In August 2021, Kyiv greeted Hey, Pitches!, an extraordinary project intended for helping promising startups to present their brainchild to investors. The experts give their recommendations on how to develop a business competently, and they do it in an informal setting. Together with the fund Flyer One Ventures, Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev), the founder of Adventures Lab, and Andrew Kryvorchuk, the Managing Partner of the fund, became the project’s initiators. The businessmen share the details of their meetings with startups.
What is anti-pitching
From the name of the unusual social project— Hey, Pitches!—one can assume that it is based on pitching. However, according to Andrew Kryvorchuk, the project’s idea is completely different.
The founders of Adventures Lab constantly hold meetings with portfolio companies and devote almost half of their time to solving arising challenges and crash-testing hypotheses. And according to the fund leadership, excellent ideas, and non-standard ways of solving problems pop up during such discussions.
According to Andrew Kryvorchuk, at a certain point, the heads of the fund realized that they wanted to help not only the portfolio companies the fund invested in but the startup ecosystem as a whole. This is how the idea popped up to select a certain number of startups monthly, organize meetings with their founders, and consider difficulties in an informal setting.
Hey, Pitches! became contrary to the concept of pitching and turned into “anti-pitching.” During a month, founders send their applications to the fund, and after that, Adventures Lab representatives select up to ten of the most interesting ones and arrange a meeting with the aspiring entrepreneurs. During the meetings with Hey, Pitches!, startuppers can ask business angels any questions.
According to Kryvorchuk, the fund’s team is the first on the market who meet startup founders without getting pitched. On the contrary, the project organizers talk to startups as partners who need advice.
For the first session of Hey, Pitches! held this summer, initiators selected five of the 60 applications received. The organizers devoted an hour to each of the five projects.
Looking from a different perspective
According to Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev), the founder of Adventures Lab, the social initiative Hey, Pitches! helps founders look at their brainchild through the eyes of the leading experts—to spot the main flaws in their work and find options for eliminating them.
The businessman believes that sometimes startup founders are so in love with their project, so obsessed with it that they take significant actions according to their vision but forget to think over possible mistakes, different scenarios, weaknesses, and opponents in the market. The challenge for Hey, Pitches! is to expand the horizon and help founders look at their startups from a different perspective. At the same time, the fund’s team does not provide ready-made solutions but in the format of partner discussions of existing problems they ask leading questions that help novice businessmen draw the necessary conclusions.
The project sessions are held in Kyiv once a month. The leading businessmen and investors devote the whole day to meetings with aspiring entrepreneurs. Ruslan Tymofieiev specifies that the project receives applications from all over Ukraine. Most often, participants work on software or mobile applications. But there are also requests from hardware development teams. About 70% of the projects participating in Hey, Pitches! are at the MVP stage. And the remaining projects have already entered the market and are earning profit. It is their founders who are most interested in properly testing their product, studying the audience, obtaining investments, and competently monetizing and scaling up their business.