Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

True Story: A Great Presentation Wins Big 0

Do great presentations launch businesses? Not always, perhaps, but sometimes, yes. And in this case, yes. Or maybe it’s just a great business. I was in Austin TX at the event last Saturday when NuMat Technologies, a startup launched at Northwestern, won the University of Texas’ Venture Labs Investment Competition.   I was also at Rice in Houston two weeks earlier when NuMat won the Rice Business Plan Competition. Both of these victories matter. The Venture Labs competition pits winners of other competitions against each other. It was the first of the big MBA-level business plan competitions when it began in 1984, and bills itself as the SuperBowl of these contest. The Rice version has the highest payoff, more than $1.5 million total prizes, and close to $1 million for the winners. Both of them require at least one MBA student, from any accredited institution, for eligibility. Both of them include startups from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. I haven’t read the NuMat business plan, but I did see the NuMat pitch, which was sensational. The key was explaining the science just enough to be credible, focusing on the business, and keeping it clear and flowing from point to point. I hope NuMaT  will do an online video of that so you can see it. In the meantime, I’ve embedded a very short YouTube video that explains the science surprisingly well in just about one minute. Clearly, somebody on this team is a good communicator: If you don’t see that here, you can click this link to see it on YouTube. The quick summary is that it seems  poised to change the way gases are stored. Think about those very heavy metal compressed gas tanks like the LNG fuel tanks in LNG-powered vehicle. Think what would happen if the same or more gas could be stored in a new substance that wouldn’t let it leak but wouldn’t require compression. This looks like a real game changer. Conclusion? Yes: hey NuMat, post your pitch online!