YC Demo Day S17 Takeaways as an Alumni

yc demo day s2017 summer
The one and only.

Twice a year, some of the country’s finest minds flock to the prestigious Y Combinator Demo Day, where a number of hopeful startups present their business plans to a carefully selected audience of investors. Some of the finest minds are invited to flock the night before as well – to the rehearsal run viewing reserved for those alumni who presented successfully the cycle before. Alumni such as Upcall.

Upcall presented on the Winter 2017 Demo Day this past March, and now our own founders, Sam and Michael, attended the Summer 2017 Alumni Demo Day as guests. My, how time flies! At this invite-only event, the graduating class has the opportunity to do a dry run of their presentation before the big day.

upcall demo day yc
Upcall CEOs Sam (left) and Michael, presenting their own pitch this past March.

We asked Sam and Michael to share their thoughts about the event, including advice and who else was helping advance sales team efforts like Upcall. Read on for a little Q & A:

Q: What was your overall impression of the event?

A: An impressive batch. A great variety of companies, from over 17 countries and across all industries – including medical, construction, and autonomous cars. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Q: Tell me about the quantity and composition of the companies. How many startups are included this year?

A: YC is getting bigger every year and reached 1,400 total funded startups. This batch alone had 132, and as I mentioned from all over the world. We noted a slight uptick in female founders presenting, at 12%. Here’s some more statistics about this year’s Summer Demo Day to check out. 

alum night yc demo day
Credit: sfslim on flickr.

Q: Did any pitches strike you as particularly unique?

A: Yes – Flock is a wireless security system for neighborhoods. They’ve already helped to arrest a thief thanks to their cameras. Using this, someone could give the police evidence they need to help after a crime has been committed.

Another one was Mystro. This is an app to help drivers find better rides between different platforms, like Lyft and Uber. It was created for drivers by a driver, and makes on-demand drivers more money by allowing them to drive for multiple on-demand apps and miss less trips they might want.

Entocycle is an insect factory! They transform food waste into insect-based protein for the aquaculture and livestock industries. Very smart and innovative way to help the environment.

70 Million Jobs is the ultimate second chance – it’s a job marketplace for people with criminal records. Their mission is to help the formerly incarcerated men and women regain agency through employment.

Value Voting helps increase voter turnout through strategic primary voting. With the United States constantly engaged in the fight to encourage voter participation, this can help your organization achieve their legislative goals.

Q: Any startups worth noting for boosting your sales team efforts?

A: A good number of them! There was:

  • Slik – Slik offers highly targeted leads with an advanced filtering system, contextual data about decision-makers, and varied pricing.
  • Prism – Why do your customers do what they do? Prism lets you define your audience, collect feedback, and gather insights to find the answer.
  • Loop Support – Quality customer support is a necessity for any well-run company. Loop Support helps growing companies provide great customer support, from answering tickets, collecting insights, and doing their research for a knowledge base on your customers.
  • Meetingbird – With a slogan like “Less Scheduling, More Doing”, how could you go wrong? Meetingbird is a helpful Chrome extension that integrates with your Google calendar and email for easier scheduling.
  • Thematic – Thematic lets you use customer feedback to make effective changes, with text analytics and visualizations from your NPS, CSAT, user research surveys and chat logs.

Upcall is no stranger to empowering your sales team, either! Our special YC offer includes ½ price on-boarding, and 10% off all plans. Try us out and generate leads for your industry here.

yc demo day make something people want motto
Credit: pahlkadot on flickr.

Q: And last but not least, any advice for those thinking of founding a YC-worthy startup one day?

A: It’s simpler than you think. Just solve a real problem. The main motto at YC is “Make Something People Want.”

And there you have it – Upcall’s own little sneak peek into the S2017 Alumni Demo Day!

Ready to start your own call campaign with Upcall? Start your demo now!

 

Upcall is also looking for more talented individuals to join our team. Check out our available positions here!

Guest Post: Outbound Calling in the Sales Enablement Ecosystem

Today we’re happy to feature a guest post by Cory Bray, co-founder of ClozeLoop, a sales enablement platform designed to help companies achieve revenue and profitability goals. Bray has ten years’ experience building high-performance sales teams across multiple industries.

Cory and and ClozeLoop co-founder Hilmon Sorey are also co-authors of The Sales Enablement Playbook, now available on Amazon. Whether you’re a sales executive, sales practitioner, or a non-sales executive looking for ways to impact growth, this book will help you identify your role in a thriving enablement ecosystem.

Order your copy here!  

The Sales Enablement Playbook by Cory Bray and Hilmon Sorey

By: Cory Bray

I was recently chatting with my friend Sam (CEO of Upcall) about my new book (The Sales Enablement Playbook) and we were talking about how I view Sales Enablement as an ecosystem, not a position or department. He asked, “How do you think Upcall fits into the Sales Enablement ecosystem?” Hmmmm…great question.

After taking some time to think about his question, it’s amazing how many ways companies can augment their internal team with outsourced calling to impact results.

The Obvious: Outbound Sales Development

Remember, sales development teams are just trying to arouse curiosity…not close deals. For that reason, it makes tons of sense to augment the team when leads are in short supply…you won’t be risking quality if you have adequate training for your UpCallers. Some ideas are to focus on include:

  • Account-Based Selling: In any given account, there are possibly tens of people who could be your entry point. If they are putting off buying signals, attack the account in a week, not a month.
  • Re-Activate Dormant Accounts: Those companies who stopped responding to your AE? Let’s take another look, but let the AE focus on deals that are closing this quarter.
  • Target Medium-Priority Contacts: Let your full-time SDRs who you can coach in person handle the high-value leads, but instead of waiting weeks to get to the medium leads, get after it now!

sales, team, group, working

Inbound Sales Development: Handle Those Spikes

Have you ever received an email saying it was great meeting you at a tradeshow….6 weeks after the tradeshow? Terrible, right? Well, when there are spikes in inbound interest, there are three options:

  • Make Inbound SDRs work 80 hours a week and violate the Overtime Provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Wait weeks to follow up with leads
  • Augment the team

One option stands out from the crowd… 

Sales Development Meets Customer Success

As we describe in our book, one of the most overlooked sources of leads is employees who used to work at your customer but now work elsewhere. If they loved your product in their last job, make them an evangelist in their new job! It’s tricky to hunt them down, but it’s totally possible. Take your research and feed it to an UpCaller for a whole new revenue stream.

More Customer Success

In addition to generating leads, why not make some calls to capture:

  • Net Promoter Score: It’s tough to rely on email responses to NPS surveys. Augment them with calls.
  • End-User Success Stories: When it comes time to renew, do you have enough data to support your case? Make calls to individual end users to capture their stories, then aggregate these for renewal conversations.
  • Product Feedback: Figure out what specifically is holding you back, and take those details to the product team for consideration.

feedback, product

Based on the feedback here, you might need to tweak your product, target market, or selling approach. All of these adjustments will seriously enable the sales team moving forward.

So Much More…

These are just some of the ideas that came to mind, but depending on your business, there are probably several additional applications.

Get more leads. Get better leads. Figure out why the leads you’re getting aren’t converting. Understand customer satisfaction levels and address any options. What’s not to love here?

It’s pretty cool how many places UpCall fits into the Sales Enablement Ecosystem!