Our London residential session was buzzing with excitement but tinged with nostalgia. On one hand, we spent our week preparing for the upcoming Investors Day, when the teams will pitch their projects for a chance to gain additional funding. On the other hand, it marked the end of our incubation programme, which spanned 12 weeks, 5 European cities, and a wide spectrum of learning experiences.
Masterclass – Pitch perfect
The London residential began with the master class “Pitch Perfect: How to tell (or sell) your story.” The class was given by Danny Schiemann and Sarah Sutcliffe, both communications and storytelling experts. They offered excellent advice on how to make an impactful and memorable presentation. Their main focus was on using stories effectively, since people tend to remember stories better than data. They offered six big tips for a great presentation:
- SIMPLE (helps people remember)
- UNEXPECTED (gets people’s attention) - Unanswered question – keeps their attention
- CONCRETE (helps them visualize it)
- CREDIBLE (gets them to believe you) - Internal & External Credibility
- EMOTIONAL (makes them care)
- STORIES (inspires them to act)
The teams each got a chance to practice their pitches and get feedback from Danny and Sarah. This was a great setup for the rest of the week, when they had many more chances to refine and practice their pitches.
The masterclass was just the first of several excellent sessions. We also got to share experiences with other education entrepreneurs in a discussion facilitated by Charles Wiles, founder of Zzish. The other entrepreneurs were Wayne Holmes of Zondle, David Miller of KuatosStudio, and Justin Smith of Educational App Store. Later, we met with the Google Education Outreach team, including William Florance and Sudhir Giri, among others. Another exciting afternoon was spent split into three workshops; one to get familiar with innovative technologies at Pearson, another to meet the Teach First team and community and learn what they are doing to fight inequalities in education in the UK and another one to focus on corporate training with IMD Business School representatives.
Meetings with Mentors
As usual, there was a significant portion of the residential set aside for the teams to have individual sessions with mentors and tutors from the London startup, tech, and education communities. Our mentors were:
- Kelwyn Looi - Global Efficacy Team at Pearson
- Alex Beard - Director of System Change at Teach For All
- Fadi Khalek - Chair of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG) and VP Strategic Partnerships and Efficacy at Pearson
- Niall Sclater - Senior manager and consultant in higher education, Director of Learning and Teaching at The Open University from 2010 to 2014
- François Marmion - General Manager at Helios Capital Ltd.
- Laurent Zmiro - OEC Jury Member and part of a joint venture of the Rothschild Investment Trust and the Edmond de Rothschild Group, where he set up an investment club in 2012.
- Nick Kind - evaluates, plans and delivers digital strategies, projects and investments in media organisations
- Steve Warburton - Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of Surrey.