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MIT GSW 2020 Elevator Pitch Competition: second prize winner testimonial

Published on
21 April 2020

Nicolas Cault, founder of Ludico, and MS Entrepreneurship student at Grenoble Ecole de Management, won the second prize of the MIT GSW 2020 Elevator Pitch Competition. He shares his impressions of this experience with us.

“The MIT GSW win will definitely give me a boost in visibility, and I hope people will reach out to me to discuss my project. I had the opportunity to exchange with Amiel Kornel, an experienced mentor who gave me some valuable insights. The prize money will help me build the prototype. Besides pitching being a really good experience, I am happy with the result and it is really encouraging to have been selected as one of the winners. Now my mother is starting to believe in the project! Jokes aside, it means a lot to me both personally (two years ago I wouldn't even have dared to apply) and professionally.

MIT GSW will definitely help me move forward!

Regarding GEM, I am pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship (MSE) this year. I actually had the idea because we had a pitch session at the start of the curriculum and I came up with the idea 3 days before pitching.

I also took part to a pitch competition with Learning Tech startups organized by GEM (Festival de l'Entrepreneuriat) one month before the MIT GSW, it definitely helped me to refine my pitch and gain confidence. So I benefited from the entrepreneurship spirit encouraged by GEM with MSE, Festival de l'Entrepreneuriat, Incubagem.

The context due to the Covid-19 pandemic in which the competitions took place has also defined my experience in an unexpected and unprecedented way.

It was a true rollercoaster ride. First I did not think I would be selected, I sent my video the day before the deadline, the video quality was quite poor and I was reading my text (which was supposed to be eliminatory). Then they were supposed to announce the results on Tuesday. Tuesday evening, I receive nothing so I think I haven't been selected. On Wednesday evening, I buy my ticket to attend the event because I was really excited about all the conferences, workshops, competitions, networking opportunities. And literally 7 minutes after I buy my ticket, I receive a mail telling me I made it among the finalists. There was a form to fill to confirm you were still in and you could add comments. I asked for a refund of my ticket.

Then the day after I started panicking because maybe the finalists actually had to buy their ticket as well?! But everything was fine, they let me do my final pitch in French which was a big concern, I exchanged with my mentor Amiel Kornel who told me to read his book (it was pretty good). I told a few close friends and my mom, just after she told me she didn't believe in the project. I was preparing my pitch, feeling more motivated than ever, telling myself that maybe with more preparation I actually had a shot. And anyway it was a great opportunity to promote my project, discuss with entrepreneurs and investors, so I was really happy. I was literally celebrating every day! I really felt lucky because it just felt perfect: I was at the right place (Grenoble where the event was hosted) at the right time (my third year doing a degree in Entrepreneurship) with a project I felt was right.

And then 2 weeks before the competition we receive an email telling us the competition is canceled. That was a real bummer for me, I felt really discouraged : just as I thought I had something going, something unexpected and really important for my project, it was taken away from me (of course it's way worse for many people in France and around the world). Like a miracle turned into a mirage. It was hard to accept but I tried to keep working on my project and using this disappointment as an additional motivation.

A few days after that, they announced that they would host the competition online: we had to send a video. I didn't expect that, but hope was back. I spent hours improving the pitch and shooting the video with a little help from my friends. The pitch competition is one of the reasons I stayed in Grenoble instead of going back to Paris because I had better conditions to shoot the video. It was really hard for me to shoot a good video, I had to shoot many many takes because there were obvious flaws and I was never satisfied. 2 days before the deadline I had 3 final takes I called "Bulbizarre" "Salamèche" and "Carapuce" and asked my friends to rate the videos. Everyone had a different opinion! But most of them told me I still could do better. So one day before the deadline I had my final shooting session and I chose to keep "Pikachu", my final submission. It is far from perfect but it was the best I could do. I sent it and you know the rest.”

Nicolas Cault, 2nd Prize Winner of the MIT GSW 2020 Elevator Pitch Competition