Past PITCH Finalist: The Experience Gave Us the Confidence to Attend 500 Startups
The latest in our series of weekly posts catching up with past PITCH finalists. Greengar co-founder Thuy Truong talks about how the experience led her team to a top accelerator.
By Dana Rosenberg (PITCH Competition Coordinator, Women 2.0)
Recently, we finally announced that Women 2.0 is bringing its signature conference, PITCH, to the fabulous Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas on November 14th and November 15th 2013.
In our fifth year now, PITCH has brought together thousands of members of the Women 2.0 community to connect, learn from one another, and form meaningful long-lasting relationships. But, what we hadn’t predicted is how great of an impact the startup competition would have on female founders and the companies they build.
Past PITCH Startup Competition Finalists have gone on to raise $1.2 million in seed funding, join the ranks of 500 Startups and Y Combinator, and be acquired by the likes of Yahoo!. Others, have found the competition to be a tremendous learning experience, networking opportunity, and feedback session that helped propel their company forward.
In the spirit of recognizing some of our past finalists (and hopefully encouraging you to apply), we’re launching a quick profile series where we’ll highlight one founder’s experience each week.
Thuy Truong, Co-founder of Greengar (PITCH SF 2013)
GreenGar co-founder and CEO Thuy Truong holds a degree in Computer Science from USC but unlike most other engineers, she first pursued an opportunity in the food and beverage industry. Having returned to Vietnam, she launched a chain of self-serve frozen yogurt shops, raising nearly $400,000 and securing prime locations in Ho Chi Minh City. As a close friend of GreenGar founder Elliot, who she met at USC, Thuy joined GreenGar and began building GreenGar’s development team in Vietnam. She successfully recruited and managed ten highly talented developers while GreenGar apps surpassed 13 million total downloads. Thuy’s focus on usefulness and accessibility drives her passion for mobile technology.
Why did you decide to apply to PITCH?
GreenGar is an app development company with over 14 million downloads, but we don’t have much outside feedback about our business. Therefore, I looked for feedback about our company.
How did pitching as a finalist impact you or your company?
When GreenGar was selected as a finalist, we needed to refine our slide deck. We didn’t really have one before. I had to think deeply about the business, direction, and vision of the company, and the message that we want people to understand about us. During the month of preparation for the pitch competition, we thought about the business harder than at any time before.
After the competition, we were featured in the media and TV shows. We established many connections, which gave us the confidence to apply to 500 Startups and be part of the notable accelerator program.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
When Christine Herron on the judging panel told us that she already has our app on her phone and her daughter loves it.
What’s one piece of advice you have for future applicants or finalists?
Entrepreneurship is always a lonely road. However, being a member of a female entrepreneur community like Women 2.0 makes this road easier to conquer. Get yourself out there and get more feedback. Even in the worst case, you’ll get criticism that could help your business get better.
Are you a female founder? Apply to PITCH Vegas today.
Dana Rosenberg is Director of Business Development at Rock Health. She manages strategic partnerships and sponsorships across the Rock Health incubator, events and research. Prior to Rock Health, Dana led user acquisition, engagement, marketing and PR at HealthTap and was a consultant at Easton Associates, a boutique healthcare strategy consulting firm in New York. Dana has a BS in Biology from Duke University. Follow her on Twitter at @DanaRosenberg.