Launching AnyClip / by Nate Westheimer

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Credit: TechCrunch50"]Credit: TechCrunch50[/caption] To read "why" we founded AnyClip, check out this post on our blog, or read an abridged version on Alley Insider.

Last week, we launched AnyClip at TechCrunch50.

The results were tremendous. We took home the Audience Choice award and were also the runners up for the grand prize, making us the first TC50 company to win two prizes. Heck, AnyClip even won Robert Scoble's unofficial whisky award for being the first company to "wow" him.

The event and the response was an absolute thrill.

Launching at TechCrunch50, however, is about much more than winning.

In fact, the experience leading up to TechCrunch50 is arguably more valuable than the 10 minutes you have on stage, or the attention you receive afterwards. Here's why I recommend launching at TechCrunch50:

  1. External dates focus a Company. From the time we decided to apply to TC50 to the day we launched, TC50 provided at least a half-dozen dates which served as valuable internal deadlines to prioritize and rally (or, in Agile terms, 'sprint'). Having deadlines is very useful in a startup environment, where you can alway try to add "just one more thing" and everyone is launching "oh, sometime in the next few months." Whether it was demoing to get in, practicing our pitch, or the day itself, launching at TechCrunch50 made us put our heads down, suffer a little, but come out with nothing short of an awesome result.
  2. Jason's pitch-coaching. I know good pitch-coaching: my friend and former boss, David S. Rose, is one of the best pitch coaches in the business. Well, it turns out that the West-Coast has its own pitch-coaching master in Jason Calacanis. When Aaron and I (cumulatively very experienced in the art of the pitch) flew out to Sand Hill Road two weeks before the event, Jason gave our pitch a 4.5 out of 10, and then proceeded to tell us how to make it better. After Jason gave his feedback, Aaron flatly replied, "There isn't a single thing you just told us I disagree with." The feedback was so fantastic, and worth the 24 hour, cross-country trip, that when we came back a week later with a new pitch, we scored an 8 in TC50's internal ratings system. On the day we launched, with one last bit of advice from Jason, we scored a perfect 10.
  3. Meet 49 awesome companies. TechCrunch50 is cool because of the 49 other companies you launch with. Every single one of them is cool and run by cool people. I love this business because everyday I get to hang out with some of the most innovative people in the world. Some of these people become my friends. Being at TechCrunch50 means hanging out for two days with other innovative people going through a very similar life-experience. It was one of the most delightful aspects of the event.
  4. No "pay to play." I'm a big fan of "open" conferences. When you force people to pay to be featured at a startup conference you have to wonder, "Is this person on stage for their cool tech, or because they dropped a load of cash?" Knowing that, I feel it would be tough to be a startup who's launching where everyone knows you paid to be on stage. It's like showing up to your high school reunion with a hooker as your date! For this very same reason I introduced the NY Tech Meetup Showcase, where I let 60 companies demo their stuff for free. Yes it's disruptive to the existing conference market, but its a good thing, and it's honest to both the companies and the attendees. TechCrunch50 has the right model here and I hope it lasts.

While not every launch and release cycle can center around a great event, I'll surely keep my eye on TC50 in the future, as AnyClip releases big new products or if I (eventually) start another company. The event was incredibly well executed on and very much worth our time as a presenting company.