With the Carnegie Library auditorium packed to the roof with startups, familiar faces in D.C. Tech shaking hands with some new faces from out of town, and with an all around palpable buzz in the air as entrepreneurs chit chat about the latest disruptive concept, the stage was set for Fortify.vc’s second installment of Distilled Intelligence (2.0).
I’m roughly on my third cup of coffee and have only just started covering all of the events for today, so please excuse both my brevity and my utter excitement as I continue to spew my geek enthusiasm all over the next few articles.
DI 2.0 started with an early-morning-lightning-fast networking round as founders, investors, and excited presenters pounded as many sugary pastries and caffeine as possible to get psyched about pitching an auditorium full of people and a panel of intimidating judges. All of the companies in attendance today are part of the “Day 1″ category of startups, meaning they are shooting for a Series A round of funding and already have capital invested in them or currently have revenue coming in. The format of the day’s ‘pitch sessions’ started off with a round of one-minute-pitches in which each company had to give a rather brief run-down of their company, their concept, their market, and why their particular solution is better than anybody else’s. Trust me: packing all of that into 60 seconds is more than tough, especially when you’re doing it under the scrutiny of a crowded room of highly-seasoned entrepreneurs.