12 August 2015 – the date I and my team can never forget.  In the midst of the painful fundraising process, we realised that we had an opportunity to differentiate, get validation for what we are doing and strengthen relationship with our biggest supplier, Twitter.  This was Twitter’s global start-up competition at their HQ in San Francisco, and we were in the final 10!

The one key thing I learnt during my time at Microsoft Ventures accelerator – Pitching without adequate practice and preparation is a waste of time.  We had the script prepared a couple of weeks in advance, and having experience of pitching in front of audience with different levels of fintech knowledge, we knew how to target it best.  Two days before the pitch, I’d practice and time the pitch in front of a mirror every 15 minutes or so where possible.

The result was that we came runner-up and won $10K from Twitter – https://blog.twitter.com/2015/our-twitterhatch-winners.  Delighted we were but at the same time relieved.

susanabenavidez (photo by @susanabenavidez)

Of course delivery of the script is more important than the content itself, but below is our script that may help fellow entrepreneurs:

“Access to quality financial news remains a privilege of the big financial institutions and rich traders, who can afford to spend THOUSANDS of dollars each month to subscribe to various subscription services.

But what about you, what about me?  But what about the average retail investor?

CityFALCON will change all that.  We are democratising access to financial news.  We are redefining how financial news is sourced, curated, distributed and consumed.  You can log on to cityfalcon.com now and access financial news for 1500+ securities including stocks, commodities, fx, indices.  All of this without paying a single penny. Yes, it’s a sophisticated financial product and its free for you!

Where do we get all this information from? Twitter and only Twitter. Why? It’s comprehensive, it’s real-time for financial news but lacks relevancy.

How do we solve this problem? CityFALCON Score.  Just like Klout score rates people, CityFALCON score rates financial tweets, authors and URLs.  So, if there are 200 thousand stories for oil in a day, CityfALCON can give you the 10 stories that you should be looking at.  Our team of physicists, analysts, and developers have one key task every day – strengthen the algorithm, solve the problem of financial big data.

Our competitors hire 100, 200, 500 people in a contact centre to curate news, but we are changing the game here.  We are doing exactly what youtube, FB and Twitter do to curate content, but we are applying it to financial news.  With millions of users on our platform per day who can help us curate financial big data, we can make better sense of financial news than anyone else in the market.

So, how do we make money? 1) Data licensing fees from businesses – a $25bn market and 2) Affiliate revenue from stock brokers – a $7bn market.

In summary, leveraging Twitter and using crowd curation, we are creating a level playing field for all those who need financial news – be it a billion dollar bank or an average individual like you and me.  And if you are not sure if the Twitter stock at $30 is a steal or not, go to cityfalcon.com and find out for yourself.”

stephaniekahan tkolind (photo by @stephaniekahan and @tkolind)

Participants and audience.