And then there's the registration form.
When we filled the form a year ago, we really didn't have much clue on what to write there. We did the best we could, submitted the form, and waited. And waited.
Then, just two weeks before the event, we got an email announcing that our company was not among the 100 companies selected for the pitching competition. They recommended that we concentrate our efforts on networking during the event.
We were devastated. It felt that mail destroyed everything we had been working for over the past months. We were very disappointed with the application process, that was just a black box. Had we known what kind of info they expect in each of the form fields, we could surely had filled it out better. The world seemed to be a very unfair place for a moment.
But after a day or two, we got a new mail, saying we had been selected to be present on the Health Track and we'll get a demo booth for one day. So instead of pitching for one minute for a random audience, we'd have the chance to present our service to many people interested in healthcare services, without time limits - and we got the stand for free! Things were looking very bright again.
A week before the event we got yet another email. We were offered 5 minutes stage time to launch our service on stage as part of the Health Track program. This was just superb. So much better than the pitching competition would have been for us. Of course, there was only a week left and we had all of that week already scheduled for other preparations. But we just had to take this opportunity as well.
So we quickly created a launch campaign and the presentation. We couldn't get everything done in time, so we were probably one of the only companies with a booth but without a rollup (we used a screen instead). Free tip for you, startups, get your rollup ready in time. You're going to need it.
During the event, there were some last minute changes again and a bit of hassle, but that feeling of creative chaos is just part of what makes Slush so great, I guess. Our booth was busy the whole day and the launch was received with a lot of love and plenty of registered users.
In the end, there was one more nice surprise, when Slush featured us in their blog. We ended up getting so many good things. For us, this still is perhaps the most striking experience of what it means to be an entrepreneur. We lived through the initial disappointment and through every new positive turn so fully and with so much emotion. And it taught us that even in desperate times there are amazing things ahead.
This year, we still don't know exactly what to write on the registration form. But we do know there will be ups and downs on our path to Slush and beyond. And we'll most likely be devastated and depressed at some point again. But this time we'll face all obstacles with a new kind of confidence.