Semi-finalist on YourMoney's #RiverPitch - Key Learnings

Through to the Semi’s of #RiverPitch - here’s what we learned.

The team at Realar is totally thrilled to have made it to the semi-finals of YourMoney’s new TV Series #RiverPitch.

Steve Baxter's (previously of Shark Tank) new TV series RiverPitch, features 24 game-changing ideas from 8 teams of entrepreneurs from each state of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

In the Queensland round we were up against an impressive line-up of teams:

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And of course Realar! To be involved in any pitch event is amazing, but to be featured in the very first show of a new and exciting TV series, amongst some of Queenland’s leading entrepreneurs was a huge honour and privilege.

Our goal was to continuously refine our pitch and glean as much feedback as possible, especially from some of Australia’s top mentors and coaches. Being on TV was of course an additional benefit as we always strive for more awareness and expose of Realar as a product. The opportunity for a wider audience to ‘see’ and hear about our product was really exciting, so to make it through to the semi-finals was a huge surprise and wonderful bonus. Competing against the other teams not only made us very proud, but we also got to meet some amazing entrepreneurs and make new friends.

What we learned

A pitch is never perfect and you always have to adapt. The end challenge was to pitch, absorb feedback then adapt into a 90sec format. Our mission is to continuously improve, so having access to mentors like Steve Baxter is a real privilege especially in terms of seeing our pitch through an investor’s eyes. Steve’s analysis is razor-sharp so anything adding clarity to our pitch is immensely valuable. In Episode 1 of the Show you’ll see Steve’s feedback and how “Seeing a building before it’s built” really resonated with him… and Steve was right. That’s a simple, easy to remember tag-line that we have talked about but taken for granted. So now, rather than being buried in our communications, that’s something that is front and centre of Realar’s proposition.

Similarly we had a big assumption that people would “get” that Realar is an App, therefore doesn’t require any new or expensive hardware. You don’t see it in the feedback session but that wasn’t clear enough, so in the final pitch we explicitly drew attention to the fact there is no hardware, that Realar simply works on the Smartphones that everyone has in their pocket. That was a key factor (we think) in us getting through.

Another tricky issue was to do with communicating our business model, and that’s because we have two: first, we have consumers (our Starter Plan) which helps anyone going through a new home build visualise the piece of land they’re planning to buy and build on. Steve picked up on and questioned why people would keep subscribing to a SaaS model for just $49. The answer is that we realised early on that lots of customers also want their builders (who all have smartphones too!) to also easily see a ‘single version of the truth’. Seeing a floorplan as a life-size walkthrough can quickly answer on-site questions. We haven’t yet gone through a full year of our SaaS model but our customers are seeing the value (MRR and LTV) over a length of time. However we acknowledged that we were still learning about our product-market fit which again was a key factor for the pitch.

Whilst our GTM (Go To Market) strategy is very customer-centric, in the final pitch we changed focus to enterprise customers. Although the second part of our model has less traction, we do know that enterprise customers see the value of their customers being able to visualise product. Our favourite case study is how Houzz’s AR App increase Sales 11x so we know it can be done, and done well in the real estate sector. Enterprise sales are, however, tricky - sale lead times can be long and it’s hard to scale reliably through teams - which is why in our short term we’ve been partnering on pilot projects. We recently micro-pivoted away from an over-engineered sales process, so - like how we’ve automated the Realar App using artificial intelligence - scaling this process is something the team is currently working hard on (watch this space). This includes, in our last product release, a branded showrooms feature in-App with click-to-call and embedded web links, so that enterprises can really show their full range of products.

Combining enterprise with a consumer-first approach has in fact brought a real point of difference in that we understand what the end customer wants and the demand for more choice so they can Buy and Build Better. This is why we’re excited by our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of partnering with a marketplace as part of our Ask that was touched on in the final pitch.

Whether a 10min pitch to a room of Angels, a 5min format pitching event, or 90secs on TV, making a pitch crisp and simple to understand is always the challenge and why shows like #RiverPitch are hugely important and not just entertainment TV. We’re loving being part of it.

#RiverPitch is on Your Money every Tuesday at 7.30pm (AEDT) or follow #RiverPitch on Twitter.

Watch Episode 1 again.

Watch Your Money, 7:30pm Tuesdays as 24 Australian entrepreneurs from around the country compete to win a prize valued at $20,000 and to be named the overall winner of #RiverPitch! Each of our fantastic contestants is an Australian owned business who is looking to scale-up and take their company to the next level.