14. On-Stage


Who doesn’t dream of giving a TED Talk?

The Fledge program ends with on-stage talks by each of the fledglings, followed by a few hours of networking between the fledglings and the crowd.

This event is one area where Fledge drastically differs from TechStars, from The Unreasonable Institute, Village Capital, and other accelerators. Rather than delivering the standard investor pitch, the fledglings are encouraged to tell a great TED-worthy story, to share their visions, their hopes, their dreams, as well as their plans.

The reasoning is that of the 120-200 member audience, typically only 20-30 are investors. Most of the audience are mentors, friends and family, and other supporters. The audience are far more likely to be potential customers than investors.

In addition, the presentations are professionally videoed, posted on the Fledge YouTube channel, reusable by the companies in their marketing, on their web site, etc. These videos are highlighted within the Fledge web site, viewed thousands of times annually.

In the U.S. investor pitches cannot be publically posted. That is considered “solicitation” by the SEC and not allowed by private companies out seeking funding.

Thus, given most of the audience in the room, and watching online are more likely customers than investors, it makes sense to use the on-stage opportunity as marketing. Investors who watch these presentations can get excited and follow-up for a personally delivered investor pitch.

An Entertaining Event

This final event of the program is not just a series of presentations. The event includes hours of networking. It is a showcase of not only the fledglings, but also of the value Fledge provides to these companies.

To maximize the enjoyment of the audience, this event is structured and formatted as an evening of entertainment. The Managing Director sets the tone on-stage by delivering a TED-like talk, educating the audience about some aspect of conscious companies. Each team then presents for no more than six minutes. Teams are encouraged to include videos within their time slots, to increase the level of entertainment and emotional intensity.

Details such as the flow between presenters is carefully thought through and organized ahead of time. Like a professional theater event, there are a minimum of awkward silences in these handoffs.

No outside guests are invited to speak. The event is focused on the fledglings, literally putting them up on a pedestal to show them off to the world.


Follow-up surveys are sent to all attendees, gathering feedback on the venue, timing, caterer, etc. Most importantly, the attendees are given a list of the fledglings, and asked which companies they would like more information, and which they are potentially interested in investing.

This information is passed on to the team days after the event for follow-up conversations.

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