The return of a demo day on Tuesday not only marked a jump back into in-person events for Orlando’s startup community.
It also meant the five startups that completed the VentureScaleUp accelerator could get real-time feedback from potential investors, clients and others in the community.
Luiggi Pera of Miventure, a crowdfunding investment portal that was one of the companies, said the audience was bigger than he had expected.
“These events are very important for startup exposure and for a growing tech hub,” he told Orlando Tech News. “The more startup events like these that we have, the more innovative people and money get in the same room to help facilitate a better future for Orlando.”
Demo day represented one of the first events in Orlando’s tech community to be held in person.
While the 12-week program ended up being a hybrid that included in person and virtual sessions, the fact that demo day was in person will only help the startups.
“I tell any startup that they should come to pitch competitions (and demo days),” said Mark Ingram, a Cocoa Beach business attorney who attended the event. “You will figure out things you don’t know (about your business).”
It’s also a way to practice your pitch so that it’s polished by the time you get in front of investors, Ingram said.
“Local funders can also see you keep getting better the more they see you over time,” he said. “That added exposure can lead to being a successful startup.”
Leaders of Central Florida companies including Miventure, Exhalence, FLUIX, IDEM Systems and Modularity Space took their turns explaining their businesses.
After a loosely timed eight-minute pitch, the presenters then took questions from the crowd of about 50 who attended.
VentureScaleUp founder Dennis Pape, who organized the event at Pipeline Coworking, said he thought the event was better than he expected.
“I could not have been prouder of those teams nor happier with networking, talking to old friends and meeting new tech supporters, and seeing people connecting again,” he said in a Facebook post.
Since its creation roughly six years ago, VentureScaleUp has helped 44 startups, about 70 percent of which are still in business and half of which have raised capital, Pape said at the event.
“We start by looking for proven companies that have achieved visible milestons but look like they need some acceleration,” top local investor Richard Fox, who is part of the program’s leadership team, said in a speech before the startups pitched. “Usually what the need is mentors and money.”
He said he was impressed by the growth each of the companies showed off.
“The presentations they have there look nothing like the presentations they had when we started and we are proud of that,” he said.