“If you want advice, ask for money; if you want money, ask for advice.”
On Wednesday night, the Entrepreneurs Roundtable was keynoted by Brad Burnham, managing partner at Union Square Ventures. The company is widely known as an investor in many of today’s most popular internet platforms, including Twitter, Etsy, Foursquare, KickStarter, and Indeed.
Burnham made it a key point in his speech to acknowledge the challenges of investing in today’s vast tech space, as opposed to the social media boom in 2006. “If you have a network of engaged users, the entry price for an investor is $100 million,” said Burnham. “It’s a lot of pressure to invest in great networks.”
With lowered production costs and increased flexibility, the startup world is open to anyone with an idea and the drive to put together a well-polished, engaging product. User experience is fundamental to gain traction. “New services have to displace behavior,” said Burnham.
His mantra of the night: “If you want advice, ask for money; if you want money, ask for advice.”
Five startups pitched their ideas and here’s what they had to offer:
CardFlight , presented by CEO Derek Webster
CardFlight is an encrypted credit card reader that can be used at event ticketing, restaurants, and any other business that requires an order and sales management tool. Webster distinguished its product from Square as being an encrypted reader, providing better security to its clients.
JukeBoxy, presented by technologist Chad Ozgur
JukeBoxy markets itself as the next-generation jukebox. The product comes in two forms: a physical player and as a smartphone app. JukeBoxy allows music lovers to choose the songs they want to hear at any establishment (bar or cafe) that carries JukeBoxy. Users simply access the app and pick music they prefer.
Texts, presented by Peter Kim Frank
Texts.com aims to provide students a way to buy and sell textbooks to one another on their college campus. The site displays the books you need for your courses and who has them. If they’re unavailable, Texts will sell them to you at the cheapest price by eliminating the middleman.
Ketchup is a new social planning app that helps you organize activities with friends. Capucilli said it’ll make you feel like you always have something to do. The app allows users to make agreements with friends to do activities. The catch? There’s no scheduling or calendars involved. You can contact friends who are expecting to hangout whenever you like. Users will always have a list of social possibilities.
Stereotypes, presented by CEO Jason Keck,
Stereotypes is a group messaging app that allows you to share and listen to music with friends from different parts of your life, whether it be from high school, college, or even a group of friends you spent time with this past weekend.
Burnham concluded by advising entrepreneurs to think about the scale of their projects, to finance them correctly, and observed that everything is moving into the private sphere. “People want more private experiences,” he said.