At the Startup Runway Foundation, we love getting to know all of the unique and innovative startups across the Southeast and the creative minds behind them. We’re proud to offer a wide variety of resources to empower these companies and help them reach success. The Startup Runway pitch events allow growth-stage businesses to expand their network and prepare for the next step.

One of the most popular aspects of the Startup Runway experience is the mock board meeting. Before pitching on the main stage during the Spring 2017 Showcase, all of our finalists participated in their own unique mock board meetings with hand-picked investors and advisors where they received individualized feedback and advice regarding their business plan. “The one thing about Startup Runway that was significantly different from any other pitch opportunity was the mock board meeting,” said Jeannell Darden, founder of Moisture Love, a curated hair care collection for women looking to embrace their curls and love themselves.

The mock board meetings allow each of our finalists to identify what their business is missing and develop solutions from an investor’s perspective. After choosing the biggest pain points within her business, such as differentiating her brand from competitors and consolidating revenue streams, Darden developed an agenda and sat down with her mock board members to discuss possible solutions. “It was extremely helpful to hear ‘As an investor, these are the types of things we want to see, and this is how we want it to look,’” said Darden. Her mock board was comprised of executives from some of the top investment firms in the Southeast, such as Informa, Black Tech Angel Fund, and ACE. “They suggested I build a better financial model based on historical data and experience, instead of just making guesses,” said Darden.

Mock board members come from different backgrounds and different sectors, creating a sounding board that can provide insights from several different angles. The meetings provide a formal and intimate setting for finalists to address specific problems within their business model. For Darden and Moisture Love, most of those problems lay in rising above the already saturated hair care market. “Most of our conversions happen on mobile,” said Darden, “And everyone is always on their phones anyway, so we’re trying to develop a Moisture Love app.”

Even though Moisture Love did not win the $10,000 prize, Darden believes participating in Startup Runway, and attending the mock board meeting, was an extremely beneficial experience nonetheless. “Now that I’ve had that meeting, I’ll definitely craft my pitch a little different in the future.”

The Startup Runway Foundation is proud to shed a light on diversity in all aspects of tech entrepreneurship. Applications are now open for the first Pre-Flight Pitch Round on August 23rd.

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