When the 13 teams that made up Fed Tech’s fall 2017 cohort took the stage for their first pitch night in September, it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing.

The entrepreneurs, some of whom had been introduced to their assigned technology just days earlier, struggled to pronounce long scientific words or, in some cases, explain what the technology is at all. The task wasn’t easy, but the entrepreneurs didn’t get a pass either. “You gotta tell me what you do,” the group of rowdy mentors lobbed at one team. “Tell me who cares.”