We are thrilled with the fantastic applications that we’ve received for HATCH 2013 and we are just days away from announcing our finalists. In the meantime, we’re starting a series of posts with tips and advice from past HATCH competitors. We’ll also share comments from the coaches and judges who will let us know what they are looking for on March 10th. HATCH alum Mike Fisher from Storymix Media said his favorite part of HATCH was the opportunity to present to a lot of very smart people. In his opinion, the judges are looking for a simple to understand idea and value proposition – something that is scalable and can be automated. For this year’s finalists, he suggested practicing the pitch so everything goes according to plan and their timing is spot on. He also thought doing or showing something unique could be a helpful way to stand out.

Rami Essad of distil.it said “My favorite part of participating in HATCH was the exposure. Being in front of such a high caliber of not only judges but audience members gave us awesome exposure that led to customers and our next round of financing.” He said he thinks that the judges are looking for presentations that are well polished and clearly define a company with potential. Some of them will be trying to find companies to invest in – so beyond having a great presentation, they want to see that your company will likely provide a great return. As far as tips for this year’s finalists, he said, “Be prepared! Technology breaks, things happen, and the only thing that will get you through it on stage is having your pitch perfected in memory. Don't rely on the slides to queue, instead establish your own flow and just use the slides as a visual supplement to the story you are telling. It is helpful if you can have a team member drive the slides while you are on stage telling your story. Also, NEVER do live demos. Pre-record everything!!!”

If Rami’s name sounds familiar, it’s because distil.it has recently been in the news after announcing $1.8m in seed financing and Rami will be a judge at this year’s competition! Thanks to Mike and Rami for sharing their feedback with us and this year’s finalists. HATCH u later!