The startup community loves war stories of successful ventures. We love to hear about them, learn from them, and replicate what they’ve done. Sameer Soleja, one of the founders of Molecule Software and a 2013 HATCH winner, offers his take on why start-ups succeed or fail:

Everyone loves a success story - how the startup team bonds together over an idea, works really hard to get legs under their idea, and finally makes it big via the lucrative exit.  Successful founders seem to have it easy right from the start, but it takes more than just being exceptionally smart and passionate. As an entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid. You have to be open to all opportunities that are presented to you.

In other words, having a tireless belief in your idea and an incessant passion are just a part of the equation. You have to couple that with getting out there and sharing your story every chance you get. If you don’t know what’s out there, then how are you going to find the support that you need. According to Sameer Soleja of Molecule Software, “Houston surprised me the most.  There's a whole community in this town, of people who want to see startups succeed -- and who will do what they can to help.  It's amazing, and I had no idea it was here.”

Getting yourself out there is just the start though. Delivering a clear and concise message will help investors and interested parties understand who you are and how they can help you. If you have the drive and the competitive edge, pitch competitions are a great place to refine your message, direction, and target market. To those who might be afraid of the unknown but are willing to take the leap, “Doing a pitch competition is a bit like acting on stage,” Soleja says. “Don't be afraid to take a risk -- but no matter what, stick to the bit.  Also, make sure you know your pitch cold.”

While it might take years, or maybe your whole career, to polish your skill set, no one tells you as an entrepreneur, “You can already do it.” Soleja says. “You already have the skills you need to run your startup.  The only thing stopping you is your own fear.”

Molecule makes light, fast, easy-to-use energy trading software that helps any company understand their position and profitability in real time.

HATCH pitch is a revolutionary start-up pitch competition for start-ups making life better.  For more information, go to