On a rainy Thursday evening in Melbourne, Uprise Energy was declared the winner at the inaugural Ghost Pitch competition put on by Herbert Smith Freehils in collaboration with AWS.
If you’re wondering what a Ghost Pitch competition is, that’s fair because it was a new concept to me as well. The idea was actually quite simple: pair four industry experts with real-life startups and let them take the stage to show their chops in hopes of attracting “investment” from the audience. Investment is in quotes because people that attended were all given $500,000 in virtual cash, or “funny money” as Matt Allen called it, to invest however they pleased; they could pledge the entire sum to one company, split it evenly amongst the four or divvy it up however they wanted.
It was a cool concept and one that I hope to see more of. Not only was it a chance to see an expert pitch our company, especially from the perspective of the audience (investor) that I’m commonly presenting to, but it also facilitated a collaborative exchange of information in a process that I quite enjoyed. It was also nice to be able to sit back and let someone else stress over delivering the perfect pitch.
The panel of Ghost Pitchers was:
- Matt Allen (Amazon Web Services, Business Development)
- Rachel Yang (Giant Leap Fund)
- James Crowe (Unlockd)
- Paul Naphtali (Rampersand, Founder and Managing Partner)
Uprise had the good fortune of being paired with the very capable Paul Naphtali of rampersand. My preparation with Paul started about 24 hours prior to the event where I downloaded years’ worth of work on the Mobile Power Station and our business plan over a phone call that lasted a little over an hour. The following day, we met a few minutes prior to the pitch and he gave me a run through of what he prepared. Paul really impressed with his ability to process so much info in short order. I offered a few last-minute suggestions and he was off to the races.
When all was said and done, Paul’s pitch followed by my Q&A was good enough to land us about $13MM in virtual cash, which was the lion's share of investment made on the evening and sufficient to declare Uprise Energy the winner.
Here's Paul's Ghost Pitch followed by my Q&A: