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29 months after winning TechCrunch DC meetup

Memory lane. How to explain it all. We'll launch soon. I think so. I believe that we will.

So what the heck am I writing about now. A kind of failure. We buried this failure in our website. It's an interesting story. Not flattering of course. But it's who we are and now what we've survived.

Setting the stage a little. You have to push yourself back to when Patdek was marketed as a product of Lithosphere Software. At some point I'll find some bespoke images of the website. Wayback Machine might help I guess. It's easier to talk about this failure now. So here goes ...

March 18, 2014 at the Park at Fourteenth, Patdek was on the shortlist of finalists in the Techcrunch DC Pitchoff. The premise was easy enough: about 15 new startups in DC have 60 seconds to pitch to a panel of judges - local VCs and members of the Techcrunch team. The winner goes to the NYC TechCrunch Disrupt conference in May.

So here's the outline of the pitch I was supposed to recite:  

  • Do you know what the odds are that your startup will be involved in a patent dispute?

  • One in five - 20% of startups will receive a threat letter.

  • And It costs you a minimum of $30,000 to handle.

  • And just like a parking ticket, the threat doesn’t go away by being ignored.

  • To handle these threats, you need a patent war room.

  • One that integrates you into the patent dispute process.

  • One that weaves your technology insights into the legal strategy.  

  • One that levels the playing field between the patent assertion entities and targets like you.

  • So we built it. It cuts your cost by 30%.

  • Visit us at to learn more.

Simple for 60 seconds. But the problem was, I didn't deliver the simple message…

Strangely, a big crowd that night. In fact, the line to get in was around the block. I've attended some of these events before, but never to pitch. I don't generally talk to groups of people and these pitches would be delivered to a lively, packed crowd on the 3rd floor, while others watched by television on the first and second floors. The whole atmosphere was overwhelming.  

We were slotted to go 5th and I kept going through the pitch in my head. 60 seconds from the word go - 8 sentences to deliver - very, very simple.

We go up on stage and TechCrunch writer Jordan Crook prepares to start the timer - "60 seconds - go." Most of this is a blur (it's all a blur, but I secretly hope Jordan can locate the video because I want to see it). I do recall Jordan introducing me and Robert. After that, from what I'm told, it was all a total failed start. A very bad start; need to reboot was what it sounds like. So Jordan said something like "let's try that again." Alright - "60 seconds - go." I started again. Nope. Can't remember the pitch. Nothing. Now, a third time. From the top. "60 seconds - go." Wow. Just nothing. I think that's strike three. Jordan didn't flinch, the crowd was great and supportive, but I still couldn't remember a thing. All I could think about is why I didn't bring up some note cards. I was frantic. On the 4th try I still didn't get it. I just spoke. Not punchy and direct like we rehearsed.

So why explain this? Chances are you will fail. Hopefully not like me. But guess what, we're still here. It's not so terrible.

[removing pointless self-promotion from another Patdek page, just keep reading ... ]

You can guess the outcome of the PitchOff. Patdek won. We were honored to be recognized for what Patdek represents. Despite failing during the 60 second pitch, we got our point across. And so can you ... if you just try.