The first in a series of weekly posts catching up with past PITCH finalists, finding out how the experience benefited them, as well as their best advice for those thinking of applying. We're kicking off with Tiny Post's Melissa Miranda.
By Dana Rosenberg (PITCH Competition Coordinator, Women 2.0)
Last week, 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.
Melissa Miranda, Co-founder of Tiny Review (PITCH 2012)
Melissa Miranda is founder of Tiny Post, an iPhone app that lets you express yourself in pictures. Tiny Post was promoted by Apple globally several times, and was acquired by TripAdvisor in March 2013. Melissa also co-founded ListCharming, a custom wedding registry that lets you include any gift you wish. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Follow her on Twitter at @mmiranda.
Here's what she had to say about her experience.
Why did you decide to apply to PITCH?
Women 2.0 is the largest organization that I know of supporting women in technology. I heard about PITCH from emails, colleagues, press. As the co-founder of Tiny Post (then Tiny Review), I had to apply. Why not? Who would pass up the chance to get exposure for their startup especially amongst such a unique audience?
How did pitching as a finalist impact you or your company?
Being on stage was awesome. We were unsure whether to follow our original vision for the company and pursue mobile reviews, or follow our users and broaden the scope to general self expression. The pitch at Women 2.0 showed the audience what our content was about. There was so much emotion and energy behind the broader use case, people were visibly moved by the content, that it made it very obvious to decide which way to go. Right after Women 2.0, we started working on transforming the app from Tiny Review to Tiny Post.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
Pitching. Being in front of so many women. It's a rare opportunity to be in from of thousands of people eager to hear what you're working on and support you in your journey. And it's also all women! Compare that to any other tech conference, likely male-heavy audience. I'm still meeting women who remember me being on stage, and I've been honored to have so many people reach out to me to share stories and get advice on their own endeavors.
What's one piece of advice you have for future applicants or finalists?
Go for it. I gave myself an evening to put my application together and off it went. Next thing I knew I was on stage taking the top prize.
APPLY TO PITCH VEGAS 2013:
Are you a startup with at least one female founder? Have less than $1M in funding? A live product? Save the date and apply to the PITCH LV 2013 Startup Competition here: https://gust.com/business-plan-competition/women-2-0/apply. Like previous conferences, we will feature a technology startup competition for early-stage ventures from around the world.
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.