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The inaugural 60 Sec FAST Pitch competition

The inaugural 60 Sec FAST Pitch competition


The idea of making a simple pitch to an investor can be a nerve wracking experience for many and to nail it in 60 seconds was the challenge of 2008’s hottest business ideas competition! Welcome to the dragons den! Kahra Scott-James was one of the 12 who made it in the finals which meant pitching to a panel of angel investors and venture capitalists.

“I didn’t actually expect to make the finals given I was pitching a creative concept in the form of 3D personality ‘Graham’ which is a short form series designed to run across multiple platforms (mobile, web. games, broadcast), primarily offshore in a situation comedy meets viral drama kind of way! So it was a bit of a shock but a great opportunity to learn more about pitching to investors while getting Graham in front of an audience” said Kahra who is the writer behind Graham.

Graham is the brainchild of sibling designers Kahra and Paul Scott-James who run digital media companies WAXEYE (animation, design, VFX) and Entirely Sound Ltd (sound design, music and audio post production). They tested the water via a pilot film ‘Graham’ was one 25 films selected from 800 submissions from 45 countries for the Filminute International Film Festival in 2007.

‘Graham’ then opened the New York Underground Film Festival as part of the Viral Video Screening & Party early 2008 receiving an Award for Animation followed by winning a Mobile Media Award at one of the world's most important animation festivals, the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film, Germany.

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"Since then we’ve been approached with distribution offers from Canada, LA and Hamburg so we’re now after development funds to create the other characters and produce further episodes. The interest is out there so that’s why I entered the business pitch competition. Paul and I had something of a test run presenting Graham at one of the AUT/Idealog Business Innovations Events in July after an invitation from Idealog’s Editors. Matt Cooney. We had 5 mins to open for Kevin Roberts and I recall thinking that was tough but I have to say 60 seconds was even tougher!"

The inaugural FAST Pitch competition was held on Wednesday November 12th at the University of Auckland Business School was presented by The ICEHOUSE and co-hosted by UniServices. Geoff Ross from the famed 42 Below opened the show and excitement peaked as 12 finalists delivered their 60-second pitches to a packed house of investors and fellow entrepreneurs.

Jan Ferguson, Chief Judge of FAST Pitch and Group Segment Manager – Small and Medium Business of Microsoft, presented the awards and congratulated the winners on jump-starting their business dreams. “The judging panel was highly impressed with the quality and breadth of innovative business ideas presented by all the finalists. It was very exciting to see how the finalists were able to refine and perfect their pitches following the mentoring session last week. We are inspired by the entrepreneurial energy in this country.”

Will Charles, General Manager Technology Development of UniServices, said the decision to co-host FAST Pitch competition aligns with UniServices’s commitment to enabling new business ventures to grow. “We are pleased to support the FAST Pitch event as we can see how this will contribute to the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in this country. By refining their pitches, the entrepreneurs crystallised their business value proposition, clarified their market opportunity, and articulated the problem or “pain” they are solving.”

Andrew Hamilton, CEO of The ICEHOUSE, was delighted to see the enthusiasm and support from the investor and business community for FAST Pitch. “Entrepreneurs need to be engaged with the investor community. By competing and taking part in FAST Pitch, the budding entrepreneurs have learnt what angel investors and venture capitalists look for, how to pitch their business idea, and how to be investment-ready. The ICEHOUSE is dedicated to helping promising entrepreneurial companies turn into successful global companies.”

So how did Graham fair and what was the pain he was solving?

“Sadly he didn’t get a prize on the night although he did get on TV the following morning (NZI Business Show - TV1) so he’s getting out and about which is great. It’s pretty tough to find avenues in NZ to pitch entertainment based projects so I’m pretty chuffed that Graham made the finals plus it’s given us the opportunity to talk to investors and consider ways of moving forward”


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