On Monday, December 3, 2012, I attended NY Mobile Apps’ Mobile App Pitch Showdown at AlleyNYC. Five panelists were present, acting as commentators for the startups: Charlie O’Donnell, VC at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures; Chieh Huang, Director of Zynga NY; Nihal Mehta, Founding General Partner at ENIAC Ventures; Heather Hromoho, Director of Global Monetization at Millennial Media; and Sim Blaustein, Principal Partner at Bertelsmann Venture Capital. There were seven startups present: Room Hints, NiteEvo, Find Your Lobster, Psyqic, StickyHead, TwentyTwo and Grafighters.
Psyqic was first to present. It is a social gaming platform that is also a news media and a data analytic engine. “Humans make predictions all the time,” Keisuke Inoue, the founder and lead developer said. “Users can ask questions about the future and get answers about it. Users can also compete with friends to see who is the best at predicting,” he said. Psyqic has three monetization models: 1) Affiliate program: which encourages media consumption — ultimately becoming an expert at Psyqic. 2) Premium: advanced data analytics for professionals. 3) Promotions: engagement-based targeted ads. It started in April 2012 and an iOS app was released in October 2012. The users’ incentives for using this app is sharing their predictions and bragging rights. “People are already making predictions on social media, so bring that into the app,” Charlie O’Donnell said. When asked about scaling, Inoue admitted, “the hardest part of this app is scaling. We’re trying to generate new content, ultimately he’d like to crowd source.”
NiteEvo is a nightlife experience platform created by Zack Aronson, Matt Gregson, Justin Martin and Vivek Raman. NiteEvo is a social platform for users to live and relive their experiences. A “Nite” consists of pictures, comments and likes. It allows you to share pictures with other people and it logs where the user has been to get a general flow of the night. “You can add people to a Nite to share experiences together,” Zack Aronson said. NiteEvo’s revenue sources are to be freemium (like Spotify), traditional advertising, events and merchandising.
Room Hints is a combination of “Google and Amazon for furniture.” The iOS app finds furniture for your home. It uses the iPhone’s camera, where the user takes a picture of the room and sends it using Room Hints to a crowdsourced group of interior designs and computer vision software. It is a simple solution to find furniture. Instead of wasting time on search engines, Room Hints allows users to get up to six automatic suggestions for the room. The app records the user’s selections and personalizes the searches for the future. RoomHints is a lead generation platform and has recorded revenue since the day of their launch.
Find Your Lobster is New York City’s first mobile organic alternative to dating sites. “Dating sites haven’t evolved to successfully incorporate social graphs and shift the leverage to mobile,” Brian Scordato, founder of Find Your Lobster said. “Dating sites have their own ecosystems and need to create a persona and answer questions and come up with witty answers, but with Find Your Lobster, you can get started in under a minute.” It works by linking up with Facebook and getting single friends from mutual friends. Nine matches are given per day. “The way we combat messages from people that you aren’t interested in is basically through mutual interest,” Scordato said. Find Your Lobster also suggests dating locations and makes dating sites simpler. Their key pitch was mutual friends as the key to trust. “We rely on people as algorithms,” Scordato said.
StickyHead is a celebrity guessing game. The users choose a celebrity that their opponent will be and questions are asked back and forth until one of the users correctly guesses their celebrity. The game sticks a stickynote on the user’s profile and does the same for the opponent — except that you can’t see what is on your head. Hints are available, but only if the user spends StickyCoins. It is the mobile app version of the game played in real life, also called StickyHead.
TwentyTwo is an asynchronous audio communications app that is after a more personal brand. Compared to SoundCloud, TwentyTwo’s users can actually respond to one another using threads on the original post. “It’s a better way to connect with fans,” the representative said. “Using 22 second clips, it helps the audience connect with the musician.” The app can also be a way for celebrities to hold conversations with fans. TwentyTwo can expand beyond music. The audio messaging app and the users can send clips to each other, reply and this is all done because of faster cellular network speeds.
Grafighters started out in Syracuse, NY to bring drawings to life, where it was called “Draw Something meets Pokemon.” Grafighters is a gaming platform that lets you create drawings and have them fight each other. There have been over 20,000 drawings submitted to the developers. They were able to create an algorithm where the size of body parts determines the stats of the drawing. The algorithm applies a skeleton to the drawing, which allows for the movement to happen. Grafighters is thinking of extending to the sports genre and storytelling ability to personalize games, which “are not available to the public right at this moment.”