New York City was the 17th stop in Startup World’s international quest to find the world’s best startup. Startup World: New York is part of an initiative to find the planet’s best startup, with regional winners from 20 countries competing in Silicon Valley for the top prize. Ten semi-finalists were chosen to present their pitches to a panel of judges that included Harrison Weber, East Coast Design Editor for The Next Web, Kevin Smith from Business Insider, Elliot Tomaeno from AstrksPR, Jason Oshiokpekhai from American Airlines and Marvin Avilez, CEO of VisualOps.
Each startup was given 3 minutes to pitch, followed by a short round of questions from the panel and the audience. The startups that presented that evening were:
1) Chefday – Julien Nakache’s tagline for his idea was “cooking made simple, fun and delicious.” For between $12-$15/person, you can order the ingredients for a meal from Chefday and follow the recipe video online while you’re in the kitchen. The targeted customer base is “young, busy couples with dual incomes” and large families who see cooking as an activity for everyone. For now, Chefday offers free delivery on the East Coast and plans to become nationwide by the end of summer.
2) WeDemand – A Brazilian transplant, WeDemand is a crowdsourcing format for concertgoers and music fans, connecting artists, promoters and fans by allowing fans to petition artists to come perform in their cities. The team’s commission is 10% of tickets sold. WeDemand has already helped Solange Knowles put together an impromptu show in Montreal, and hopes to grow from emerging to mainstream artists.
3) Lookboard – This startup wants to fill the gap between designers/producers and retailers. The brainchild of Duy Huynh and his team, Lookboard brands itself as the web’s “most happening wholesale marketplace” for furniture and design. It already has 4000 suppliers and over 100,000 products, making its inventory bigger than most of its competitors. The site has had 3000 buyers in the four months since its launch, and has partnerships with Overstock, Brookstone, SkyMall and several other companies.
4) Now – Now was designed to use Vine and Instagram updates to create a live stream of trending events in your city. The iTunes customer reviews have been less than satisfactory, with complaints of the new update crashing.
5) Klickpicks – Katherine O’Sullivan and Jose Pinto shared their idea of having shoppable videos, video production and web apps that create a “fashion advertising ecosystem.” They work with brands like Lululemon to create videos where you can click on an item, say a jacket, and be directed to the online shopping page to buy the product.
6) Makeably – “Things get made here” is what this website proclaims. Founders Ryan Hayward and Anastasia Leng are all about deconstructing products. They wanted to give makers and producers a platform where they could exhibit their creativity without the constraints of standard ecommerce platforms, which limit the number of items sold and carry only that seems popular with customers. Sections include décor, lighting, pets, kids and games, and the products range from lamps made of books to custom hand-covered pencil sets.
7) Placemeter – Placemeter indexes the real world in real time. Using live feeds of public areas, the app allows users to track the number of people in a shop, how long the wait is at a favorite restaurant and the number of speeding fines dolled out in the neighborhood they were thinking of moving into. Data is derived from the user’s surroundings. Privacy issues don’t come into play, as the app only counts numbers and does not store data such as sex, height or other personal information. It was founded by Alex Winter.
8) Commune – Built as a mobile community bulletin board, Commune hopes to connect neighbors through their cell phones. It is unclear how they intend accomplish this on a grassroots level, though they say they’re going to start with community organizers.
9) Sketchfab – Sketchfab is the answer to your 3D prayers. The platform let’s you seamlessly embed 3D models in any project, on any browser. There are no plugins required. There are available embeds available for Facebook, WordPress and Kickstarter. Sketchfab has buy-in from the likes of Quirky and (RED).
10) TextPride – The idea behind TextPride was to bring licensed messaging content to the mobile device, so that users could show their school pride with their university mascot emojis. The business model is built on selling packs of emojis for a certain amount. So far, there are 111 exclusive licensing partners, including the NFL, the US Army/Navy/Air Force, schools and sororities/fraternities, with 40 more deals to be announced in the near future.
After all 10 startups had presented, the judges tallied their scores and announced the winner – Placemeter, which didn’t come as a surprise to the audience. Placemeter will now join regional winners from other parts of the world to compete in the finals later this year in Silicon Valley. The grand prize package includes:
- 3 month incubation period worth $30,000 at i/o Ventures
- 1 year of Rackspace hosting, worth up to $24,000
- 5 million Echo real-time streams per month for 1 year worth $30,000
- International media coverage of the winning startup