Our application thinking and applying to DIFC Hive

Here’s some behind the scene thinking in our Hive application. Interestingly it’s a good opportunity to reflect on some of the lessons on looking at ourselves a year ago. When it came to creating a fintech application we had followed a few accelerators and looked at their application forms. https://www.f6s.com/ has been popular for a lot of leading fintech accelerators to use and a broad theme was consistent for fintechs.

Most applications follow a common lean starting pitch format: problem, solution, opportunity, traction and ask. Commentary on each of these elements is well known and a google search will provide lots of articles on them.

Here are a few standout memories looking back on the task.

One of the early things we did when formed was spent time on marketing and brand to consider what we represented and valued. These things seem a little too abstract at the start but getting them nailed means no mass brand changes when you have traction and when it’s heavy work to execute. It does not require massive investment as a startup but being clear is better than not having done anything at all.

Where to begin

Most application will ask for a “tweet of what you do” or a “pitch you would give in an elevator”. This is the start of many pitch application but it was actually the end in our process. We did this as the last thing as it’s a perfect example of the detail needing an awesome filter and fine-tuning.

The pitch video

This is now a standard feature for accelerators. Videos are about telling a story and not an advert, sales pitch or speeches. Brevity is king. Short and clear articles are the key. I have learned that knowing nothing and trying to explain it is not the key; knowing all the detail and then having a finely tuned filter to strip it back is important. It has also taken many iterations and there is not one that works for every audience.

The pitch video was something we have massively improved. Talking to the camera I don’t think works for accelerators (unless it is accompanied with an appropriate background setting). Also for some people in corporate settings they do not always have speakers or can listen so text and video are what’s needed.

Professional video editors have a place and a role. We did ours in house as again the editing tells our story. I am also a big believer of build, view, edit and this is a lot quicker inhouse than with an external agency. Our eventual video has no founder interview but its basic structure follows the prescribed pitch format. It won’t win an Oscar but hopefully it tells our story. Our video is 1min 12 seconds long, under 140 words, a tech-rock soundtrack (not all will hear that if seeing on a corporate network), no sentence longer than 10 words, background video of a Dubai fly- by and produced on Camtasia software on a Dell PC.

The startup fintech world has moved on in the past year. Ideas used to get funding but now you need a beta product and test clients. That’s a big shift and also a ravine to get over for a startup running as a lean business. Hopefully, these insights help you crossing the many ravines a startup sees.