Catching up with past Velocity Fund Finals $25K winner, Okey

Four months ago, Velocity hosted the Winter 2016 Velocity Fund Finals (VFF). We had the chance to catch up with Tobias Gu, Co-founder of Okey, another one of our $25K winning companies, for a post-VFF update. Stay tuned for upcoming articles from the final two winners, Pegasus Aeronautics and Landmine Boys.

Okey won $25K with their mobile application that replaces passwords with a user’s physical presence. Thanks to Okey’s wearable technology, users can log into devices and websites automatically by being nearby, making passwords secure and convenient.

1. How has your company developed since winning VFF?
We’ve refined and ironed out most of our bugs, added a ton of features requested by our users, as well as successfully developed our Android app and ended our private beta in preparation for our public beta launch. In addition, Okey has won two other competitions and attracted significant attention from various investors. Exciting times are ahead!

2. What is your company currently working on?
On the back end, our website integration is moving at full speed while we’re experimenting with different growth strategies as we gear up for our public beta launch. New growth experiments are being run every day to determine which one has the greatest conversion rate and returns the best metrics.

3. What do you enjoy most about building a startup?
Making a difference – without constraints. We all have immense potential to change (aka D I S R U P T) the way we interact with the world around us, yet most of us feel like we’re bound by rules placed upon us by people we’ve never met. Building a startup is about being truly free from the conventional lifestyle and seizing opportunities that others forgo.

4. What did you like most about competing at VFF?
It was the first major event that I competed in and won. Though we had beta users and validated our product, winning VFF was a true vote of confidence from experienced people, which pushed us to continue building an excellent product.

5. Are there any tips you can give startups pitching at VFF?

a) K.I.S.S – Keep it stupid simple. It should be so simple that a 5 year old could understand what you’re doing. It should be so crystal clear that people immediately pick up on the problem and value proposition.

b) Structure – After you hit a single point, make sure it’s hammered into the audience’s head. Then move on. Don’t blabber on. You can summarize at the end.

c) It’s all in your head – Don’t let distractions hinder your pitch. I was so focused before our pitch that I refused to sit in the audience or watch any other companies pitch (sorry guys if you’re reading this). Instead, I went around and talked to random people to get myself in a talkative state. I knew what I needed to do and what mindset I needed to be in – you should too.

6. Any other pitching lessons you would like to share?
Plan out a proper business. Sales is not everything and pitching is not everything either. I’ve been a sales guy for the better part of my life and my last two ventures (before pivoting to Okey’s Mobile App) won a grand total of 0 pitch competitions. I had literally not won a single event since changing ideas to what Okey currently is. Failing a pitch isn’t necessarily because you suck at pitching, it might be an indication that your business isn’t working, and you should focus on that.

On July 21, twenty startups will compete at the Velocity Fund Finals in the Student Life Centre at the University of Waterloo to pitch for their share of $125,000. Don’t miss this event by registering to attend! Come join us for a great event with awesome pitches and free boxed lunches for the first 200 attendees. Audience members and those watching the Livestream will have a chance to win 1 of 5 GoPros!

The Spring 2016 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson Reuters and Rockshield Capital.