Comments Off on Memphis Startup: Pink Robin Avenue Wins Free Booth At Everywhereelse.co0LikeLike 1,565
This weekend was Upstart Memphis’ 48 Hour Launch weekend. Upstart Memphis is the newest initiative for Launch Memphis the catalyst behind all things entrepreneurial and startup in Memphis Tennessee. Upstart Memphis is about helping women entrepreneurs and startup founders through fellowship, education and events. 48 Hour Launch, Memphis’ take on Startup Weekend, was the first big even for the organization.
Launch Memphis has held several 48 Hour Launch events. They function the same way most weekend startup hackathons function. This time was a little different though because all of the ideas pitched needed to be led by women.
Care2Manage, A focusED Path, Mentore.Me and Pink Robin Avenue were the four ideas picked to build throughout the course of the weekend. As you can see from both the Friday and Sunday videos for each startup, they got a lot of work done.
Danielle Inez and her Pink Robin Avenue was the prevailing winner though, even after an original judges tie.
Pink Robin Avenue is an easy way to plan and decorate for an event. For those who like it broken down in it’s simplest form, Pink Robin Avenue is an “event in a box”.
Inez and her team used the weekend to work on their business plan, website, social channels, customer discovery and preparing a great presentation. Inez brought out her bubbly personality and really shut the crowd down with her enthusiastic responses to every part of the Q&A, having a sensible answer for every question thrown her way.
While Inez will initially grow Pink Robin Avenue in Memphis she plans on expanding nationwide and helping people plan events, and get all the decorations they need from top to bottom in a box delivered to their door step, instructions and all.
After checking out her Sunday pitch video you’ll see why she ended up winning a free Startup Village booth at everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference. Inez will be very busy over the next two months making sure that her idea is ready for prime time and ready to go onstage in front of over 1500 people, 400 of them investors.
As a testament to the weekend startup hackathon building model check out her Friday pitch here:
Comments Off on Startup First! Memphis Startups Pitch Federal Court Judge As Part Of Amazing Risk GEW Event0LikeLike 1,566
Memphis startup founder Rich Billings pitches ScrewPulp to Federal Court Judge John Fowlkes
For the third year running the state of Tennessee has held the most officially sanctioned Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) events with 91. One of those events as part of Memphis’ GEW activities is the Amazing Risk scavenger hunt.
A call was put out a month ago for startups to apply to compete in the Amazing Risk challenge. The field was narrowed down to three startups; Screw Pulp, Guild Local and the Memphis Urban Farm School. These three startups are competing for $10,000 in cash and prizes (services).
The three startups began the day at Risk City Field Day in midtown Memphis. At 10:00am all three teams were given clues to what they had to do to earn up to 1100 points. At the end of the day the team with the most points will win the prize pot.
The participants had to go to local eatery South Of Beale and pitch one of the waitresses. They also had to pitch Marvin Stockwell the Marketing Director at one of Memphis’ big social entrepreneur examples, the Church Health Center.
Finally the last clue had the teams headed to the Memphis Civic Center downtown which is the collection of state, local and federal buildings. From there they needed to interrupt President Barack Obama appointed Federal Court Judge, John Fowlkes, and again give their pitch.
Judge Fowlkes is no stranger to the Memphis entrepreneur community. His oldest son Andre Fowlkes is the Co-President of Launch Your City, the startup and entrepreneurial epicenter for Memphis Tennessee. While Judge Fowlkes was in on the contest, no one else in the courthouse was, which made the experience a bit challenging at first.
Once each of the three startups arrived in the court room, jitters and nervousness went on extra high. It’s one thing to pitch a room from of entrepreneurs and startup leaders. It’s another to pitch a sitting Federal Court Judge, in open court.
The first startup to arrive in Judge Fowlkes’ courtroom was, publishing alternative startup, Screw Pulp. Screw Pulp is a web platform that allows independent publishers to publish their books. Their book is originally given out free to a certain amount of readers who agree to review the book. After the first hundred copies are given away and reviews are accumulated ScrewPulp then begins to sell the book online in a more traditional manner.
Check out the ScrewPulp Pitch here:
Wes the founder of Memphis Urban Farm School was next to pitch in the courtoom. Judge Fowlkes and his clerks had plenty of questions for Wes.
Just before the judge’s lunch break the team from Guild Local arrived. They did a decent job of describing their startup but Judge Fowlkes still had questions.
We’re pretty sure this is a first for any startup to have to go and pitch a judge, much less a Federal court judge. Later in the day we’ll find out which team won the most points in the Risk City, Amazing Risk Challenge.
Confused by the headline? Don’t be. Memphis Entrepreneur Harold Strong launched a photo sharing startup called YaDoog at 48 Hour Launch back in June. The premise for YaDoog was a little different than other photo sharing startups. Strong wanted people to share their photos in an organized “day in the life” manner. The idea was going to be perfect for wedding days, a newborn’s arrival, and other significant life events.
Strong had a lot of support at that 48 Hour Launch and his idea was selected to build out. After one heck of a great Sunday pitch Strong was feeling great about the idea. It appeared that he was building off the momentum but as with a lot of weekend startup hackathon events, many of the team members went back to their normal lives come that Monday morning.
Strong abandoned the idea in time for Startup Weekend Memphis later this past summer.
That’s when he came up with Acquire For Pennies. This new startup idea makes sense. The premise is an online auction site or e-commerce platform where startup founders can sell their startup idea and the accompanying intellectual property easily.
The idea is perfect for people who develop good ideas at weekend startup hackathon events like 48 Hour Lunch and then don’t have the time to follow through. Another great use case would be serial entrepreneurs who are more idea people rather than follow through. Some entrepreneurs know they have a good idea and then they’re struck with another great idea.
With Acquire For Pennies, any entrepreneur or founder can sell their idea.
Strong has already thought of a way to handle the sale of the idea and intellectual property without disclosing the entire idea in public view.
After pitching at two different weekend startup hackathon events, the June 48 Hour Launch and Startup Weekend, Strong’s Friday pitch for Acquire for Pennies was great. By Sunday evening we’ll see how well the weekend fared for Strong.
It’s Investor Day/Demo Day season across the country. We’ve got Brandery’s demo day in Cincinnati in two weeks on October 3rd. RevTech in Charlotte’s demo day is also October 3rd. MassChallenge has a class graduating soon, and so do many more.
Here at nibletz, the voice of startups “everywhere else” we attend a lot of demo days and we get asked for feedback by lot’s of startups. So here we’re going to show off some pitch videos from investor/demo days and share what we personally like to see. Of course take our advice however you’d like.
Product Product Product
Product is the most important thing at Demo Day, at least in my opinion. We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that a business plan, pitch deck or wireframe is what brought you to the accelerator in the first place. Now you’ve completed a three month accelerator and received a decent amount of seed funding. I don’t care what the reason, you better have a product. The accelerator staff may blow smoke up your ass but if I personally had given you the seed money, and I don’t see a product, youre going to be cutting my grass for many years to come.
Enough on the startup lingo
The point of the three month accelerator was not to hear about minimum viable products, bandwidth, game changing, disruption or that you’re a change agent. I also don’t want to hear “at the end of the day”. Truth be told most investors know the buzzwords and it’s often times a BS alert in the pitch, either that or a crutch. So at the end of the day those investors are going to go home to their families without investing.
Statistics are as boring as your statistics class
I love startup pitches on investor day that use real world examples of problems and not a hodge podge of statistics and a boat load of slides to show them. Remember that you rattling off statistics is nothing more than you rattling off statistics. Use your key statistics in nice colorful charts, leave them up for a few seconds but I’m sure you have your pitch deck in an emailable file or better yet on slideshare. If someone is jonesing to see all your stats, follow up later. Don’t put anyone to sleep
Growing organically and virally in the first year and making revenue in the second year
This is absolutely NOT a viable go-to-market strategy. We, and of course investors, want to know where your revenue is going to come from, the first year. In fact they want to know where your revenue is going to come from tomorrow. I don’t care what you told yourself in the mirror this morning, chances are very high that you’re not the next Kevin Systrom.
If you’re a nibletz reader you know we hate stealth mode, it’s bull shit. Somebody else already has your idea, it’s about execution and product not about keeping secrets. Now at investor day/demo day all of your cards should be on the table. If you’ve got a video capturing app and more features coming that are in stealth mode, why aren’t they in the product now. Perhaps you should have spent less time playing foosball and more time working on the product.
You can’t listen if you don’t stop talking
Whether you’re in a Q&A session right after a pitch, or fielding questions at a booth or in the crowd after the event, you can’t listen if you don’t stop talking. A lot of people are going to tell you what a great job you did. Take those compliments in stride. But when it comes time to answer questions, answer them concisely, and quickly. If you don’t understand the question, let the person asking it know that, they’ll respect you more. If an investor asks you something and you don’t know the answer to it, tell them it’s a really good question, jot a note down and either research the answer on your iPhone or with your team and get back to them that night, or follow up. If you bullshit they’ll smell it.
Don’t forget personality.
There’s a good chance that you were picked for the accelerator not because your ticket selling app was going to take on Ticketmaster and Live Nation, but rather because the board liked you, or your personality. Don’t forget to interject some of that in your pitch.
And now a video…
This is Banyan, they won a $100,000 in the GigTank challenge which was an investor day challenge for the Gig Tank accelerator in Chattanooga. Here’s why I love this pitch.
– First off I’m not big into the product I’m not sure how big the market is. It’s a collaborative research tool, it’s a great concept but again there’s not a huge market and researcher’s aren’t the best at sharing. That’s not the point though. I thought Toni Gemayel had a great pitch.
– Banyan had a product. Banyan was up and running and had been thoroughly tested
– Gig Tank’s theme was literally “high bandwidth” startups. The accelerator was built around Chattanooga’s 1Gb fiber. Researchers who use Banyan have to transmit enormous amounts of data. Gemayel conceptualized this by saying if a researcher wanted to send 2 terrabytes of data from Stanford to the UK under traditional bandwidth constraints it would be quicker to get on a plane and fly there.
– Banyan offered several plans at making money immediately, not two years down the road.
– Finally, Gemayel had everyone laughing with a really small joke at the end of the presentation. Watch the video to see it.
Comments Off on Nashville Startup: The Skillery Pitches At Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day VIDEO0LikeLike 1,045
The Skillery CEO Matt Dudley pitching at Jumpstart Foundry demo day (photo nibletz llc)
Jumpstart Foundry demo day continues with the team from The Skillery. When their mentor introduced the team she talked about how CEO Matt Dudley started his entrepreneurial roots when he was just 7 years old and put up signs in his neighborhood advertising his services as a GhostBuster.
The Skillery in it’s simplest description is a platform to sell tickets to workshops. They are in the same space as Dabble and Skilshare but with a twist. Dudley and his team are specifically targeting small business owners who want to teach classes.
For instance, the local woman who owns a shop selling hemp and weaved products could start a class on The Skillery. Here in Nashville they’ve had teachers come out of the community that did whiskey tastings and even classes on the value of cotton diapering as opposed to disposable diapers. In fact the woman with the disposable diaper business saw 25-30 people come to her workshops that were listed and promoted on TheSkillery, and she was able to convert students to customers.
Dudley is charismatic and explained his pitch in a way that everyone in the room understood exactly what he was talking about but with the passion that would come with the next Instagram and not a learning platform. As for a learning platform, Dudley is quick to point out that The Skillery is not about online classes, it’s one of those startups that bridging the online world back with the real world, something that will be vital to the next wave a startups, according to the New York Times.
Chicago startup Groupon has confirmed to the world the power of the group. LivingSocial and countless other startups compete in the same group daily deal model as Groupon with great success.
Joe Kennedy, a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur, has decided to flip that group daily deal model on it’s head. Instead of coming up with the group deal, and having a buy in, his startup puts the group together to form an adhoc buyers group. If you’re not familiar with the buyers group concept the best comparison would be to a food or grocery co-op. This is where communities are able to force a discount by joining together for a group buy.
Kennedy presented the idea at Startup Weekend in Memphis on Friday evening and got more interest from the group in attendance than he thought. Local young entrepreneur Harold Strong from Yadoog, a startup birthed at 48 Hour Launch in June, dove head first into assisting Kennedy and leading the team of 6 into product development.
Kennedy confirmed at press time that they will definitely be ready to show off proof of concept if not more Sunday evening during the Startup Weekend Memphis finals. In addition to reserving their intellectual property, and hashing out the technical infrastructure they also had to come up with the first vertical that Buyer’s Unite would tackle. The concept itself can work on any vertical but the team chose health insurance to insure (see what we did there), easy quick scalability.
Buyer’s Unite will offer several buying groups that their users can join but for the first group they hope to go to insurance carriers with thousands of people in the group ready to buy. That would in effect force the carrier to offer a sizable discount to guarantee that much business.
There are several monetization options and revenue models but Kennedy likes the idea of a very small fee on the transaction once the deal is complete. Paying $3.50-$5.00 for the ability to save over $100 on health insurance is a win win for everyone. We’ll see tomorrow if it’s a win for the judges.
Comments Off on Memphis Startup: Yaddoog Final Pitch At 48 Hour Launch0LikeLike 1,102
Yaddoog, Good Day spelled backwards, was one of the best startups at 48 Hour Launch this weekend in Memphis. It was a great event overall with a lot of Memphis’ startup community supporting the entrepreneurs and their ideas all weekend long.
For first time startup founder Harold Strong, it was a weekend to get the idea living in his head out into the open and developed. According to the support team at Emerge Memphis Strong had been working on his pitch for days prior to Friday’s first pitches and the hard work then and over the weekend has paid off.
Problem: The answer to the question “How Was Your Day” is usually bull sh*t. 99% of people answer “fine”
Solution: Yaddoog wants to turn the question on it’s head. They do this with a new photosharing app. I said repeatedly all weekend long to people who asked for my feedback on the event, that it has been a longtime since I heard a good pitch for a photo sharing app, until Friday.
Yaddoog lets the user take a series of up to 24 photos (representative of hours in the day) and then publishes them all onto the Yaddoog website at the set time at the end of the day. The user can also assign two emotions to each picture like, happy, sad, pissed, etc. As Strong said in his presentation and in talks with us throughout the weekend, 24 photos tells a story.
After the event I was talking with David Traxler co-founder of Memphis startup Friendsignia and Eric Matthews CEO and Co-President of Launch YourCity and we all agreed that in addition to telling great stories of someones day Yaddoog would be great for special days like, a baby’s first day, or leading up to a kids first day at school. Weddings was another time that Yaddoog would be awesome.
Showing the roulette wheel of emotions a bride has leading up to the big moment would make a great story for Yaddoog.
Of course it’s not all about happy bappy days either. We’ve all had a college buddy who has had their picture taken and posted to Facebook after a night of drinking, pictures get progressively worse as the night ensues, with the final picture typically being a face full of Sharpie marker. Traxler said, wouldn’t it be great to see that guys day starting with his bowl of cornflakes the previous morning.
Indeed it would.
Traxler’s startup Friendsignia just graduated from the most recent SeedHatchery class last month and was paying his experience forward by mentoring Strong and the other startups all weekend long.
Strong admitted that they have a lot of work to do to get the app to market but he’s going to do it or die trying. Check out his final pitch from Sunday here:
Comments Off on Memphis Startup: HappyPotty Final Pitch At 48 Hour Launch0LikeLike 806
Lot’s of people came out Sunday night to the final pitch event for LaunchMemphis, SeedHathery and LaunchYourCity’s 48 hour launch event. Graduates of SeedHatchery’s two previous classes were in attendance all weekend long to mentor and support their fellow startups. Also, previous participants in the last 5 48 Hour Launch events were in attendance as well.
Hometown startup hero Sarah Lacy of PandoDaily was absent from the event, despite the fact that she vowed to cover startups everywhere in her inaugural post at the relatively new startup focused Silicon Valley website. Oh Well we’ve got a lot of coverage here from the great event.
HappyPotty was another one of the unique “finalists” selected to develop over the weekend long event.
Problem: Finding a clean bathroom on a road trip
Solution: HappyPotty hopes to be the mobile app of choice to find clean “Happy” bathrooms while traveling by car.
There are a couple of similar sites out there. The biggest one was developed in conjunction with toilet paper giant Charmin, however it has it’s flaws.
HappyPotty ran through some statistics including the fact that there are over half a million potty breaks during road travel per year. That number actually seems a little low.
The app is simple, go to a bathroom and rate it “Happy” or “Crappy” the interface shows two toilet flushers, one colored green, and the other red.
They hope to add more functionality like details on the bathroom from cleanliness, to changing tables, seat covers and more.
For monetization they are looking at traditional mobile app in app ads and geo-located advertising with couponing.
The biggest challenge with an app like this is they have to build enormous, nationwide scale fast. The other challenge is sourcing bathrooms. Surely there are a lot of location based api’s however none that will tell you whether they have a multi-person bathroom or a one person bathroom or if you’ll have to purchase something to even use the bathroom.
They Happy Potty team was able to track down some gas station and rest stop data to start the build out of the app, alongside FourSquare API’s. Check out the pitch video below:
Comments Off on Memphis Startup: ScrewPulp Final Pitch 48 Hour Launch0LikeLike 1,195
ScrewPulp is an idea that hasn’t been tackled in quite this way before. It’s a self publishing website that allows authors to publish their books to the site. So what’s so unique about that?
Problem: More and more authors are turning to self publishing. Just look at 50 Shades of Gray for instance. According to the startups data there were over 200,000 self published books out of over 1.5 million books published with ISBN numbers.
Self published authors have a hard time garnering social network interest, ratings and reviews which can be the lifeline for a self published book.
Solution: ScrewPulp offers an innovative new platform for self publishers that builds the social network interest piece and the ratings and reviews piece as well. After a book is downloaded 100 times they will switch to $.99 for the next 1,000 copies. After that they’ll increase to $1.99 and so on.
The monetization plan is to take 25% of the sales from books that are selling on the site.
Screw Pulp will giveaway the authors first 100 copies in exchange for a social media share and a rating/review. Readers who love reading new books will be able to download one free book at a time. Once they share it across social media and provide a star rating and or review, they’ll be allowed to download their next free book.
As far as rights are concerned, Billings would like to require authors to hold their work on ScrewPulp for a year regardless of whether or not that author gets their book picked up from another publisher.
Founder Richard Billings said in the Q&A that ScrewPulp will start with novel sized books first and then expand to series and even short stories. Billings also said he would like to use the format for indie artists as well and said we could expect a ScrewTapes out at some point as well.
Comments Off on Memphis Startup: LostPetCast Final Pitch at 48 Hour Launch0LikeLike 920
Sunday night in Memphis brought the final pitches for the four startups that were selected to develop at the weekend long event. LostPetCast was the first startup to the plate.
Idea: A centralized place to report lost pets and found pets
Problem: Losing or finding a pet can take hours of work to get the message out and spread the word. You need to contact local vets, animal shelters, humane societies, put up flyers, and search Craigslist ads.
Solution: LostPetCast allows users to quickly enter information for a lost or found pet. Through LostPetCast the information is automatically shared across multiple channels. It also becomes the one spot to see if your pet has been found by others.
LostPetCast is also offering premium features like an email/fax blast to local vet clinics, adoption services, shelters etc.
The idea is great. There are a couple of competitors in the space however if LostPetCast builds scale quickly they could have an advantage. They want to have several localized sites under the LostPetCast umbrella.
When I wrote about them on Friday I was concerned about the name. In the original pitch the founder said that they were the “amber alert for pets” however they researched that and there is already an amber alert for pets. Now they’re faced with a domain name challenge.
You can find them online at lostpetca.st while it’s a clever name it’s the same challenge that know.es faces it doesn’t roll off the tongue and when spread by word of mouth it will be hard to explain and then remember.
One way to get over that challenge is to have damn good SEO and get to the top of the Google results page for lost pets. That may be a new challenge in itself.
The concept is great. We can’t wait to see the execution. Check out their final pitch video below:
Comments Off on Memphis Startup Pitch: Agile Assist, Virtual Support System VIDEO0LikeLike 845
A new startup that promises to be a virtual support system for those with cognitive disabilities was pitched at the 48 hour launch event in Memphis Friday evening. Husband and wife founders, Rhonda and Robert, built this startup based on the experiences with their son who has a cognitive disability.
Cognitive disabilities include autism,brain injuries and even alzheimers. The common factor behind most people with cognitive disabilities is the need for constant support and supervision. While loved ones are always tasked with this duty, and they do it out of love, it certainly takes a toll on the whole family.
In the two minute pitch it was hard to get a grasp on the entire concept. Rhonda and Robert spent a lot of time on some really interesting background information. We did hear that the idea was a virtual internet based support system, utilizing the cloud and video to help with the 24 hour care.
Rhonda says that they’ve already used their system with their son and it’s worked, and their son is happier. Although it wasn’t chosen as one of the ideas to develop over the 48 hour weekend event, we’re hopeful that they will move forward
Comments Off on DC HealthTech Startup MedClimate Presents At TechBUZZ0LikeLike 1,518
MedClimate, a DC area startup in the HealthTech field, presented last week at TechBUZZ as part of Capital Connection 2012.
MedClimate is looking to take a problem that many new and expectant parents face with doctors and that is, getting questions answered without increasing wait times in already packed waiting rooms. As Tim Barnes, Founder of MedClimate, points out in his pitch, everyone has experienced long waits at doctors offices.
What you may not have considered is that as information has become more and more available to patients, including new parents and expectant parents, wait times in waiting rooms are increasing because more patients are asking more questions. This definitely makes sense when you’re the parent, or patient, but never in the waiting room itself.
Through a disruptive approach to appointment management and using things like videos, video messaging, and making web and mobile appointments, medclimate hopes t o streamline care and make wait times less painful. They plan on doing this all and still allowing for an increase in patient/parent care questioning.
MedClimate plans to use video conferencing to allow patients to ask questions and get immediate feedback from their doctors from the comfort of their own home, or office, while still allowing the practitioner to collect payment via insurance.
The ultimate goal is to not affect everyones already busy schedule with unnecessary appointments.