Interview with Rolf Huiberts, winner of the Pitching Award at Business Booster 2014

March 17, 2015

Each year at the TBB, Business Booster pitching contest, entrepreneurs give it all in front of the audience. At stake, ten thousand euros for the winner.

Among the 59 presentations in the 2014 edition, 5 reached the final: Watty (Sweden), NAWA Technologies (France), Sensus Energy (The Netherlands), Tecnoturbines (Spain) and RVE.SOL (Portugal).

The prize was awarded to Sensus Energy,a company supported by our Benelux office, that offers harvesting technology with strong benefits for the performance and costs of solar systems. Nawa Technologies and Watty got the second and third prize respectively.

How would you evaluate the efficiency of the Business Booster as a platform to meet potential customers?
“This is the second edition of the Business Booster. Compared to previous year the event surely created more momentum. It attracted more attendees from large industries like EDF and Venture Capitalists like Espirito Santo Ventures and Emerald Ventures. Besides, there was increasing media attention which offered additional exposure opportunities. We got some good leads and we also see interesting growing synergies with other KIC InnoEnergy ventures. On the other hand, it needs time for the Business Booster to position as the event where industry, investors and press meet with the game changing KIC InnoEnergy ventures. I compare this event to a startup, with a strong potential to grow to something big.”

What do you consider have been SENSUS Energy’s strong points to succeed and convince the jury?
“Sensus Energy has attended a lot of pitching events over the last year. As we offer a technology and not an application, juries sometimes have difficulties to understand our case and to judge the impact of our technology. So we have put a lot of effort into preparing a pitch that explains our case in an understandable way. It was obvious that the Business Booster jury was familiar with the Cleantech sector in the broadest sense. That certainly helped in the judgment of our case. In the end I think it is a mixture of a good quality pitch, a sound and solid business model, a qualified jury and above all a trustworthy story.”

What would be your advice to entrepreneurs for preparing a good pitch?
“Pitching is all about story telling. The challenge is to take the audience by the hand and let them experience your story. When the audience is able to identify with your story, you will get their full attention. A good trick is to use metaphors, clap traps and sometimes some funny anecdotes. I always try to avoid sentences which might give the audience some kind of negative uncomfortable feeling. Sometimes it helps to use some funny tag lines. For instance, we use the tag line ‘shade happens!’ It is remarkable how many people always have this phrase on top of their minds when they meet us. Another aspect is posture. The posture gives a lot of information about the presenter. It helps for instance to smile and to stand symmetrically and still. Concerning the slides, I try to use only one high resolution picture and a few words per slide. Then it all comes down to practicing-practicing and practicing. This cocktail of ingredients determines the quality of your pitch.”