McGill X-1 Weekly Recap Series | Week 4 (2017)


Welcome to Week 4 of the the McGill X-1 Accelerator, where we’ll be getting 8 McGill startups venture-ready for Demo Days in Montreal, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, and New York City in Fall of 2017.

This week’s focus was on customer profile development. Here are some of the highlights.

Simin Foster (course lecturer at McGill) came to talk about go-to-market strategies. The 2 C’s to know when going to market are Customer and Costs. In terms of customers, you need to help them solve a problem through eliminating a pain point or adding positive value to their lives. In terms of cost, you need to keep them down and compromise to maximize efficiency, and realize that cost is a general term: it can be money, time, or other forms of capital.

We also had 2 guests come in for 1 on 1s with some of the teams, including Andrea Coury, who founded Grandma Emily’s Granola, Soula Chronopoulos who’s the President of an e-learning platform called Ellicom, and Antoine Begin from BIOGENIQ.  

In this week’s “Grilled by a CEO”, Phil Cutler, CEO of GradeSlam (who we’ve interviewed by the way – click here) gave everybody advice on their pitches, here are some of the general takeaways:

  • Sell the benefit (the why – what can you help people accomplish?), not the features (the how) – it’s even better if you can quantify the benefits with metrics whether it’s in dollars saved or something else. Save the features for in-depth 1-on-1 meetings where each party will do their due diligence.
  • Another thing he mentioned was that you need to have an ask in the pitch. If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. You never know who’s in the room, and Phil’s experience has been that someone in the room may just have exactly what you’re asking for.
  • Brand your decks. People take pictures of pitches. If you have your logo on each slide, it ends up on the social media stream. Make it subtle, but it should be there.

Next, Veronique Beaulieu – Marketing & Communications Coordinator for the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill, gave a talk on on social media marketing.

  • She explained that social media has always existed, it used to be Sunday church – people gathered to socialize and gossip and spread messages. Now, we can harness its power with our fingertips.
  • In terms of practical advice, she mentioned you should always stay relevant when it comes to social media trends: for example, doing an ice bucket challenge in 2017 doesn’t really make sense, but it did back when it was popular.
  • She also gave us two websites to check out if you want to study good advertising, stay on top of social media trends, and stay ahead of the crowd: &

That’s all for now, we’ll see you back here for week 5.

Mo Akif

Mo Akif

The Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Dobson Chronicles. Never having started a lemonade stand as a child and tired of reading blog posts about entrepreneurship without actually doing anything, he was on the verge of giving up and joining a pyramid scheme. Luckily the McGill Dobson Centre decided to adopt him, allowing him to get a closer look at what it takes to build something valuable.