Mike Isaac

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Here’s How Bravo’s “Silicon Valley” Stars Pitch Start-Up Investors (Slides)


While Americans geared up for Election Day coverage on Monday evening, much of Silicon Valley was glued to a different channel.

It was the premiere of “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley,” the Bravo-produced reality show that follows a group of twentysomethings through the trials of tech entrepreneurship. It has been the hot topic of the technorati for months, all of whom were eager to see just how drastically wrong a big cable network would portray the tech scene.

Bravo didn’t disappoint. I spent the evening at one of the many Bay Area viewing parties with a group of tech reporters, entrepreneurs and other industry folk. Like any subculture enamored with itself, we took great joy in watching what amounted to something everyone expected: Strings of tech buzzwords. Engineers reciting equations amid kegstands. Waxing philosophical over Valley “ecosystems” while poolside. In essence, a laughable caricature of our own little world.

The highlight, by far, was watching brother-and-sister duo Ben and Hermione Way pitch their start-up idea, Ignite, to angel investor Dave McClure. After Hermione takes a nap under McClure’s desk (yes, really), the siblings walk a skeptical McClure through their vision of a health app for smartphones.

We’ve managed to get our hands on a copy of the pitch deck the two created for investors, which gives some insight (but not much) into their company vision:.

The second slide says it all: Ignite is meant to “enhance and extend the life of humans by providing them with the tools and the understanding to change their lifestyle in a positive way,” as the pitch goes.

How? By “combining smartphones, life expectancy, game theory, social interaction and some clever hardware to drive behavior change.”

Don’t worry, I don’t know what that means, either.

It gets foggier from there. Ignite involves custom-built hardware, social gaming and challenges, and a virtual currency called “time credits” based on extending one’s life, which is made up of a series of “micro-lives.” Initial investment asking price? A cool $500,000 in capital.

Spoiler: McClure wasn’t convinced. The angel investor passed on the deal, sending the two packing.

The dream isn’t over. Monday evening’s show was only the first in a season’s worth of founder’s follies, as Ben and Hermione have a whole Rolodex full of VCs to hit up for cash.

Here’s hoping the two refine their pitch along the way — I’ll certainly be watching to see if they do.

Check out the full slide deck, embedded below:


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