High in the clouds of New York City, a number of early-stage companies pitched to a panel of investors, each startup hoping to make a landing in American markets.
Launched in February of 2011, the Global Innovator Program, sets out to help New York Investors tap into worthwhile investments into international start-ups that they would normally not consider.
Hosted in Dentons’ offices and MCed by Dina Gusovsky, a producer at CNBC, the recent session consisted of several companies pitching their start-ups to a panel of VC’s. The format of the event is not entirely unlike the popular show Shark Tank, itself a transplant from the British TV markets.
“The show has become a phenomenon as of late, but the show is not new so I think it reflects the reality that we live in where corporate America is slowly dying off and people like yourselves are really coming to the forefront. We live in a world where people are taking their schedules and their destinies into their own hands,” said Gusovsky.
The panel itself was made up of Eliot Durbin, a General Partner at BOLDstart Ventures; Ellie Wheeler, a Principal at Greycroft Partners; Andrew Cleland, a Managing Director at Comcast Ventures; and Paul Cianciolo, Vice-President at FirstMark Capital.
While the event was for investors and entrepreneurs to get a taste of what’s going on overseas, it was also a way for the panel of VCs to get feedback on how they give feedback. At the end of the presentations and after all the feedback had been given, the audience would vote on not only the best pitch–the company they would most like to have equity in–but also the VC who delivered the best feedback.
So, without further adieu, and because it’s probably what you clicked on this article to read about in the first place, here are the start-ups that pitched.
WebyClip, founded in July 2013, seeks to solve two problems in e-commerce: the first is how to get enough videos to help you sell your product and the second being how do you even know that the videos are working.
WebyClip seeks to automate the process of inserting user-generated videos onto product pages, articles or websites, in a process CEO Ariel Shemesh called targeted video optimization.
Using a two step program, the first being a search for videos and the second to syndicate and optimize them, Shemesh boasts that WebyClip has resulted in 90% more time spent on pages and a 12% increase on conversions on those pages.
Oren Barzilai, convertiFIRE CEO and Co-Founder, says that convertiFIRE can very easily create custom webpages for customers and can even be done by laymen in about 10 minutes.
In addition to the speed of creation, convertiFIRE can also create multiple versions of a webpage, each one with a unique URL and can launch these new web pages in a matter of minutes.
convertiFIRE is paid on commission, on a per click basis and at worst, Barzilai says, convertiFIRE will add 1% to a company’s media budget. For larger companies who deal in a large number of clicks and do not want to deal with such a pricing structure, there are alternative payment methods that are more closely aligned with what they are already accustomed to.
FoodExpress, by MyLorry, offers an independent delivery service for restaurants that is brand neutral and offers a cheaper service than a restaurant maintaining its own delivery service.
Founded in 2012, FoodExpress received an award by the Microsoft Business Accelerator.
While platforms like GrubHub make it possible to order food online they do not offer their own delivery service, instead depending on the individual restaurant to make deliveries. As a neutral brand FoodExpress would be able to deliver orders from multiple platforms, if the platform holders themselves were to do this it would lead to many trucks making individual deliveries from the same restaurant as none would allow a competitor to make deliveries for them.
According to CEO Max von Waldenfels, by partnering with existing platforms and restaurants , FoodExpress can make deliveries cheaper and more efficently while avoiding the problems of the individual platform holders making the deliveries.
AIMEE is a program that can automatically adjust a webpage’s advertising and content for each and every individual user based on their search intent.
“AIMEE is about turning data into money,” said Noam Zeigerson, the CEO and Founder of AIMEE.
According to Zeigerson, in 10 minutes AIMEE will automatically create millions of custom webpages for your users. AIMEE will learn from individual search data and will implement changes for a website on its own.
AIMEE is implemented on top of an existing website and if a user dislikes the service, it can be easily removed and the changes reversed.
“Commerce+content+community,” that’s what WAUWAA is about according to CEO Ivan Lopez.
Based in Finland, with a growing consumer base in the UK, WAUWAA offers a combination of products, a library of curated content and an online community.
Perhaps the most impressive things about WAUWAA are the browsing numbers. A majority, 76%, of their traffic comes from mobile users and a majority of their revenue, 67%, also comes from mobile users.
And in case you were wondering: after the presentations, the audience voted that Andrew Cleland was the VC who gave the best feedback. In a much closer vote convertiFIRE was chosen as the company that the audience most wanted equity in, just barely beating out AIMEE.