Tatiana Birgisson is no stranger to the stage. In 2013, she took home the top undergraduate prize in Duke University’s yearlong Startup Challenge, a win that helped get her healthy tea-based energy drink Mati into cans and onto local Whole Foods Markets shelves.

She’s since pitched to NC IDEA, winning one of its $50,000 grants; Soar, earning one of four coveted mentee slots; and at DukeGen events, winning advice and support from Duke graduates in the beverage industry. She’s frequently shared her story to American Underground teams at HelpFest, and wooed Google to earn her spot at Thursday’s Demo Day in Silicon Valley.

Birgisson also won over family members with the Mati story—her uncle provided the seed funding to ramp up the business in December 2013.

But Thursday’s pitch before big-name Silicon Valley investors puts her on a much bigger, global stage. Last year, the Google Demo Day audience included some of the biggest names in venture capital—500 Startups, Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, along with AOL co-founder and Revolution Ventures investor Steve Case. 

It’ll be clear to those investors that Birgisson’s story is different. Every other pitching company is involved in technology—yet hers started with a struggle with depression and a tea kettle in a dorm room and evolved over time to include a daily dose of chemistry, ingredient sourcing, packaging, logistics, branding, marketing and retailing.

Birgisson will make those differences play in her favor through what she calls “moments of fearlessness”—the same moments that helped her win over buyers at Kroger, Costco and Whole Foods over the last 18 months.

“I don’t fit the traditional model for pitching at Google or the traditional mold for who gets an NC IDEA grant,” she says. “But I’ll have the same mentality as any sales meeting I go into—believe in yourself and that your product is of benefit to the other side.”

For the complete story, read more at: http://exitevent.com/article/how-mati-prepped-for-google-demo-day-150401

​Note: ExitEvent is a news partner of WRAL TechWire.