Scott Annan on presenting at DEMO

Last month, Mercury Grove CEO Scott Annan took the company’s online customer relationship manager app Network Hippo down to California to present at DEMO.

Taking place out in the California desert, DEMO is one of the largest launch-pad conferences, providing start-ups with the opportunity to present their new product in front of the press and potential investors.

Speaking at DemoCamp Ottawa last night, Annan provided a behind-the-scenes look at the experience.

 The journey began when Anna submitted an application to the conference before leaving on vacation. This led to being contacted by DEMO producer and VentureBeat editor-in-chief Matt Marshall and eventually an e-mail informing him that Network Hippo had been accepted to present.

There is some controversy around presenting at demo. Specifically, the $18,500 fee presenters must pay to get on stage.

“We said, ‘we’re broke, we can present’,” said Annan.

Discussions began with the DEMO CFO about working out a deal to make the trip possible, but none of the offers were affordable to the start-up.

However, in these conversations, Annan would insist that Network Hippo’s presence would make the conference better.

Eventually, a workable deal was arranged, though Annan is not allowed to disclose the terms.

Having been confirmed as a presenter, Annan began to receive e-mails from the conference organizers on how to prepare. Included in the e-mails were instructions for the PR person, instructions for the head of operations and various other personnel who were in fact different hats Annan wore at the company.

“That’s me,” he said.

At the actual presentations, the crowd is smaller than would be expected for such a large conference, but the people themselves are influential.

“All the top writers, all the top investors, they’re there,” said Annan.

Standing on stage, the presenter is faced with a large clock counting down the six minute time limit for the presentation.

This would’ve been nerve racking, had Annan not spent so much time preparing.

“That screen could have fallen on me and I would have kept going,” he said.

The presentation garnered coverage on VentureBeat and other tech blogs.

Though, Annan said one the biggest thing he gained from the presentation was the preparation.

“You can pitch anybody, any time once you’ve prepared for that,” he said.

And Annan spent the rest of his time in California doing just that, pitching tech writers and landing an interview with TechCrunch.

“All of these people who write about start-ups need start-ups to survive,” he said.

Since then, Annan has been contacted by a few potential investors and business partners.

The video of Annan’s presentation is after the jump