Storytelling confidence helps take Appy Parking from scrappy start-up to award-winning business success.
The story begins
Back in 2014, entrepreneur Dan Hubert had a plan to disrupt the parking industry. He wanted to create an app that would make it easy to get real-time info about where you could park in a city, whether there were actually any spaces available, exactly how much it would cost, etc. He figured this would not only be useful for drivers, but could also positively impact whole cities by keeping the roads from clogging up as people searched endlessly for parking.
So he and his co-founder started on the Microsoft Ventures accelerator programme, where Amplify was doing the pitch-prep coaching, with a pretty modest goal – win just enough funding to get the app made and test it.
It soon became clear that although Dan was passionate and engaging in face-to-face conversations about the company, he wasn’t anywhere near as comfortable on stage in front of a bigger crowd. He was much quieter, tending to replace enthusiasm with jargon and shy away from sounding too invested. He was so busy trying to portray the business objectively that his presentation had no personal pull for people, no power.
So in our 1-1 sessions we focused on going through the pitch line by line, reworking things with him until every sentence felt like something he’d say about the business in a face-to-face chat. We kept recording and playing back each iteration, so he could see how his style was changing, and he was amazed and encouraged by the improvements he saw.
Finally it was time for the real test – his Demo Day pitch in front of 500 potential investors. And wow did he nail it! In the space of just a week he went from sounding like he was being forced to read out a script he’d never seen before to a focused, inspiring storyteller, not just owning the stage but actually enjoying using it to persuade people of the potential of Appy Parking.
Since then Dan’s used his newfound public-speaking confidence to raise more than £10 million, growing the business to 35 employees and revolutionising parking in hundreds of cities across the UK.
Plus Appy Parking has been recognised as the Best UK Start-Up by Credit Suisse, awarded the Auto Express Best Parking App, and won the Smarter Travel Innovation Award. They’ve also been ranked 15th on the Disrupt 100 list, curated by the world’s leading entrepreneurs and business investors to celebrate companies with the most potential to influence or create new global markets.
“Public speaking was never on my agenda, but I soon realised that presenting my story to investors and being on stage was an essential part of my business. Amplify’s amazing knack of filling people with stage presence and energy allowed me to stand up and engage a crowd of 500 investors! I now take these skills with me everywhere I go.”
Dan Hubert, Founder of Appy Parking