STARTUP INSIDER: Six Questions For MooresCloud's Mark Pesce

When you’re starting a new business, the elevator pitch is key. This week, we’re talking with futurist Mark Pesce about his latest project, MooresCloud

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

MooresCloud designs, develops and manufactures hardware, apps and services that make devices emotional, intelligent, and interactive. With the launch of Light by MooresCloud in October 2012, we are pioneering the design of beautiful, intelligent, connected light — to reflect mood, set the scene, or indicate an event.

Over the next decade all lighting will be replaced with vastly more efficient LED lighting; a fair portion of that lighting will be full-spectrum colour capable. MooresCloud is creating that lighting, and developing the app and service ecosystem that connects these new lights to intelligence.

On 28 May, MooresCloud will be carving out its own corner of the ‘Internet of Things’ with a product that brings a bit of delight into the world.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We used a mixture of crowdfunding, for the Light by MooresCloud, and seed investment, for our forthcoming product. We’re just finishing our seed round at the moment.

During the launch the Light by MooresCloud, we raised pledges of nearly $300,000 on Kickstarter. That’s a tidy sum, but it wasn’t any easier to raise that amount on Kickstarter than if we’d gone to investors to ask for the same amount. Even so, Kickstarter gave us tremendous exposure. People all over the world now know about MooresCloud. We got a global marketing campaign at nearly no cost.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about seeking or managing finance?

An investor does not live inside your head. They want to understand what you’re doing, but need plenty of help from you. Your first responsibility to an investor is to articulate your business model clearly. Once that’s done, whether someone agrees to finance you says more about them than it does you. Their decision reflects their experience and their risk profile.

How often do you revise your elevator pitch and what do you consider when doing it?

We’re still a new business, so our elevator pitch is constantly being transformed and refined, as we develop new products, or find new ways to explain our business. We knew we had a hit on our hands with our forthcoming product when we no longer had to explain what the product does in the pitch. It’s self-evident — and everyone who hears about it wants one!

What differences do your mentors make to you?

MooresCloud has been blessed with a range of mentors who have helped us through every stage of the business. Our business plan and pitch deck owe a lot to their input — they continuously encourage us to be clearer, more specific, and focused.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

“Make sure that everyone around you is smarter than you.” That came from my boss, Frank Slaughter, the co-founder of Shiva Corporation, which became a very successful technology startup.

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