Demo Day: What is it, why is it important?

Antler Sydney Venture Partner Christian Wanner explores what is Demo Day and why it is important for founders, investors and the wider community.

June 22, 2020
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Demo Day. It's a common phrase for those in the startup or venture capital industry, but for others it could sound like some sort of daytime TV infomercial played out in real life. To set the record straight for anyone who's still unsure of what a Demo Day actually is, it's an event organised by an incubator, accelerator, or in our case, a VC firm, whereby the founders of startups formed with the help of that particular organisation pitch their business to a room full of investors, in the hope to secure investment. At Antler, this usually represents the company's seed round and first external validation to our initial investment.

The day is a celebration of everything that startups represent: the "a-ha" moment, the team formation, the company generation, first milestones such as an MVP, first customers or revenue. It's about the pure grit, drive and determination that founders go through to create something new and innovative, and, hopefully, something with the right product-market fit that will go on to form the next wave of tech. What is unique about Antler's Demo Day is the fact that featured companies have been formed in less than six months before presenting to investors.

Audience sit and listen as one audience member speaks at Antler demo day

We hope that by showcasing what our amazing entrepreneurs have achieved in a few short months, will encourage other exceptional individuals to take the plunge and launch their own business too, creating a stronger, more vibrant tech industry and startup community.

— CHRISTIAN WANNER

While some Demo Day's are a private, exclusive event Antler is opening its inaugural Sydney event to the entire Australian tech startup ecosystem and beyond. Why? We want to remove the barriers to entrepreneurship and make it accessible to a wider pool of talent.

After all, leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders. We hope that by showcasing what our amazing entrepreneurs have achieved in a few short months, will encourage other exceptional individuals to take the plunge and launch their own business too, creating a stronger, more vibrant tech industry and startup community.

And it doesn't stop there. We didn't feel like it was enough to just open the doors to the community. We needed to engage them, have them actively participate and find value. For this reason, we're offering mentoring sessions with our expert Antler advisors with years of entrepreneurial experience. Through these sessions, members of the community and potential Antler candidates can test and validate their ideas, get insight on their industry, or get help to solve the business problem they can't seem to move pass.

Additionally, there will be an interactive expo hall where the community can meet and greet the founders, hear about their experience in the Antler program, and how the startup generator helped them launch a business in just six months. They can see firsthand the newest entrants to the Sydney startup space, speak with some of the brightest minds in the country and learn about their platform, product or process.

While this event is all about the founders, to add to the excitement, the appeal and the overall entertainment value for our attendees, we have invited an incredible keynote speaker. To find out who that is you will have to wait until we announce it.

Now, it wouldn't be a Demo Day without investors. We need to give our founders the opportunity to get in front of the right people, gauge their interest and hopefully secure them as an investor. This means we will have a small, intimate, invitation-only portion of the event at the end of the evening, but this just a small part of what is going to be a show-stopping event.

Why Demo Days are important for founders, investors and the community

There are tons of Demo Days out there, and some hold the belief that founders should use the time spent preparing for such a presentation to focus on building their business, but this is not just any other Demo Day.

Throughout a startup's lifespan it is unlikely they will ever again get an opportunity to pitch in front of such a large and engaged audience, let alone one filled with local and international investors ready to fund the next big thing. Along with that, the sheer amount of marketing Demo Day provides for a company is unparalleled. It can act as a launching pad, the big reveal, an official opening.

With this in mind, why should it be something the tech startup ecosystem has to miss out on? We hope our Demo Day encourages other ambitious entrepreneurs bursting with ideas to launch and grow global businesses that will go on to create more jobs, boost the economy, strengthen global connections, and put Sydney on the map as a city of booming innovation and startup success.

The most driven founders are joining Antler - the world's day zero investor - to solve important problems. Apply to join Antler in Australia, or sign up here to access insights and resources to help you on your founder journey.

This article was written by Antler Venture Partner Christian Wanner. This article was first published on LinkedIn. Read the original here.

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