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Tenity’s Demo Days: What do they entail?

March 8, 2024

Kaan Akin

Kaan Akin serves as the Chief Commercial Officer at Tenity, where he and his team steer a $110 million fund to advance global fintech and insurtech sectors. His expertise in corporate innovation has established him as a key strategist, working with over 40 corporate clients to enhance their open innovation strategies.

Tenity’s Demo Days: What do they entail?

A Demo Day is an event where startups pitch and demo their products. They’re an opportunity for startups to showcase their ideas and raise investment and for corporates to learn more about the startup space.

At these events, investors identify opportunities to invest, while corporates can get inspired or find partnership opportunities. We find these events are particularly useful for corporates in the midst of their innovation journey and want to learn more about how to collaborate with startups and get inspired or connect with like-minded people. 

At Tenity, we run our Demo Days at the end of our incubators, which we hold twice a year in each hub. Demo Days are also a key part of the custom startup accelerators that we run for our corporate clients. 

I’ve personally worked in innovation for many years at UBS, founded my own startup and have worked with corporates and startups on innovation at Tenity. Now, I’m Head of Europe at Tenity, where I regularly host our Demo Days in Switzerland. In this article, I want to share more details about what happens during a Tenity Demo Day, the benefits of attending, and why they’re so important. 

I’ll cover: 

Want to attend a Demo Day yourself? Reach out to us or check the event page to attend the next one!

What happens during a Tenity Demo Day?

A Demo Day is a day where startups involved in an accelerator programme share and celebrate what they’ve been working on. They take place at the end of the programme, which typically lasts between eight weeks and six months. 

tenity demo day

At Tenity, we run our own fintech-specific incubator programmes, as well as custom accelerators for corporates such as UBS and Julius Baer. These can involve between six and 15 startups, who all pitch their innovative fintech products.

So, how do these Demo Days work in practice?

An important part of Tenity’s Demo Days is the location. We try to make this as inspirational as possible. For instance, in the past, we’ve held these events at the Google offices in Zurich and in the UBS conference centre. 

While many accelerator programmes are reluctant to hold Demo Days in-person, it’s something we prioritize at Tenity. Face-to-face interactions are really important for networking and being there in person makes the event feel much more special. 

To kick off the day, the host (whether that’s Google, UBS, or someone else) will deliver some introductory remarks, and then we’ll introduce ourselves at Tenity. After that, we start with the startups’ presentations. 

Typically, startups have three minutes each to make their pitch. During Tenity’s incubator programmes, the startups have been taught how to improve their pitch—something that investors and corporates say is really valuable. This makes it easier for the audience, but it’s a valuable skill for the startups generally too as they continue their fundraising journey. 

Watching too many pitches in quick succession can be tiring, which is why we usually break up the program with a keynote speech, a fireside chat, or a panel discussion. These sessions may include someone from Tenity, a successful founder, a VC or someone else we feel would bring insights or inspiration. 

Then, after the pitches, attendees will have time for networking. This is another feature that sets Tenity’s Demo Days apart. We put as much emphasis on networking as possible. Often each startup has a stall or table where the interested investors can easily find them to ask questions, schedule a meeting or discuss any details.

Finally, the event ends with drinks and food as well as networking! You can see one of our Swiss Demo Days from November 2023 live here: Switzerland Incubation XI Demo Day.

What are the benefits of attending a Tenity Demo Day as a corporate?

Tenity’s Demo Days are unique, because:

  • They’re always in-person
  • They’re entirely focused on fintech and adjacent verticals including insurtech and proptech
  • There’s lots of opportunity for networking
  • They’re not attended just by VCs, but by many of the corporates in our ecosystem. 

This has obvious benefits for the startups pitching for funding. But what are the reasons to join as a corporate? Typically, we identify three main benefits. 

1. Corporates can learn about startups, trends, and more

One of the most important benefits of a Tenity Demo Day is that it’s a great opportunity for corporates to learn about what’s happening in the industry. 

Firstly, they’ll learn through exposure to the startups’ pitches themselves. Corporates can see what problems they’re solving, the challenges they face, and the technologies that they’re leveraging, innovating, and making available. 

Corporates can also learn about the industry through the other parts of our Demo Days too. For instance, they can hear experts speak at fireside chats or keynote speeches, on topics such as industry and technology trends, the details of solving problems, founding businesses, or collaborating with startups. 

Demo Days are a great opportunity for corporates to remove their blinkers and get a wider understanding of the industry. 

2. Corporates can connect with startups, peers, and talent 

Tenity’s Demo Days are also an opportunity for corporates to meet new people and build new connections. 

We don’t believe that innovation happens in a vacuum. Successful innovation requires external support, expertise, and talent—and Demo Days are fantastic places to find that. Investors, mentors, and startups are all there, and you’ll get exposure to that as a corporate. 

Similarly, as a corporate, Demo Days are an opportunity for you to connect with your peers in other large companies, not just startups. We’ve had innovation managers from large banks discuss partnerships and innovation ideas with other large wealth management companies. They’re also a great opportunity for recruitment.

Ultimately, this is the benefit of fintech-specific Demo Days. You know that everyone who attends will have something relevant to offer in your specific industry. 

If the Demo Day is taking place at the end of a custom startup accelerator, there are additional benefits. For instance, it’s a great opportunity to select the attendees and showcase what you’ve been working on as well as your leadership credentials in the field. The startups will typically have more time to go in-depth into their product, and it’s a brilliant chance to have deeper discussions. 

3. Corporates can find inspiration 

The beauty of a Tenity Demo Day is that you never know exactly what you’re going to find. They’re serendipitous events and can present opportunities that may lead to something really fruitful. 

In this way, as I regularly say to corporates, our Demo Days are about giving luck a chance. It’s a bit like finding your life partner—you can’t expect to find them if you sit at home (well, with Tinder you do, but lets think old-school here). Instead, to find a business opportunity, you need to go out and discover it. 

Exposure to relevant people and content is invaluable in this respect. You never know how it could spark an idea or give you a broader vision. 

That’s one of the reasons why we value  in-person events. Demo Days are for more than just about startups pitching. They’re about bringing the industry together, to create sparks and explore relationships. 

The role of Demo Days in Tenity’s accelerator and incubator programmes

Our Demo Days are also an essential part of our accelerator programmes, both our own incubators and the accelerators we run on behalf of corporates. It’s the culmination of the entire programme, when startups can publicise their products and the work they’ve been doing over the past few months.

In our own incubators, the Demo Day is the moment when startups can get in front of investors and corporates (except when the events are internal only and closed to other corporates). These events let corporates identify those startups that could solve a problem for them. 

They also provide opportunities for investors, who can either invest directly into these startups, or invest through our VC fund—to reduce risk and access potentially higher returns. In our incubators in specific countries (Nordics, Switzerland, and Singapore), every startup that finishes the accelerator gets a €50k cheque in exchange for a 2.5% equity stake.

Custom accelerators work a little differently since they are specific to the corporate we’re running for them. Instead, a corporate gets exclusive access to the startups, who will have been selected to attend the accelerator by Tenity for their relevance to the corporate’s interests. 

In custom accelerators, there’ll usually be a smaller cohort too. It allows more time for each startup to pitch and for the corporate to get to know and understand the startup. Plus, this gives space for other invited leaders to contribute, inspire, and help shape relationships. 

At Tenity, we see ourselves primarily as matchmakers within the fintech industry. That means that irrespective of the type of Demo Day we host, we put a lot of effort into facilitating collaboration. Plus, it means that everyone is guaranteed highly specific fintech expertise. 

Examples of Tenity Demo Days

You can watch the entirety of our Demo Day at UBS or Google in 2023 below. This was the tenth and eleventh cohort of Tenity’s own fintech incubator in Switzerland. 

Incubation Program Batch X | Demo Day

In December 2023, Tenity also ran the Keyrock Accelerator event in Brussels. Keyrock is a leading digital asset market maker (and a past graduate of Tenity’s own programme in 2020), which launched a custom accelerator programme powered by Tenity. 

For this accelerator, Keyrock was interested in working with Web 3 native and fintech startups that were active in the digital asset space. Keyrock with support of Tenity selected eight startups and Tenity guided them through the four-month accelerator.

The Demo Day itself marked the graduation of the startups from Keyrock’s accelerator programme, while inaugurating the corporate’s new office in the city. 

“At Keyrock, we are committed to increasing the utility of digital assets for end users. We believe that supporting startups at the early stages of their development is crucial to maximizing their chances of success,” said Kevin de Patoul, CEO & Co-Founder of Keyrock. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Tenity and put Brussels at the center of digital asset innovation, especially at a time when the EU is positioning itself as a leader with the MiCA framework.”

Join a Tenity Demo Day for fintech inspiration and opportunity

Tenity Demo Days are a fantastic opportunity for corporates to learn about, collaborate with, and ultimately invest in fintech startups that are working on relevant problems. 

Whether they round off a custom accelerator or Tenity’s own programme, they can provide corporates with the inspiration and knowledge they need to solve their innovation challenges.

If you’re interested in attending a Tenity Demo Day, reach out to us and see how it works for yourself, you never know what opportunities you might find.