3 Tips of Winning Global Startup Battle

Happy Birthday to AfterShip! It has been a fruitful year for AfterShip since becoming the 2011 Startup Weekend Hong Kong and 2011 Global Startup Battle winner. I would love to share the 3 tips of winning Global Startup Battle for those who win the Startup Weekend on 9-11 Nov 2012, and want to become the 2012 Global Startup Battle winner.

Tip#1 – Make a video within 3 hours

Say you win the Startup Weekend in your city and want to participate the Global Startup Battle, you are required to submit a 90-second video for your startup idea within 24 hours after Startup Weekend. You may want to make a perfect video that can go viral, but I suggest you should focus on finishing the video that well explains your product within a few hours.

Step 1. Choose a style – Co-founder talking or illustration

For the 90 seconds, you can choose to record Co-Founder or someone talking with your camera or use illustrations to explain the idea (we choose illustrations as we are not native English speakers).

Step 2. Write a 250-word script

A 90-second video can handle around 250 English words if you speak in a speed that people are comfortable with. Getting the script done will also help you to set the story board. Remember to speak the script out and count the time. Like the pitch, you may want to include:

  • logo
  • tag line - problem & solution
  • market share
  • prototype demo (if any)

Step 3. Make & Edit video

This is one of the most time consuming part, but remember you are not going to make a Hollywood movie. Here’re some tools I recommend to save your time:

Go!Animate helps you create an animated video by drag and drop. - Screencast-o-matic can put your static graphics to become a video. - iSpeech – if you are not native English speaker, this text-to-natural-voice app will save your life recording the script.

AfterShip: You can check out our Global Startup Battle at our YouTube channel – we use Screencast-o-matic and iSpeech

Tip#2 – Spread the video and collect votes

There are 100+ videos you are competing against in the 2012 Global Startup Battle, how can your video stand out from the crowd? I recommend you to spend only few hours on the video as there are more important tasks left.

Task#1 Local PR Campaign

The main reason we won the Global Startup Battle in 2011 is that our story goes viral in the local community. Of course, you can try to pitch your startup idea to Mashable / The Next Web (Read: The Complete Guide to Getting Press Coverage For Your Startup from Leo, Buffer). Some quick tips:

  1. *Prepare a media list: * get the editors’ emails and phone number
  2. Find a story angle: anything interesting that is related to your startup idea or team members
  3. Organize a media day: get all the key media to come on the same day so that everyone gets their story out on the next day. Find a place that is quiet and prepare materials for photo taking.
  4. Cold calling: Make sure you tell your story within the first line and ask them to send a reporter to your media day.

AfterShip: We got 7 newspapers to write about us and each includes the voting link; one mainstream media described us “3 idiots” (the movie) chasing their entrepreneurial dreams which went sort-of viral in Hong Kong.

Task#2 Friends, Family & Offline marketing

The easiest way should be asking friends and family (or their friends) to vote. For example, you can post your winning story and pictures in Facebook, include a voting link there - make that post public, ask your friends to share it out. You can also prepare a leaflet and distribute it in any communities that you think you can find support.

_AfterShip: _Every vote counts* - *Teddy’s mum spent the whole afternoon calling every her friend to vote. We gave out leaflets in a university where all students have their computers with them.

Tip#3 – Don’t break the rules

**Don’t cheat the voting system or use program to constantly change IP Addresses for voting. Regardless how viral your video or how great your PR campaign, you will be disqualified if you break this rule.

_AfterShip: _We get around 5000 votes and won the competitions – the number is not that high and we are surprised yet felt blessed to win this competition.

I hope you guys will find these tips useful and good luck with your winning the Startup Weekend. If you have any question, please feel free to connect with me at andrew@aftership.com and follow us @aftership.

Andrew Chan

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