Posted by DontSendMeACard Team, April 2017

University of Exeter Business School – Startup Pitch Competition

DontSendMeACard were invited back to the University of Exeter Business School for a second year running, this time to run a pitching competition for the Masters students.

In 2016 we presented the DontSendMeACard venture to the Business School students from the perspective of entrepreneurs actively taking a product to market.

After being invited back by Dr Olga Kalinowska-Beszczynska, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, to present again this year, we set up a more interactive session where students could pitch their ideas for 'Scaling a Startup'.

Exeter Business School students receiving prizes for their excellent pitches.

Invitation to Pitch

Founders Alex Furness and Craig Lawson shared an invitation to pitch with the students in advance of the session, which ran in February 2017.

The students could see information about how we had progressed to date, with some insight into what we are working on now, and also what we are planning to do in the future.

Using what they've learnt on the entrepreneurship module, students could submit on a single sheet of A4 their ideas about how they would take DontSendMeACard to the next level if the venture were their own – or if they were hired to do so.

We then reviewed the entries and selected the top three submissions to pitch their ideas in 5-minute time slots.

Workshop Objective

The objective of the session was to create an interactive workshop for the students – rather than have another guest speaker talk for the duration of their visit – giving them the opportunity to showcase their newly acquired business  skills.

In return we heard some really interesting takes on our business model. Here are the highlights:

The Pitches

Pitch 1: Steven

First up was Steven Heijs, who had a good, clear presentation style, and focused on:

• Allowing users to be creative and upload their own pictures to use as e-cards
• Adding a video function for short animations or personal videos as the e-card
• Motivating users to set goals and do more to raise funds
• Showing more of the impact each contributor has made and what has been made in total to each charity

Pitch 2: Ashutosh

Second up was Ashutosh who had put plenty of time to prepare, with a focus on:

• The target market and how to reach more baby boomers
• Increasing the choice of charities to select from so that users can support what appeals most to them
• Showing more of the environmental impact, especially to capture a younger audience
• Making more of what the charity does with the funds given

Pitch 3: Guillaume

Lastly Guillaume Lienhart, who was thinking outside of the box with a focus on:

• Expanding the product to allow users to add attachments to the e-cards
• Exploring current technologies going so far as to include virtual reality
• Allowing for a yearly card subscription with increased reminders
• Looking at offering to emerging countries who do not have a proper postal system

Discussion

The pitches were all well delivered and each had their own merits. It was interesting to hear the variation in ideas and strategy for expansion. It was also almost impossible to pick a winner.

We left time to feedback on each pitch and invite the rest of the students to add feedback or thoughts. Some really interesting points were discussed, including:

The point about sentiment came up and although for many it is a burden to keep piles of greeting cards in an overflowing drawer, for others the issue is that they want to keep special messages. So the question that came up was whether people should be able to download and store the e-card.

Another point that came up in discussion was the ability for a wider range of occasions to be celebrated with our e-cards outside of the main occasions celebrated in the UK. This is something that will definitely become a reality once we launch our charity account version. For example, Losar E-Cards (Tibetan New Year) have been very popular each year with the supporters of one of our charity partners, Tibet Relief Fund.

Conclusion

The session certainly went well and as intended – that is to say that it created a discussion and debate about expanding our offering amongst a group of bright and talented business school students.

Many thanks to Dr Olga Kalinowska-Beszczynska for inviting us back.

And thank you to the students pitching; they were all superb presentations.

Recent Developments

In relation to the discussion from this session, we recently launched a share to Facebook feature to answer the need to be more integrated on social ,media. We have certainly seen an increase in follow-on usage after people share their e-card with all of their Facebook friends.

We have in progress account versions, which are coming soon, which will allow us to bring on board a much higher number of charities, and at the same time provide a central point for users to send e-cards and donate from.

What Do You Think?

We're actively working on expanding DontSendMeACard as an alternative to greeting cards. Please comment below or get in touch with your own thoughts.

DontSendMeACard Team

Providing an alternative to wasteful greeting cards, and a new income stream for charities, at: DontSendMeACard.com