learn a ton about your company in the process. It really helped the two of us hone in on where we wanted to take Flyover in the next few years and what our end goal was, and it only helped get us even more motivated and driven to meet our goals.
Hip Hip! Cheers to winning money and to REV and to all the wine and to the holidays! We can finally breathe again :D
OH, and check out a little recap video of the event below ;)