My leg was shaking. Well over 600 people crammed in, waiting to be wowed. Demo Day is a big deal at University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. The crowd was slowly being warmed up by the Lab's previous success stories. The bench had been set. Expectations ran high. I was selected to be the first demo on stage. Was I prepared?
The night before had been a big showcase at MaRS - Studio [Y] Fellows were graduating to the alumni roster. A few hundred gathered. Friends, family, and the MaRS community came out to support the accomplishments of this nascent program. The room was warm and welcoming. Dimly lit, a living room atmosphere was set by Keaton Evans - photographs of travels to northern communitities hung from the walls, throw rugs, pillows, chairs, and musical instruments lay about. People told stories and songs were sang. It was as warm and welcoming as it gets.
Back to Demo Day. The bright lighting exposed my every insecurity as the huge crowd hushed as I took to the stage. I was so happy to have the practice from the previous night. Control my breathing, minimize the gravity of the situation ('it will all be fine! people do this every day, this aint the first time and it won't be the last!') look for a familiar face in the crowd... none. My mum and team mate Graham were hidden somewhere in the sea. 600 people may not seem lie that many, but when they are all looking at you for entertainment, they have the tendency to grow in weight and measure.
I made it through my pitch unscathed, though unintentionally I omitted the intriguing stat that our suits could cool surfaces 3X faster than those worn by NASA astronauts to keep cool in space. Oh well. There is always next time. I hope for Loonskin Labs that we make it into the Creative Destruction Lab - they are the gold standard in Canadian accelerators, and it would be an honor to join the ranks of OTI Lumionics, Thalmic, and Nymi.
We were lucky enough to be featured in an article on Betakit after the event.