This blog post is one of a series of real-time blogs which review and reflect upon the ideas and discussions which have surfaced during sessions which the GLI policy analysts have attended at the GEC.
By Winnie Liu (Management) & Dom Keogh (Economics) – direct from the GEC, Medellin.
Get In the Ring is an international showcase of talented startup companies on three different valuation levels, ranging from less than $1m to beyond $10m. There is no monetary prize, but teams compete and gain immensely from the worldwide publicity that this opportunity entails. This experience connects some of the world’s best startup companies with potential high value investors, as well as enabling companies to gain new connections and clients. Jonathan Ortmans, president of the GEN network opened the ceremony with his support for all the competing teams and how they bring innovation to Medellin and beyond.
The figures are staggering: over 5,000 companies applied, from over 80 countries, through 130+ events and over 20,000 visitors prior to the final alone. This scale is inspiring and illustrates the opportunity of such a platform, in particular when the competitors are being judged by the grand ‘champions’ – judges who have amassed incredible successes during their careers. Five intense rounds enable the judges to fire questions, namely how competitors are going to provide the returns investors demand. This kind of platform also allows the audience to become better informed through the competitors responses to any criticisms or vulnerabilities highlighted. Team, achievements, market and financials form the basis of the 30 second rounds, leading up to the freestyle stage before a champion is crowned.
LIK in no way claims to have invented the advertising industry, however, its simple yet efficient concept of giving people free call credit whilst giving companies direct exposure to publicise towards target markets. At the moment it’s asking for $1.5m in return for 20% equity with a planned exit strategy should investors have any hesitation. As it stands, the confidence of the company lies in the tried and tested model that has proven to be of success due to geo location and specific targeting which has already caught the support of large companies such as P&G and Coca Cola. In contrast, SpeekEZ, asking for a much higher sum of $5m, was considered more innovative in the sense that it is a revolutionary concept of real-time human translation. For example, he criticised Google for its lack of accuracy in translating more complex and colloquial language.
Although both companies are clearly different in their aims, value and mission, there is no denying the fact that the founding team of the companies, is central to manifesting their passion into success. In the freestyle round when asked why one company is better than the other, it was SpeekEZ’s contrast of safety and practicality in keeping supply and demand balanced with ongoing innovation, versus LIK’s higher ‘sure bet,’ nature and exit strategy contingency.
In the end, LIK was victorious- a worthy victory given their innovative and clever stance on a simple concept, whilst providing connectivity for the local community.
Dom and Winnie pictured at the ‘Get in the Ring’ final at the GEC.
Dom is currently in his final year and studying BSc Economics. Dom’s interest in entrepreneurship started at a young age and was catalysed during the course of the Young Enterprise Scheme. Since then Dom has Co-founded one business and has invested in several start-ups in a range of sectors. Dom is also Treasurer of the Investment Society and a Fund Manager as part of the Twikker Fund which actively manages circa £100k.