Heatwave and Hive interviews

July is usually a quiet month in Dubai. Families away on holidays and commerce quieter with soaring temperatures outdoors (whilst we had a heatwave in Europe too). Two weeks ago we pitched at the DIFC Hive interview day in Dubai. 300 firms down to a small number for 3 days of interviews. We were part of it.

10:06pm emails are not always something you look out for but that was when our news of a place at interview arrived. Hoorah but then more work to do to prepare.

First decision: video interview or in person. We chose in person as we had a few other tasks in the region so with one trip we could do a few things in one go.

So a recap on what is the DIFC Hive, a 12-week programme, where startups work closely with partners to create solutions that address the evolving needs of their respective industries. The partners include

  • ADIB,
  • Emirates Islamic,
  • Standard Chartered,
  • UAE Exchange,
  • Mashreq,
  • Zurich Insurance,
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank,
  • Emirates NBD,
  • Citi,
  • HSBC,
  • National Bank of Fujairah,
  • Riyad Bank,
  • Arab Bank,
  • MasterCard,
  • ADNIC,
  • Zurich Insurance,
  • AIG Insurance,
  • Takaful Emarat,
  • Noor Takaful; and
  • Noor Bank.

Why do we want to be in Hive? To pilot our beta with financial institutions and with innovation managers, that task is easier especially where Accenture is part of the frame and you are in a hub designed to achieve that.

The format we understood was 10mins pitch and 10 mins Q&A. The usual format for pitches was: problem, solution, opportunity, traction and ask. We learned on the day the partners had asked after the first day of interviews to focus on the product rather than pitch. Fine, so bin all the work on the pitch we had done and just get wifi, access the demo, show the best bits of the beta in 9mins 30 seconds (30 seconds to tell the story what we did and why we were there).

With the demo we tried to focus on the innovations and simplifications that brought to the partners. Our focus when we setup was always on the B2B2C market, so our demo lived true to that aim. We left feeling we had done a decent job but with some many faces in the auditorium it was hard to know how we had been received.