He may not have been the most polished, and he definitely was not the most experienced, but 17-year-old Harry Johnson just had the best audience engagement of all the pitches at Sydstart today.
Up on the stage, with no slides, holding the microphone in one hand and mobile phone in the other, Johnson starts his pitch.
There are a few nerves in his voice but more enthusiasm all the pitches before him, he springs into his vision of an app that will “help parents follow their kids and their elderly ones”.
While he doesn’t mean to do it, people start to giggle. Not at him, but because they are enjoying his presentation.
He explains his startup idea, Shredle. While still in early development, the location-tracking application will allow mobile users to send a text to someone with the word “WRU” and in reply that receiver’s location is sent back to them.
Borrowing one of the world’s greatest orations, he begins: “I have a dream to one day walk into Telstra and have my app already built into mobiles.
“It will be so easy that you don’t need to be a tech-head to use it”.
He says he is currently talking to Optus, Telstra and T-mobile in the States.
Then he goes in for the kill.
“But I really need help with the money.” People laugh at his bluntness. He presses on.
“I have the determination.” The crowd laughs more. “I am really determined,” he says, explaining that he’s been studying app development for four years.
Hook, line and sinker.
Johnson’s choice of words may seem naive and direct, but among the hundreds of pitches the judges will hear during the two-day event, its simplicity cuts through.
He knew what he needed and he asked for it.
The one takeaway from young Harry Johnson if you’re a young entrepreneur touting an idea is that passion paired with honesty is perfect pitch.
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