Organizers Startup.Network and Hackt recently ran an event called the Intercontinental Startup Battle. This event lets top-tier Eastern European entrepreneurs showcase and pitch their startup ideas to investors in Silicon Valley. The goal of the Battle is for participants to compete against one another for the opportunity to secure venture capital investors. Held April 27, 2017 at the HACK Temple in San Francisco, the latest Intercontinental Startup Battle started with an expert panel discussion, followed by nine pitches, and ended with judging and winner selection. See the battle for yourself on YouTube.
Building the right audience
One of the Battle’s key goals, and something that attracts participation from talented entrepreneurs, is maximum venture capitalist (VC) exposure for the investment pitches. And while the expert panel of judges were obviously in attendance locally, not everyone interested in the event could attend in person.
For Julia Smila, Startup. Network’s Event Director, live streaming the event is an effortless and low-cost way to get exposure to VCs beyond the Bay region. The live stream also makes the event available to overseas employees and family members of the presenting entrepreneurs, something the participants really appreciate.
“The local and online audiences for our events are relatively similar, many of whom are VC market members.”
To bring the energy and exhilaration of the live battle to the web, the organizers wanted a streaming system that could give them multiple camera angles, good sound quality, and professional video quality. Pearl-2 fit the bill precisely, allowing the live stream to draw hundreds of viewers from around the world.
Startup.Network used Epiphan’s Pearl-2 to live stream the Startup Battle to YouTube and Facebook simultaneously. Streaming to both locations was the best way to reach a large group of interested parties. Not only were they able to share the links with their distribution lists prior to the event, but the audience-building mechanisms of these platforms also helped build a larger viewer base by advertising the feed.
The right tools make live streaming simple
HACK Temple, a repurposed former church, is a beautiful setting for any event, and was the perfect place to host this Startup Battle. The spacious, long main event area has four pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) Epiphan LUMiO 12x cameras installed. Two cameras are installed on the balcony at the rear of the facility, and another two near the front.
- A LUMiO 12x camera was positioned at stage right, for a view across the stage.
- A LUMiO 12x positioned high and a few feet behind the podium gave viewers a look at the audience.
- One balcony-installed LUMiO 12x was configured to provide a wide-angle view of the stage.
- The other balcony-level LUMiO 12x provided a stage front close-up.
Epiphan’s PTZ LUMiO 12x cameras have a 72.5° viewing angle, and remote control access to pan, tilt, and zoom. This gave the Startup Battle organizers full control of what they wanted to include by default in each shot, and the ability to change the shot during the event without needing to physically move the cameras.
A dynamic live show was created by connecting these four LUMiO 12x cameras, a split out from the presenter’s laptop, and output from the room’s sound panel to Pearl-2. This permitted a wide variety of layouts including picture in picture, multi-up, and full-screens – all sharing the main audio feed.
Startup.Network found the solution was easy to use and Pearl-2 was straightforward to tailor to their needs.
“Epiphan really seems to care about making their products easy-to-use. Pearl-2 really gave us a solid foundation for our live stream.”
Making the online audience feel as though they are there
Throughout the Startup Battle, an operator used Epiphan Live on a tablet to switch between the customized event layouts. The same operator also monitored audio for the live feed with headphones connected to Pearl-2.
With the event running for nearly three hours, having a variety of layouts to choose from was vital to keep the live stream focused and the audience engaged. Pearl-2 made it easy to show presenter slides clearly on screen during pitches, while showing other views, like a stage side view or audience reactions at other times.
Smila says Startup.Network and the Intercontinental Startup Battle have really benefited from the live stream, “Livestreaming has grown our interaction and reach with our target audience.” And the success isn’t just for Startup.Network, the Battle participants are also benefit from the live stream:
“We’ve had funding interest from experts who weren’t able to visit event in person, but watched the live stream.”
This live stream went so smoothly that Startup.Network already plans to use Pearl-2 to live stream their next battle from San Francisco on November 15, 2017.
Thank you Startup.Network and Hackt for sharing your live streaming success with us. We look forward to watching the next International Startup Battle!