It’s not often that you see a NYC mayoral candidate pitch at, well, a pitch event. Not one where technology is the focus, anyway. But if you were going to invite a mayoral candidate to stump at a tech event, successful serial entrepreneur Jack Hidary (Earthweb, which acquired then renamed itself Dice; Vista Research, acquired by Standard & Poor’s; iAmplify; Samba Entergy) would be the logical choice. And VentureOutNY was the forum.
VentureOutNY strives to bridge the gap between international talent and the vast opportunities New York City has to offer. One of its primary missions is to help grow and support the tech community in New York by bringing some of the most vibrant, fast growing, and coolest tech companies on the planet to New York to meet with investors and explore what New York and our home-grown tech community has to offer.
“We do want to encourage entrepreneurship, but not everyone wants to start a company,” said Hidary, addressing the SRO crowd of entrepreneurs, press and investors, and a handful of Brazilian companies who’d come to meet with and get feedback from local investors “So we want to have adult training, adult learning over the course of a lifetime. It’s not just about fixing unemployment, it’s about getting higher-paying jobs.” Having started his first company in the nascent days of the web, Hidary is a proponent of the apprentice-mentor relationship, much the way accelerators function. Considering the make up of the audience, he was certainly one of the evening’s crowd-pleasers. Now, onward to the rest of the presenters, most of whom spoke in decidedly more foreign accents:
Futcup is fantasy soccer network/platform for soccer fans to connect and predict scores of upcoming matches. In the US alone, there are 38 million soccer fans online – a sizeable market. The company is already based in NYC.
Flex in Fit is an online and mobile service that offers consumers with an easy way to reserve and book single fitness classes with personal trainers at participating fitness studios – no gym membership required. 16% of the American population belongs to a health club, which is approximately 50.2 million gym members. Membership rates have increased more than 10% over the past three years and with FlexinFit, no gym membership is required. The business model: FlexinFit offers a revenue sharing program with fitness studios and personal trainers.
As to what attracts founder Danielle Newman to NYC: “I am very familiar with New York, where I have lived and worked in the past. I’m very attracted to the pace and energy of the city and have had innumerous opportunities to work with very talented people in New York. I believe the city has a lot of resources to offer startups and I am glad that New York is proactively seeking diversity in its startup ecosystem. I hope to learn and absorb as much as I can as well as make impactful connections throughout the VentureOut NY program.”
Qualita is a technology platform that enables small and medium business to compete globally, providing its clients with the definitive solution on how to trade internationally in a safe and effective way. After consolidating its processes through services and consultancy to several companies, Qualita is launching Qualita Store – a Global Wholesale eCommerce store based in China (hence the Chinese language website), with operations in Brazil. As a future step Qualita foresees the US market as a prominent step, since the monthly US imports from China is equivalent to an entire year of imports to Brazil. Says founder Pedro Jorge Saunders, “Our team is confident that we could bring some real opportunities to our pipeline and improve our understanding of how to get to the US market through the VentureOutNY program.”
PinMyPet With 224 million dogs and cats collectively, theUS and Brazil represent the two biggest pet markets in the world and for the record, 91 million of them are overweight. PinMyPet is a compact device to put on pet’s collar, helping you to take care of your beloved pets, by giving to you insights about the daily physical activities and providing real time location with GPS (10 million pets go missing every year, and 90% are never found). Says company co-founder Bruno Kenj, “We will sell the device between $99 and $120, depending on the production scale of hardware, and $10 monthly fee (premium + data connection).”
NearBytes has developed a new communication-by-proximity technology based on sound, with features similar to NFC (Near Field Communication) that can be used on any Android/iOS legacy smartphone available today. The data is encoded in sound and can be sent from one device to another, even when both are offline, without using any other feature, such as GPS, Bluetooth or any special hardware. The system is available as an SDK, that is ready to use. Developers can try it for free and Nearbytes collects USD 0.001 per transaction after the 50,000 point. Says co-founder Carlos Estigarribia, “Two of the big uses for our SDK are for mpayments and mEntertainment, and since NYC is the heart of both finance and marketing, it’s a natural step for us to present the solution here. Also, we are already seeing a lot of interest for our SDK from US companies, so we believe it’s the right time to start looking for investors, and the VentureOutNY program includes a pitch to some very interesting VC’s.”
Dujour is an app for fashion lovers, allowing you to share your looks and follow stylish people. “New York is one of the big guns for fashion, technology and venture capital, so it’s a great fit for our product,” said CEO Felipe Venetiglio. “We hope to get in touch with select fashion bloggers to introduce them to our product.” The business model is threefold. For users: Dujour help them find pieces of clothing that will match their style and that they might want to buy, generating leads. For brands: the company provides analytical detailing how their clothes are being used and what’s trending where. For retailers: Dujour provide opportunities to reach a specific very active user base. “We have a very focused and lean team in Rio,” he continued, “but we are always looking at opportunities to expand, and New York would be a natural extension.”
FitX is an iOS (and soon to be Android) fitness app that is designed to maximize your efficiency and improve results from time spent at the gym. The company has predefined, professionally-developed regimens that can also be purchased, or users can build their own workouts. The market size for these types of apps are estimated to be around $129 million USD and said co-founder Geraldo Ramos, “NYC is *the* place to be, no doubt. The largest number of networking opportunities, investors, and connections are all centered in NYC. We’re seeking to meet people, discuss opportunities with other startups and investors, be part of the community, and overall grow.”
WeDemand is platform to crowd-fund and promote concerts. The company’s goal is to predict and generate demand, and to help promoters and artists to make more profitable concerts, by both promoting concerts in an area, and by letting artists/promoters know where their fan base is located. “We are focused on the American market that generates USD 16 billion a year in revenue,” said co-founder Tiago Comagnoni. They’re also in the process of opening an office here in the city. “The city is big hub for media, concerts, booking agencies and artist management companies,” he said. And like the platform itself, the team goes where the base is.
Brazil is the latest country VentureOutNY’s founder Brian Frumberg has tapped for the program. Past entrepreneurs have hailed from London and Portugal, and more events featuring startups from Germany, Canada, Israel and Chile are planned for the coming months, so stay tuned.