Mockmate – Episode 2
June 22, 2021
After hiring the team, we all got to work. Mike did business development and Francesco started working on the pitch deck and financials. Summer went by quite fast and we did land some good conversations and leads. We started working with LSM (Louvain School of Management) and ESADE. We’d provide our platform to their students so they can practice job interviews.
Thanks Mockmate it’s Friday
The summer was great, I finally had the chance to be a leader of a tech startup. I wanted to be inspiring and put in place the standard that I believe a company should be. We shared lunch every day in our Studio in El Born and I implemented TMIFs. Every other Friday we’d introduce the newcomers, give updates on the product and celebrate the wins together. I stole the idea from Google where they do this every Friday to consolidate teams.
Looking for Investment
Towards the end of the summer, the hunt for money was on. We started kind of hitting everywhere and everybody and realised quickly we were way too early for VC investment. We started reaching out to seed funds and pitched a few events. The IESE angels forum was pretty cool, we also pitched the Itnig weekly event. Eventually, we convinced Barcelona angels to invest around €250k in our business.
In the meantime, we saw that the Techstars applications were opening. For those who don’t know Techstars is the second best accelerator in the world after Y combinator. We decided to apply on a whim and contacted IESE alumni that went through the program. Eventually, we passed the first selection. The second round of interviews were 7 interviews with different people of the Techstars Network and we finally got in! Techstars offers around $120k investment and a very intense 3-month program.
Accelerator VS Angel Investment?
This was the first hard decision I had to make. Techstars offered way less money but opened a huge network of opportunities and support that the angels couldn’t. But Angels were offering more Money! Eventually, decided to go with Techstars and joined the Berlin Accelerator Program, the beginning of an exciting journey!
Right before the start of the Techstars program, Francesco our CFO, couldn’t afford to work for Mockmate anymore (and vice-versa). He decided to return to the corporate world to pay the bills. It was a fantastic adventure and we loved working with him. It was also a tough situation and having a pillar of the company to leave was not easy on us.
After talking to so many investors, we realised that we’d get more attention if we were in the B2B space. It offers nice subscription financial models and high margins. It’s more stable, less risky and clients have really deep pockets. So we decided to flip the product.
Mockmate would now be used by recruiters to interview candidates. We ran a few experiments and ended working with 5-6 companies (mostly SMEs) that interviewed their candidate using our app. We did surprisingly well and managed to identify the best interviewees from their pool of candidates.
We started our B2B in a very lean way. We’d discuss with our clients what questions they wanted their applicants to answer and they made a copy of our current platform, branded with their logo and we’d provide a pdf report of our scores. Mike would diligently copy the scores and make the pdf look nice. We got customer feedback and finally ended up creating a dashboard accessible by recruiters directly.