Graham Lawlor, founder and host, kicked off his first Ultra Light Startups Investor Feedback Forum of the year with ten – count ‘em – ten pitches. He ended it with a Survey Monkey poll to determine the Best Startup Pitch (field included Glyph, Curioos, Vestorly, Vidaao, NimbusBase, FreshNeck (@lizcwilkes: Was really hoping @freshneck was going to be fresh direct for vampires (it’s Netflix for neckties)), Sumpto, Content Galaxy and Mana Health) and the Best VC Panelist (Brad Harrison, Eric Hippeau, Geoff Judge and William Reinisch). Glyph, an iPhone app which tells you which credit card rewards you’re missing out on/the best card to use for optimal rewards, won the night, but just barely. They tied with Sumpto, which measures the social influence of college students by calculating their Sumpto Score, and gets them free stuff from brands based off these scores. The higher the score, the more valuable the reward. Sumpto Rewards are exclusive promotions or free products from brands that want to target and engage college students. Literally one vote decided the evening, and one of the prizes is an opportunity to pitch to the New York Angels. The ever succinct, no-nonsense William Reinisch won the evening on the VC side, with the past winner Brad Harrison a close second.
Each company got two minutes to pitch, which is really not a lot of time to present all your selling points, so take heed, future pitchers: practice. Get your pitch down and make sure it’s easily digestible. Make sure your audience understands your value proposition: at ULS you’re not just pitching investors – you’re pitching to potential future customers as well. Several companies who pitched never mentioned competitors, or were unaware of them: do your homework. Sage advice of the evening came from @erichippeau: “Convince me you’ve got a product, not just a feature.”
So has there been a shift in the industry/types of companies that we’ve noticed so far? Tweeted @feliciamoeis: “1st the startup trend was to drop vowels like Flickr & gving, now we’re adding more vowels w @curioos & @wearevidaao?” Guess it is a new year after all.