Wow. The best way to describe the Google experience is simply, wow. How did Milaana end up in Google’s funky hallowed halls you ask?
They flew Milaana down! Whhhaaaatttttt! Its true! As the finale to the 12 week Incubate Program, the top 4 teams from the four universities participating in the Incubate program ,were flown by Google to their Sydney HQ to pitch to a select group of investors and industry leaders!
I last mentioned the program when it first began back in January and it has been amazing to see how all the teams have transformed over that time.
We have all been working hard on our products/services, building traction, refining our value propositions and in the last few weeks of the program polishing our pitches!
We had a practice “Local Demo Day” at Bond University the week before which was really well attended. Whilst I was certainly nervous leading into it, the evening proved to a great experience and a safe environment to build our confidence and get constructive feedback.
The evening was judged by a panel of local investors and Start-up leaders, and based on the result, Milaana was selected at as one of the 4 teams to fly to Sydney! So the following week, filled with nerves and excitement we all board a flight to ‘the big smoke’ and head straight to Google! Great feedback from the Thursday practice and the sunny atmosphere of Google HQ (Scooters and Uni-cycles included) helped keep us calm and cheery.
Condensing your vision, the story, the problem/solution, and all the relevant details into just 5 minutes is no small task! I kept revising/refining up until the night before and even without doing the pitch, that in itself was a great process to go through. With the support of the Bond team and amazing Sydney supporters from Google and Incubate and my “happy place” music , on Friday at 11am I got up and delivered the best Milaana pitch I possibly could!
Afterwards, I was able to finally relax and floating on cloud 9 could sit back and let it all soak in. I met so many incredible people from the Sydney Start-Up scene and new fans of Milaana who really believe in our vision of “Empowering Youth through Cause-Driven Projects“!
It was a huge day, 15 pitches and 2 amazing addresses, from the Tim Westergren of Pandora Radio and Matt Barrier of Freelancer.com.
And at the end, we were able to let our hair down with all the start ups and amazing people involved in the program! I loved getting to know the other start up teams who, whilst all so diverse, definitely had the shared characteristics of passion, vision and solid work ethic.
In the following week, I stayed in Sydney and thanks to the Friday pitch, was able to book in an amazing array of meetings. I met with leaders from the start up scene, learning about awesome Non Profit StartupAUS, visiting the accelerators of Muru-D, ATP Innovations and Industrie IT’s the Grid and spending my downtime with the awesome teams who’ve called the Incubate Hub at Sydney University their home during this program. I also met with inspiring individuals from industry leaders Philanthropy Australia and The Macquarie Foundation, entrepreneur and all round awesome bloke Matt Byrne, and many others who were extremely energising and helped me to refocus Milaana’s future directions and prospects.
Here are some little snaps I took as I strolled through the crisp streets and along the beaches of Sydney between meetings. It was wonderful to see the real liveability of this dynamic city.
Thanks for an amazing time Sydney and I will definitely be seeing you again soon!