How to Get Selected as a Pioneer?
Shared by tatianarice · 8d ago · 16 comments

Hey all! I'm wondering if anyone has any insight or perspective on how to get selected as a Pioneer, or conversely, what to avoid? I've been on Pioneer for almost a year, on the global top 50 for the better half of 6 months, and routinely rejected to be selected. There must be something I'm missing or not demonstrating sufficiently? I've already read the Roboflow blog, so any other insights are welcome, thanks!

luiz@bipa · 3d ago

This is something I would also like to know. It seems that it goes in the way of what Andrew is saying, Pioneer is a startup accelerator (like YC) and they will select projects based on their own biases and experiences. If you are solving a problem that they have identified in the past and can relate to, are demonstrating progress, and showing traction. You have a much higher chance than all the others.

I have been playing Pioneer for over a year and spent most of 2021 on the top 50, have gotten 4 or 5 negative "Pioneer results" even though we went from 80 verified users to +3k in 2021 alone, have grown our revenue from around 100 USD to 5k p/ month, shipped a native Android app by myself and many other improvements. Now, I only use Pioneer as a way to keep track of our goals and what we have to ship/build for the next week, but I don't even bother voting anymore. The lack of feedback has made me think my company and product will hardly fit their model, so I would rather spend 1 hour of my Monday doing customer service, coding, operational work, something that will actually push my company forward.

Pioneer is just a biased accelerator, like any other. I think it may actually be bad for some people to spend a lot of time early-on on Pioneer, most people won't understand your project on Pioneer and you will get all sorts of different feedbacks that don't really translate to your vision, it is easy to listen to some feedbacks and think they must know what they are talking about, but in reality, you know better than all of them, so just go and build whatever you have to build, ship it to real customers and only listen to them and people that also understand really well what you are doing, avoid all the noise, and most of Pioneer is just noise.

The world is a very big place and all of Pioneer experts who select projects live in a very small part of it (They all seem to be from or live in the US), they are very likely to have no idea if your project makes sense or not.

AndyDent-Touchgram · 1d ago

in reality, you know better than all of them

That's a response that always worries me.

My perspective on Pioneer is that some of the advice will be wrong but to always look at what perception of the product led to that advice?

luiz@bipa · 1d ago

That's right, and if you look from the other person's perspective, a lot of times you will find that for this matter (related to your project), you may know more than they do. Early-stage projects are mostly about: solving a real problem, believing in yourself, getting things done, and being humble enough to listen to real users and experts in the field.

My point is that you shouldn't get demotivated because Pioneer does not select you or if the feedback people give here are not very nice or helpful. The only feedbacks that really matter early on are from your users and from people that understand really well what you are doing.

sonerhaci · 8d ago

I totally agree with Andrew, TBH I don't care to be selected ( I also have been rejected 6 times, I think they send autoresponse for the rejections and don't look really into it ) but I am here more for the community and the feedbacks which are much more important for us.
I am more focused on getting feedbacks and giving feedbacks

tatianarice · 6d ago

I think this is definitely valid, I strongly value the feedback and goal-setting aspect of Pioneer but the rejections can also get tiring and make you doubt yourself and your project.

andrew-miit.co · 8d ago

Same here also. We've just been knocked back after our 10th review, and have been as high as 8th (got back to 15th this week) and in the top 50 for 40 weeks straight.

My feeling is that like any other VC there's some verticals or revenue models that don't fit the Pioneer investment thesis and so may not be selected regardless. We're pre-revenue and need to hit a certain scale before we can monetize so my guess is we fit in that bucket. This doesn't really matter to me personally as I find the Pioneer community incredibly valuable for improving Miit and my own skill as a founder so I treat it like going to the 'gym for startups'.

One thing that does frustrate me a little is the lack of feedback. I can't speak for others experience (I think some have received comments) but we've not received a single piece of feedback from any of the 10 expert reviews which would be really helpful insights into how VC's view our startup.

Overall though I can't complain. Pioneer offer a unique and beneficial service so they're within their rights to do as they please.

You can see our project description and video here: https://www.notion.so/miit/Pioneer-Description-9f4e358e11bf4b2d8a5d5fd7547a8c50

zainzaidi · 3d ago

I agree andrew. I think after spending countless hours on here per week we could at least get some actual feedback instead of a generic rejection email

andrew-miit.co · 3d ago

Unless of course that feedback is "we're just not into your vertical/model (and therefore likely will never be selected)" which would cause people to bounce. So I get it.

tatianarice · 6d ago

This is really useful to know I'm not alone. I definitely agree, the reason I continue to use the platform is because it is a really valuable way to stay on track of goals and get great feedback, but also getting consistent rejection without feedback can definitely make me doubt myself and my progress. Thanks for sharing your description and experience!

AndyDent-Touchgram · 8d ago

I'm in a similar position, currently at a personal best of 36 overall. I'm pretty sure the long delays in getting the new version on the store and lack of traction stops me being selected. I've not updated our website either waiting to finish the new version.

Our website in particular is something that weekly reviewers have commented on - look at your feedback and pull together a list of action points.

I haven't reviewed you since early December so have no idea of progress but (I think) Pioneer is a lot like other VC firms - they are looking for potential to scale dramatically given more resources. For marketplaces, that may be hard to prove and part of it is probably about proving you have a tech stack and approach that can be automated, rather than requiring lots of hands-on work.

Klog · 4d ago

How's traction, out of curiosity?

ptmn · 7d ago

I also have no idea. Might you want to start a blog and share your story. I find it super helpful to connect with strangers. Good luck!

braddwyer · 8d ago

Could we see your project description & video?

tatianarice · 6d ago

Here's the link: t.ly/JNqB. Would love your feedback, Brad. You should be able to comment directly on the Google page.

braddwyer · 6d ago

This looks pretty good to me; clear and succinct.

Gabi · 8d ago

ditto