DC Start-Up Week -- Notes from the Trenches

Innovation, risk-taking, and creativity have taken over the nation's capital this week. It's exhilarating....and we have only finished Day One. Dedicated streams for founders deliver accelerator-like programs on positioning a company for scalable growth. Investors and accelerator groups talk openly about the unique features of the DC funding ecosystem. DC-based investors may be more risk averse than their Silicon Valley cousins. Even so, the buzz and optimism of entrepreneurship permeates the sessions.

When DC Start-Up week organizers asked me to deliver a 90-second pitch about my company to an audience comprised mostly of other start-ups, I was thrilled. Pitching to an audience consisting mostly of other start-ups is very different from pitching investors. Other start-ups are also actively engaged in pitching, so they will listen to the 90 seconds attuned to every detail.

It may be good practice, but it is also daunting to pitch to other start-ups. Some will want to hear the mission statement (how and why will you change the world?). Some, like investors, will care more about understanding which problem is being solved. Others will want to hear about customer personas and value propositions. And then there is the challenge of describing a new, patented technology that delivers a new way of measuring public policy risk. How can the value proposition be stated without first explaining the underlying technology innovations?

Crafting a 90-second pitch is much harder than it sounds because it is impossible to fit everything in to the pitch. And even if one can manage to deliver a written 90-second pitch perfectly in the calm safety of the office, inevitably some components will be omitted because actual delivery to a live audience takes a bit more time.

The discipline of crafting the pitch delivered a side benefit. We now have a concise description of what we do, why we do it, and the value it creates. Check it out:

Welcome to the frontier of KNOWLEDGE TECHNOLOGY.

My name is Barbara Matthews. I am the founder and CEO of BCMstrategy, Inc., where every day we use patented technology measure public policy risks globally.

Grounded in political science, international relations, jurisprudence, and concrete experience at high levels of government on multiple continents, we use Natural Language Processing to empower individuals to make better decisions about their exposure to public policy risk by making it easier to measure, manage, and anticipate outcomes from policy processes using TRANSPARENT, OBJECTIVE data rather than opinion and innuendo generated by the noise of the news cycle.

Our product roadmap includes using AI to deliver predictive analytics. We will also float tradeable indices of public policy risk….think the VIX of trade policy risk for example. Along the way, it seems we will likely disrupt the newsletter business quite a bit.

We actively seeking channel partners to expand our beachhead markets. And we seek technology partners that can accelerate our progress along the innovation curve.

Angel investment funded Phase I which uses nine levels of process automation daily to deliver automated analysis of global policy activity. Searching our data lake delivers interactive analytical time series that illustrate the `policy reaction function visually.

The value even in Phase I is clear and compelling. Analysts read smarter, they connect the dots faster, and they can anticipate outcomes better. And we are just getting started.

It was not delivered verbatim, but it was close. Already I want to revise it to highlight the information overload problem and the information triage solution, the 70+ customer discovery interviews we have undertaken and the untapped value of unstructured data.

The list of potential refinements may be endless, but time is not. We are so grateful to DC StartUp Week for selecting BCMstrategy, Inc. as one of ten companies to pitch at today's Founders Lunch.