A new guest blog – Atif Mahmood from Lumici

Atif Mahmood

Today we hear from Atif Mahmood, Founder and CEO of Lumici, and a recent graduate of the latest Jisc/Emerge start-up programme.  Lumici is an online collaborative lesson planning platform enabling teachers to use and modify existing lesson templates from other teachers. Just like Google has solved collaborative working in the enterprise, Lumici is solving it for lesson planning but in schools.

3 way’s we successfully pitched at the end of our JISC accelerator to a panel of judges

Recently graduating from the JISC Startup Accelerator with what we wanted to come out with as a tangible outcome was an incredible feeling. Having been exposed to account managers, marketeers and even the Chief Executive we’re in the right place for 6 months to develop the right skills, grow a deeper understanding of the Further Education and Higher Education market and be market ready when we graduate from the accelerator and that’s exactly where we are now.

I also want to touch on how we grabbed the attention of JISC and why pitching in the right way during and at the end of the accelerator makes huge difference. So here are my 3 killer tips!

  1. If you want to stand out from fellow presenters, you will have to answer this question right from the start: “Why is your startup different?”

Every startup’s unique selling point is different, and it does not always have to be about your product. It could be the existing traction or the track records of your team. Gain the audience’s trust and confidence right at the start by giving them the right reasons to pay attention. Trust and confidence goes a long way in education and because too many edict startups make false claims and don’t deliver on why they really stand out, do some research on your competitors and really understand what makes you stand out. It’s something I learnt to do during my time at Emerge Education and JISC.

  1. Sell the benefits and value to your audience and not just product features. JISC have a huge portfolio of products and have a deep understanding of the needs of the current market in FE and HE and its customers so get to know JISC and sell them your benefits and value.

Think of JISC as an investor in you.  Here is a list of frequent questions from Investors, which links to profitability: Answer these questions

  • How do you monetise your product?
  • How scalable is your business?
  • How can you dominate the market and stay ahead?
  • What are the opportunities?
  • When can returns be expected?
  • Is now the best time to enter this market?
  1. Blanket and ambiguous statements. Efficacy and credibility go a long way in presenting your argument and case for your startup to JISC. Make sure you present evidence to support your case, and not just big bold claims that will definitely be seen as false. Let me give you an example:

AirBnBs presentation is a great example of how to be specific. When the founder talked about Market Adoption, he listed partner names, the size of the audience at events and a viable way to poach customers from Craigslist.

Impact, value and presenting your ideas with an evidence based approach is key in proving there is value in your product to customers in education.

Having this approach will help you immensely during and at the of your JISC Programme.

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