"Clash of Clans of Mobile Payments?" Mike Bradshaw, Hybe’s Pitch Doctor, has seen thousands of pitches, but one could raise his eyebrows, when a Finnish micro-payment startup introduces itself with the phrase.
In our Hybe TV Shows Mike, one of the Three Bald Men - a trio of Finnish pitching trainers - challenges the young entrepreneurs during a two minute taxi ride. His sharp questions are feared, but at the same time they teach entrepreneurs how to get their story straight.
We meet with Mike in the offices of Solu, a startup promising to change personal computing for good, where he works as a Community Manager to discuss how he became one of the most sought after pitching coaches in Finland.
Mike’s road to the startup scene started in 2007 when he bought a new smartphone - he was choosing between Apple’s new iPhone and Nokia’s E90, a full-keyboard bulky Communicator model, which used Nokia’s historic Symbian software. For the technology afficianado the choice was obvious. “The E90 had much better camera, it had 3G, it had much better screen. Alright, it was a little bigger, but I didn’t mind, I am not a small man. I spent almost 1000 euros on a toy, so I had to justify using this toy.”
He was an avid user and friend of Jaiku, a rare app success story for Symbian. "Though Jaiku I got to Open Coffee meetups, which at a time was the Helsinki startup scene. I got to meet these people who were really interesting.”
The other events followed and in 2009 Mike left the corporate world. "The organisation I was working for became very sales focused, too sales focused. When its just sales, I cannot survive, I have to have some technology, some humanness."
"I was time-rich and cash-poor in 2009.”
At a time AaltoES, freshly born entrepreneurship society of Helsinki’s Aalto University, started to organise startup events, offering free food and free beer. Mike became quickly part of the scene.
"Summer of 2010 I started to feel like I should give back. I looked at my CV and my skill-set and thought: who would like to learn about application troubleshooting on enterprise networks? That would never become a super-well attended session! Or, I could teach them the little bit I know about presentation skills. I can present and I knew a bit about theory too.”
And as they say, the rest is history. The first session for the first Summer of Startups went really well. Then he ended up at Startup Sauna, giving feedback to teams. After a short stint at Hammerkit he became the key force behind AppCampus, apps accelerator for Nokia and Microsoft, where he was coaching teams from around the world. "I became the guywho you turn to for pitching workshops."
Since 2010 Mike has seen a rise in competition offering pitch training, but he's not worried about the competition as he, Juha Ruhonen and Aape Pohjavirta have coached the last four Slush winners and Startup Sauna teams through recent history.
"Three of us work together pretty well, we each bring different aspects to it. The methodology is in place. I see them first, then Juha, then Aape."
"My job is to make sure they have the decent foundation there, that they've got the fundamentals. Have they figured out who has the problem, have they figured out what the problem is, have they figured out why somebody will give them money, have they got a business model, do they know what market they are attacking?”
Watch Hybe this week to see how the next entrepreneur will manage with Mike, on the backseat of a taxi.