A chance promo e-mail got me applying for the First Look Forum (FLF) back in April. I did not know much about it then, and I applied for it just in case. We’ve come far in a few short weeks, and today, I am preparing for the final presentation.
I know a bit more about FLF, and I am very happy I applied. It is a unique forum in Seattle that picks 12 startup companies, and helps them build a complete pitch for investors. The finalists then pitch to an audience of ~100 VCs and Angel Investors. During the process, the teams get coaching on presentation and business plan. Even getting into the semi-finals, it was immediately useful in helping me organize my thoughts and information for potential investors. Whether or not the company makes it to the finals, the coaches explain how angel funding works, who to approach, and how to approach potential investors. They helped tremendously with presentation skills. They patiently answered questions about business, pitching and fund raising. They seemed genuinely happy to help.
I was under the mistaken impression that FLF was another accelerator. But, FLF does not charge companies, nor does it take equity. In fact, the winner gets a 10,000 dollar award. WTIA does the forum to help and promote startups in the area. The only reason to not apply would be if you are not yet ready to pitch to investors. Companies cannot have pitched to a public angel investment forum previously. WTIA wants to preserve the First Look aspect of the First Look Forum.
I will write more about the experience and what I am learning… but, now, its time for me to work on my presentation.