I attended Startup Pitch Night at Bar 13. There were over 30 pitches at the event. The pitches were 60 seconds in length and the audience was to provide feedback through voting done online (accessed by phones or computers or any other mobile device). The winner of the pitch won a significant prize to help progress their startup. Craig Delsack, Counselor at Law at NYCCounsel.com presented on legality of intellectual property and trademarking brands and finding a co-founder.
There were over 30 startups that pitched their product and platform, but only a few were fully developed to provide enough information to report on.
The first pitch was done by Nicholas Cummings, who wanted to revolutionize education through teachers, not through videos and tutorials on the internet. He wanted to turn standardized content into something interesting.
Philip Wright had a similar idea to Daily Deals, except without using “deals,” and instead using coupons. He explained that people were “forgetting how fun going to malls” were. His app, Scavenger, would use user’s GPS location to promote coupons to certain businesses for a specific amount of time in a specific location.
Alex Shapiro pitched AmuseMi.com, a dining club for designers, entrepreneurs and friends. He decided to create dinner events geared towards entrepreneurs to facilitate the creation of ideas and an outlet to gather entrepreneurs who are looking for co-founders. AmuseMi has done 29 events to date.
DFuze.TV was next to pitch and it was touted as the “anti-social network.” DFuze is an entertainment and content development company. Their aim is to provide an outlet where new, up-and-coming talent can showcase themselves.
Drop.MX, like Dropbox, aims to provide a collection of files that the user can access anywhere. Only people with the URL can access files and it aims for “simple file sharing.” An email address is not needed to access Drop.MX—just a URL is enough.
Shopmine.co is a platform developed by a startup from NYC. Shopmine scans data from the user’s Pinterest and Facebook accounts, then provides recommendations on products based on the user’s pins and likes. Shopmine placed No. 2 at Pitch Night.
Datemapps is a social date planning app. It plans a date for the user based on the user’s preference. Datemapps placed 3rd at Pitch Night.
InkWhy.com, pitched by Janice Drew is a company that focuses on connecting people who have similar interests and specific information on the internet more quickly for the sake of productivity. InkWhy is actually an acronym for “I Need Knowledge, What Have You?”
Rent To You is a virtual property management app that facilitates property management. It deals with everything that a brick and mortar property management group would deal with—contract renewals, evictions, collecting rent—all virtually. Rent To You won first prize at Pitch Night.
Vbout.com is a “review management and social marketing tool” aimed at retail businesses and restaurants. It helps to drive customers to the user’s social media platforms and automate campaigns. Vbout also sends customer’s negative feedback directly to the user to improve quality and efficiency.
59SecondPitch.com pitched their platform, which is 59-second pitching videos for companies or prospective customers. The development of a video takes roughly one month, but the end result is a high quality video developed by a team of experts from the entrepreneur, strategy, cinematography and writing space.
Craig Delsack briefly presented to inform the startups on some legal matters that they will run into. “It’s always better to receive a percentage of stocks than a number,” Delsack said. “Remember to ask these key questions: Am I going to get diluted? How big of a pot do I have? How many shares are authorized?” He reminded everyone that it’s better to get a small slice from a big expensive pie than a big slice from something that’s not worth a lot.
Delsack also said to not share ideas that the startups have with people. “Don’t share your ideas,” he said. “Keep secrets for as long as you can. Keep the secret sauce secret.”
On intellectual property, Delsack recommended trademarking to protect brands. Everything that is published is automatically copyrighted, but concerned startups can pay $40 to get a document stating the copyright from the government.
Delsack also gave a few tips on fundraising. “Remember you’re pitching to venture capitalists,” he said. “You have to verify a compelling need that you’re addressing. What’s the problem you’re going to solve? Say what you will be doing as succinctly as possible and say that you have a great management team.” He also recommended that the startup and the VC progress as quickly as possible to prevent second thoughts. “Remember to ask for references and don’t start fundraising until you are ready.” Delsack suggested that the startups have a good business plan that outlines a time frame of 18 months.