As finalists, Apt. App presented their business plan in a five minute pitch to Denver’s business and entrepreneur community to seek investment.
Whenever we tell anyone about the company we have developed, Apt. App, one of their first statements is, “Oh my gosh! You guys have to go on Shark Tank!” It always gives us a good chuckle because everyone is adamant that an appearance on Shark Tank is a sure fire way to the top. And it’s so exciting!!!!! We agree! But why go on Shark Tank when your hometown is offering something just as special on a smaller scale?
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce & Colorado Small Business Development Center hold a Trout Tank where 10-25 companies compete to present their business idea to a panel of expert judges, investors, entrepreneurs and business people of Colorado. Since we are active members of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, when we heard about the Trout Tank we had to get in the stream!
We applied to the program and got in! Win one! After that, there were three rounds of demanding auditions where we were expected to pitch to a perfect six-minute length with enthusiasm, good hard selling facts, and wow factors about Apt. App. The auditions were intense, but with each round we grew from the constructive criticism the panel of judges offered, and we even got the chance to work with Pitch Lab to put the final touches of perfection on our pitch.
In the time between the auditions, we attended classes put on through the Trout Tank program to help us deep dive into our business plan, marketing efforts, and financial planning with the help of industry experts. We learned an incredible amount, not only from these experts but also from other companies going through the Trout Tank program. The whole process had a profound positive impact on our business and plans for growth.
By the time of the final audition Luis and I had practiced our pitch in front of an audience twice and in front of our patient dog Ziggy hundreds of times. We were ready and hungry to make the final cut! We went in with conviction while at the same time reminding ourselves if we didn’t make it, the journey was still well worth it. We had to wait three long weeks before we found out if we made the cut. Then the email finally came in… Do we open it!?! After staring at the email for a good few minutes, we finally opened it, cringing to see if we made the cut. Then… There we were!!! Apt. App made it to the Trout Tank! We jumped for joy and called our friends and family who were rooting for us along the whole process. We made it!
The rehearsals started again, and we worked feverishly to prefect our investment deck and pro-forma just in case we caught the eye of a potential investor at the event. The Trout Tank day finally came April 19th, 2017. All of the work we did was about to come to fruition. Through the event, Luis and I sat in awe at the other companies who pitched! They were incredible! We were the last to pitch and it went off without a hitch. I started the pitch like I was going in to battle. I did my best to stand strong and confident as I delivered my portion to start us off with a bang. Then it was Luis’ turn to come in. He came across very smooth and collected and before we knew it the time for questions from the panel started. We had a funny yet engaging dynamic that was not planned. I was more serious and business like, as Luis took the comedian approach. But it worked perfectly. It was so fun to watch everyone’s reactions, as they were thoroughly entertained.
Overall, we didn’t end up winning the Trout Tank. But as cliché as it sounds, the whole experience was well worth it. We learned an incredible amount from each other, the companies we competed with, and the Denver business community. We really enjoyed the journey and came out stronger because of it. So who knows… Maybe we will be swimming with the sharks soon. You’ll have to keep watching!