Ultra Light Startups April’s Stellar Lineup – of Investors


“Get practical, actionable feedback from investors. They’ll tell you where your next pivot should be,” claims the UltraLight Startups website. This was certainly true of this month’s ULS: while the presentations themselves were, on balance, less than stellar, the same could not be said of  the panel of investors who were generous and spot on with their comments/assessments…


The startups:

Nero Commerce is a Nespresso-compatible coffee-capsule ecommerce site based in Germany that allows members to über 30% sparen (save 30%) on purchases. They’re profitable and looking to expand.

SolarList is a company that was founded by a few guys who love solar power and want to see it spread across America’s rooftops. They’re a lead generation site, bringing homeowners and suppliers together and currently going door to door talking to potential customers. Not an easy vertical, according to Peter Valhouli-Farb of Bessemer Venture Partners who has invested in the space before. But if, perchance, SolarList did figure it out and get traction in the space, he wanted to hear from them.

Nutmeg Education offers a toolset to help teachers collect data and give individual assessments of students. Unlike their competitors, teachers can subscribe to the platform individually, rather than relying on mass adoption by their particular school system. Price: $7/month.   All well and good, but they do have a competitor out there who offers this service for free, one of the investors warned.

UPlanMe helps small and medium sized businesses plan their social media and special promotions. “Pick a vertical and focus,” was Founder Collective’s Micah Rosenbloom’s suggestion. “Bring them customers, not tools,” suggested Owen Davis, Managing Director at NYC Seed. “Don’t compete in the tools business.”

FreshGrad is a data extraction service that matches recent grads with jobs. Since they don’t necessarily have work experience to fill out a resume, the match is accomplished via the grad’s skill set and personality. Think Myers Briggs.

Wavicle merges game mechanics with learning and development. The content is hidden in the game and can be altered on the fly, and studies have shown that there is a higher retention rate (of information) through gamification. Wavicle is subscription-based, aimed at enterprise and officially launching May 2nd. The feedback from the investors: focus on one vertical (sales for example). Favorite investor comment (Somak Chattopadhyay, Tribeca Venture Partners): “You must decide: is this a vitamin or a painkiller.”

Gift.Rs is curated discovery app for what is trending and where to get it. Select the vendor with the best price, the fastest shipping or the one located nearest to you – Gift.Rs takes care of the rest. They don’t hold inventory (good move). Launching soon in NYC

CreativeWorx is an automated time tracker that captures everything you do and saves you the hassles of having to time it yourself. By automating processes and notifications, one can also get more done, faster. It’s targeting the freelance market, as well as law firms, agencies – basically, anyone who has to track their billable hours.

And the winners were:

Best Presentation/Startup of the evening: CreativeWorx, with UPlanMe coming in second.

Best VC: Somak Chattopadhyay, Tribeca Venture Partners, with Owen Davis of NYC Seed a close second.

For full coverage of tech events in New York, visit The Watch.

About the author: Bonnie Halper

Bonnie Halper curates the StartupOneStop.com newsletter, which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs, and is currently being read in 50+ countries around the world.

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