This was a pretty exciting week for Axonify. We were one of 5 lucky companies selected to present at the 2012 Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference in Aspen, Colorado in a competition called Startup Idol that gets the 3 day conference off to a rousing start. The conference ran Monday to Wednesday this week.
As everyone knows, the Fortune 500 is such a tremendous brand, and the third annual conference is designed to bring major thought leaders in technology together to hear stories, share ideas and stay on top of the latest developments.
I was really excited to go, not only to present, but to meet amazing people, watch some great panels and enjoy Aspen. From AirBNB, to Zynga to Box, there were some outstanding conversations. And the fireworks between Peter Thiel and Eric Schmidt during dinner on Monday night were very entertaining.
Getting there in the first place however, presented some unexpected challenges and I almost didn’t make it. Between flight cancellations, a re-route and overnight stay in LA, a hotel room with someone already occupying the bed, 3 hours sleep, being re-booked the next day on the wrong airline – what should have been a 4 ½ hour trip turned into a 24 hour marathon that saw me running between terminals in high heels and a dress dragging a broken suitcase to make the final leg of my flight.
I landed a couple of hours prior to the show, having missed the rehearsal with the other contestants that morning. I was given my own quick rehearsal, where I learned that it wasn’t a 5 minute pitch……it was a 4 minute pitch. Ooops. I was informed that going over 4 minutes would result in the hook in the form of a very loud buzzer and flashing light on the stage. So with barely a minute to spare, I practiced a handful of times to try to cut it down. And then it was showtime.
The contestants were required to be in the green room half an hour before the pitch to get mic’d up. The other presenters were told I might not make it, so they were surprised to see me. What a great bunch of young entrepreneurs! I was third in line to present. The lights went up, the judges were introduced by Adam Lashinsky (Fortune Editor at Large), and it was go time.
All of the founders told great stories about their ideas and startups. The judges made terrific comments. I find it impossible to know how my presentations compare to others when I’ve done them, but the adrenaline kicked in and I felt pretty good when I sat down. My pitch came in just under the wire at 3:59!
The winner was picked by audience text voting. There were hundreds of people watching, and 2 minutes later the winner was announced – Axonify! After the whirlwind of the previous 24 hours I was super pumped. And it was terrific to be able to celebrate with Rob Chaplinsky, Managing Director of Bridgescale Partners our largest,investor. We won Herman Miller furniture, the latest Lenovo computer and best of all – amazing exposure through the Fortune organization. Look for a full feature in the magazine a few months from now!
I’ll close with saying again how proud I am to work with the Axonify team. Evangelizing what we do is made so much easier when you’re backed by a group of people who are amazing every single day.