A week ago Wednesday, Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network (OEN) held their Seed Oregon PubTalk Championship round. Three young companies, 4-Tell, GlobeSherpa and Indow™ Windows made it to the competition where the winning company would be invited to present at the March 16th OEN Angel Oregon 2011 event.
Three of us current Master of International Management students were lucky enough to attend the Seed Oregon PubTalk event with MIM Academic Director Cliff Allen. We were excited to observe the event for a number of reasons…
- Linda Weston, OEN President and Executive Director, is such a wonderful person and also happens to be my mentor (through the PSU SBA Mentorship Program)
- OEN PubTalks are great networking events because of the unique mix of business professionals, entrepreneurs, investors and students
- The fact that GlobeSherpa was started by two MIM 2009 alumni: Nat Parker and Michael Gray
The competition was held at Backspace, a unique music venue and gallery space in Old Town, Portland. OEN events coordinator, Julie Brown, did an excellent job choosing the location for the competition – appetizers were amazing. The space was perfect for hosting such a fun and supportive group of approximately 150 people. The presentation stage was simple yet very effective and reminded me of the backdrop for TED talks.
The event started off with appetizers and drinks and the opportunity to network. We had a chance to meet Parker and Gray, speak with an entrepreneur about her need for assistance getting her company organized (here we offered MIM Exit Projects, officially known as the “International Business Research Project,” as an option to get some bright MIM students on the task), talk to Weston, as well as mingle with Allen and other MIM alumni.
After networking the competition officially began with introductions by a lively moderator. The audience was also VERY lively at this point (and so fun!). Each company had ten minutes to pitch their idea to the crowd followed by a five-minute Q&A session by the moderator and audience. 4-Tell presented first, GlobeSherpa second, followed by Indow™ Windows.
This having been my very first OEN Seed Oregon PubTalk Championship, I was blown away by the level of professionalism of the presentations. All three speakers for the companies brought their A-Games, but in particular I was most impressed with Parker’s stage presence during his GlobeSherpa’s presentation and both Parker and Gray’s ability to handle intense questioning by the audience (investors). These two have talent!
Why should you attend an event like this?
- They throw around business terms we have learned such as: development cycles, ROI, IP, perceptual maps (and you can remind yourself that you know about these things)
- You get a chance to “think like an investor” and evaluate these companies while asking yourself questions such as: Do they understand their risks? Do they understand who their competition is? Are they solving a problem? Will the market adopt their product/service?
- You get a chance to see what entrepreneurs go through to gain investors for their start-ups
- OEN promotes networking and people who attend these events want to network and are eager to talk to you
- You have the opportunity to learn from those who have “been there and done that” (Parker and Gray have amazing stories, tips and hints to share from their experiences…Gray stresses the importance of understanding accounting and finance if you want to be able to answer investors’ questions – he says he is MOST DEFINITELY using what he learned in the MIM program!)
- You will be very entertained – the moderator, presenters and audience are lively (to say the least)
This was by far the best networking event I have attended, yet! And even better still, GlobeSherpa won this competition and will be pitching their concept TransitSherpa to investors at the March 16th OEN Angel Oregon 2011 event (go and support these two awesome MIM alumni)! Congrats Nat Parker and Michael Gray! Goooo MIM!
Read more about GlobeSherpa’s TransitSherpa concept on MIM 2009 alumni Will Hutchen’s blog post: Tired of Paper Transit Tickets? and OEN’s blog post by Sarena Regazzoni: GlobeSherpa Wins OEN’s Seed Oregon PubTalk Championship.