February 15, 2012

Format for pair-up night?

By: thejunctioncoil

What’s the right format for a pair-up night? Would love your take. What I was thinking was:

  1. Each “concept pitcher” will have 2 minutes to pitch: himself, the product & status, what he/she is looking for. This is the primary driver for the pair-up to work well, so it’s incredibly important to get it right.
  2. After that, we will have a 5 minute break, followed by optional 1 minute pitches by co-founders looking to join a startup. They can use it to have the founders want to meet them specifically.
  3. During that time, we will have a shared google doc that people could register to meet each other. I believe that at least some of the people presenting a venture would want to join a different one. Don’t be shy – you are there to find a co-founder, don’t hang to your idea.
  4. Using the doc we will set up a full hour comprised of 5 minute 1:1′s for people to get together, a’la speed dating style. We will add some random factor as well to get people outside of their comfort zone.

I suggest no powerpointing for the 2 minutes, but if you do… Need to come earlier to load everything to a single machine. Choice of hebrew/english is yours.


  1. Arie Shpanya


    Speed dating style sounds cool and effective way.
    Might be good idea to update the meetup on Bizzabo for better networking and getting profile of each person participating (if anyone wants to learn prior to meetup for who is attending).

  2. shlomi yaakov


    for the concept pitcher I would add-
    1) where he is based/plan to base the venture
    2) competitors
    3) business model

  3. eden


    Shlomi, good thinking re: where is the venture based. I think that bizmodel/competitors will be too much for 2 minutes. If the concept appeals to a co-founder, he can probably google for competitors & actually have a new idea for a business model.

  4. eden


    Agreed. I will ping the Bizzabo fellas.

  5. Arik


    It’s a good idea to have those that are looking to join a start-up pitch themselves, too. Will make pairing easier.

  6. Tal


    Perhaps it’s worth sharing participants’ bios/portfolios/LinkedIn URLs/FB within the group in advance? Might take away from the “speed dating” groove but could be useful in preparation for the even.
    Just my $0.02

  7. Uri Haramati


    1. We can show a 2:00 min’ timer. That could make it fun and fluent (or at list appoint a threatening timekeeper).
    2. Agree with Tal regarding sharing bios in advance – the easiest way will be a list of names (and we will do the digging), one step forward is collecting LinkedIn url’s.

  8. eden


    2:00 min timer, check.

    Bizzabo folks added the event. You (and all others) can RSVP there and included their linkedin profile. Try it!

  9. Yuval Sapir


    Minor question: How do we get from a Google doc with meeting request to a schedule? building a timetable is an NP-complete problem…

  10. eden



    shared doc with each of the 30 being a column, and people add themselves to rows, each row being a time allocation. so in effect we crowdsource the fitting problem.

  11. Yuval Sapir


    a. thank you. I consider this a compliment :-)
    b. let’s say I want to meet Mr. X at the first time slot. so I put my name under his column in the first row. Now Mis Y wants to meet with me, so she puts her name under my column at the first row. What do I do?

  12. eden


    It’s a mostly uni-directional meeting setting (co-founder looking for an idea to join), so it’s a possible yet less likely scenario.

    Alternative suggestion?

  13. Yuval Sapir


    [for some reason I can't reply to your reply...]
    We can build a sophisticated algorithm that will take all meeting requests and create a schedule.
    Or we can agree that you take extra care if you’ve pitched an idea and you’re trying to meet someone else who pitched an idea, but that’s less fun

  14. eden


    Did you just volunteer to write that algorithm? Great to have you on board!

  15. Yuval Sapir


    sure thing. when do you need it?

  16. eden


    by monday :)

  17. Shahar Zrihen


    I think that a biz model is too much for 2 minutes but it would be important to mention that you have/don’t have one.
    as a technical founder, I would be much more inclined to join someone with a good biz model over someone who is just swinging it.

    When the concept pitchers are done, I think that a lot of the “lonely” co-founders will try to approach the startup they want to join and I’m not sure how the 1-min intro’s will work in that scenario.
    I would suggest giving people stickers/ID tags with color coding (reds are techies, blue are biz-devs, black are legal etc) and letting people mingle will do the trick and they can reschedule whenever they like if they want a 1-on-1.

    btw – are spectators allowed? I’m intrigued to see whats out there but I didn’t want to take a space of a co-founder in need.

  18. eden


    Shahar –

    I do think there should be 1:1′s as otherwise people won’t come out feeling “they got shit done”. The stickers are an interesting idea.

    Sadly, no spectators. It’s going to be a tight event as it is :)


  19. Ilan


    get all the chairs/tables out
    create a huge Twister floor
    colors are for: tech, biz, product, investors
    spin the dial every 2 minutes, so people will have to switch
    then: ” investors to yellow ,,,, tech to green “, etc

    graphics to follow …

  20. alainrevah


    In terms of startups, do people define themselves by their domain expertise first? So it would be useful for people to know ahead of time if the pitch is about payments, ecommerce, enterprise software, etc. Now this assumes the founders are experienced naturally… This way seekers are informed of the domain ahead of the meet, can look up participants and perhaps even request meeting slots the day before?

    @yuval: so if Mark Zuckerberg shows up at the PairUp looking for a co-founder and his schedule (column + rows) are full, then what does the algorithm say? :)

  21. alainrevah


    If people define their interest by domain expertise I suggest arranging the schedule that way. Either startups by domain as in payment, ecommerce, enterprise software, security, mobile etc or by skills sought: technical, business/management, marketing etc.

    This way people only listen to pitches they want to listen to and PairUp with people who are seeking their skillset. Is it the case that most business/management founders are seeking technical founders and vice versa?
    If so you could have another format whereby business people pitch their idea to technical people in the hope they’d be interested in building it. Just my 2 cents of a Euro :)

    @Yuval: say Mark Zuckerberg comes to PairUp night and his schedule (column + rows) is full. If he wants to meet you, what does the algorithm recommends then?

Add a Comment