Adyen takes Pivot to Amsterdam
Mid-June saw Pivot's founder & CEO, Alice, and Head of Operations, Sabella, head to Amsterdam to take part in Adyen's Accelerator Programme.
Adyen is a contactless payment provider - a FinTech super start-up, who kindly invited us along with 9 other incredible social enterprises and impact start-ups for a week of in-depth business training. For 5 days, our team was led by industry experts and a pair of extraordinary mentors who truly supported and taught us so much.
Our week was absolutely jam-packed. Adyen created a tight schedule for the week; Formula Monday, Growth Tuesday, Marketing Wednesday, Commercial Thursday & Pitch Friday.
On Formula Monday, we spent our time learning about their vision, business strategy and their own curated formula for their work culture. It encouraged us to look at what our own purpose is at Pivot, and question if we’re being as efficient as we can in achieving it.
We were guided through some fun icebreakers with our fellow ‘acceleratees’, one of which involved having a piece of paper pinned to everyone’s backs, and then having to find your pair (example: cheese & pickle). Guess who the cheese was.
We met with our designated Adyen mentors for the week, Jonathan and Laura, and realised we’d lucked out with the two biggest legends possible. Their purpose was to support us over the next few days in the lead up to our big pitch on Friday. We filled them in on our social mission, our internal systems and who does what within the Pivot team. They gave us lots of homework (not so legendary, but clearly necessary) and sent us away with a lot to think about!
After our busy first day, we were taken out to a lovely local bar by the Adyen crew where we had beers and nibbles by a canal at sunset! We found ourselves already falling in love with Amsterdam.
Growth Tuesday saw the financial talks. We explored how to create financial partnerships, how to formulate recurring income streams, and had an excellent presentation by Valentina Milanova, founder of sustainable CBD tampon company, Daye, about investment planning for the future. We were guided on how to build a practical toolkit to enable our business to be as future-proof as possible, all the while navigating questions surrounding international expansion, growth through fundraising and preparing ourselves for potential fast-paced growth.
A lot to get our teeth into!
On Marketing Wednesday, we were presented to by a handful of incredible entrepreneurs who told their stories of how their reimagined marketing campaigns changed the game. We tuned into Adyen’s in-house storytelling team who guided us on how to share our social mission with the world, and how to best share our Maker’s stories and experiences. How can our customer audience, many of whom have never experienced homelessness, relate to this? How can we simplify our offering? Tough questions, but it gave us a lot of food for thought moving forward.
Our Wednesday evening activity was a dreamy sunset boat-party along the Amstel river with all of the accelerator attendees and the Adyen team. A seriously beautiful way of exploring and experiencing Amsterdam. We docked up by the famous restaurant/bar, Hannekes Boom where we continued the good chats and the canalside boat watching.
In all honesty, Commercial Thursday was beautiful chaos. The day started with a phenomenal talk and workshop from a TED X speech trainer. She spoke to us about the human brain in how it takes in information, and techniques in how to fully engage the audience. How can we tell our story whilst equipping our customer base to retell our story word-of-mouth? Some of the in-house Adyen team then taught us how to identify our USP’s by looking at what societal problems we were trying to solve.
In the afternoon, we worked closely with Joost van Roijen who supported us in building our sales message along with our mentors, Jonathan and Laura. We spent the afternoon unpacking our social mission, our core beliefs, and trying to see if we were holding on to any belief systems that were holding us back in fulfilling our full potential. Focussing so hard for so long, we found ourselves in a bout of some hilarious hysteria - a lot of room pacing, joyful shouting and applauding one another on moving through some tough cookies we never thought we’d crack.
After a few hours of creative mayhem, we practised our prepared pitch to a selected few who gave us supportive feedback and constructive criticism to move forward with.
To celebrate our hard day of work, our wonderful mentors took us out to an incredible local restaurant where we dined and chatted about the intense day’s events! There was a lot of pep-talking in preparation for the next day, and we made sure to get an early night before our big pitch.
THE BIG DAY
The week led up to Pitch Friday. The day started with setting up a pop-up stall with all of the other accelerator attendees in the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal (the place is huge - you can see in the below pics!) as part of Adyen’s Impact Fair. We were able to showcase our products and the work we’ve done so far in empowering people experiencing homelessness back in the UK, as well as being able to sell some of our pieces of jewellery.
The afternoon saw each social enterprise take to the stage one by one and pitch to an invite-only audience of Adyen board members, impact-focused investors and Adyenners (to put it bluntly; 300 people including a panel of judges - eek!).
We did our 3 minutes of pitching, and another 4 minutes of questions from the panel.
Relieved that we got the tough bit out of the way, we eagerly waited for the announcement of the winner over a few beers and sunset chats with everyone we spent the week with. 5pm came, a smaller stage ready and a shiny trophy ready to be taken home.
It still feels mad to say it, but Pivot was selected as the winner!
Celebrations were had with a dinner reception and much needed celebratory drinks on the glorious balcony overlooking Amsterdam.
We’ve come away from the week feeling excited for the next stages of our little social enterprise and the growing impact we are going to have. We couldn’t be more grateful for such an insightful and energising week. We loved learning from the other start-up social entrepreneurs and got to know them all so well in such a relatively short space of time. It was a true pleasure!
Thank you to Adyen and to our fellow acceleratees for one of the most incredible weeks.
Let’s see where Adyen’s continued supports takes Pivot in the coming months and years!