By Becky Cruze (Co-Founder, BeCouply) As detailed in a previous post, my boyfriend Pius Uzamere and I co-founded a tech startup called BeCouply. BeCouply is the mobile app that helps couples have epic social lives by making it easy to discover new date ideas, capture special moments and connect with other couples.
Pius and I are part of the inaugural class of the NewME Accelerator, the first accelerator in Silicon Valley that is focused on minority-led startups. The nine-week program, which is based in Mountain View, CA with co-working space in San Francisco, is the subject of CNN’s Black in America 4 with Soledad O’Brien, which will air this November.
Amongst the 10 startups comprising the summer 2011 class, nearly half have female founders or co-founders including BeCouply: Cued (founded by Angela Benton, who also co-founded the NewME Accelerator), Pencil You In (founded by Tiffani Ashley Bell) and FetchMob (co-founded by Alisa Boguslavskaya).
The accelerator officially kicked off on June 16 with a welcome event at Google, one of NewME’s sponsors. I must give a special shout out to two other sponsors, Kapor Capital and Tagged, both of which graciously opened their doors to us throughout the summer for events and co-working space.
During the past two months we’ve heard from amazing speakers like Ben Horowitz and Brad Feld and received invaluable feedback from mentors like Mitch Kapor and Navarrow Wright. And it was all leading up to one event: Demo Day on August 4.
Demo Day was essentially going to be our debut to the Silicon Valley tech community. Each team was allotted six minutes to pitch their startup to an audience of about 75 investors, entrepreneurs, and journalists split between two sessions.
In the week leading up to Demo Day, Madonna’s “4 minutes” kept running through my head. Only this time, instead of “We only got 4 minutes to save the world” it was “We only got 6 minutes to do our pitch.”
When asked for advice on pitching, nearly every NewME speaker and mentor gave the same tip: “tell your story.” For Pius and me, that seemed like a pretty easy instruction -- BeCouply was built by a couple for couples and we’re on a mission to help every couple in the world have an epic social life.
But, as we began preparing for our pitch, we realized that telling our story was easier said than done. After all, it’s not enough to simply say why you created your startup. You must also describe your team, market opportunity, feature set, use cases, customer acquisition strategy, monetization strategy, etc.
After many long hours of work, Pius and I finally felt comfortable with our deck, the slides we’d be showing as part of our presentation. Now came time to practice ... and boy did we ever! We must have run through our pitch at least two dozen times in the 24 hours before Demo Day.
I tend to be a bit of a worrier, and I had major butterflies in my stomach leading up to the morning session of Demo Day. But, once our names were announced and we stepped up to the plate, all the nervousness faded away. The best thing about founding BeCouply with my boyfriend is that I always have my best friend standing by my side, which instantly puts me at ease. Being a couple is definitely our unfair advantage!
We received really awesome feedback from the audience following our pitch on August 4. Now we just have to wait and see what the future holds in store for BeCouply. In the words of Bravo TV, “Watch what happens!”
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Becky Cruze is the co-founder of BeCouply, the mobile app that helps couples have epic social lives. Born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Becky holds a B.A. in Political Communication and with Special Honors for her senior thesis on YouTube advertisements in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. Becky lives in San Francisco with her boyfriend and BeCouply co-founder Pius Uzamere. Follow her on Twitter at @beckyloveshugs.