Photo via RootStartup
Photo via RootStartup

We’re back for another installment of the Startup Pitch sessions in which entrepreneurs reveal their business ideas (in two sentences or less), and the experts weigh in with advice and feedback.

At stake for the winning entrepreneur is a full scholarship to the upcoming 15-week Founder Institute technology accelerator, with the Seattle classes beginning April 9th. That’s a $995 value. Heck, we’ll even toss in a free ticket to the upcoming GeekWire Startup Awards on May 9th to the winner.

Now, it’s not easy summarizing your business in a couple sentences, so you can follow this easy blueprint from Founder Institute creator Adeo Ressi who suggests this format.

“My company, _(insert name of company)_, is developing _(a defined offering)_ to help _(a defined audience)_ _(solve a problem)_ with _(secret sauce)_”.

Mentors from the Founder Institute will provide feedback on the pitches and pick the winner from the pool in the comment thread below, Mentors and judges include Ressi; Google’s Dan Shapiro; Hark CEO David Aronchick; Gist founder T.A. McCann and others.

Deadline for the contest is 9 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, March 18 — so get those pitches rolling folks!

Comments

  • flojoflojo

    “Peer Lending Advisors” will facilitate high net worth individuals investing on
    peer-to-peer lending sites (e.g. LendingClub.com) by providing loan
    underwriting based on proprietary models and industry experience.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      hey flojoflojo, are you proposing that your platform will allow individual investors to invest across multiple platforms, or allowing the investors to underwrite loans (leveraging their $$) in any given platform?

      • flojoflojo

        Hi Dave – B is very close – we pick the loans that achieves the investor’s goals. E.g. investor wants a minimum return of 10%, max of 3-year investment, and we pick the loans based on our models and experience. We take a % of earnings – only make money if investor is profitable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/russell.benaroya Russell Benaroya

      Hi Flojoflojo — interesting idea. Are high net worth individuals the target market for peer to peer lending or does p2p open up a much broader base of lenders for which your model has more merit?

      • flojoflojo

        Hi Russell – there are a lot of small fish interested in P2P lending. I’m focused on landing the big fish – facilitating high-net-worth individuals’ investments into P2P.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      There is an idea here…but I think it may be a p2p portfolio management solution for high net individuals? These types of loans are driven as much or more by personal interest, change impact and compassion than by ROI.

      • flojoflojo

        David – you’re right. That’s what I want to do.

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      It is interesting, but not sure how LendingClub/etc wouldn’t already offer something like this? It’s a challenge because you’re not going to own the people (LendingClub will), and syndicating the loan seems like a challenge.

      • flojoflojo

        Lending Club lets high-net worth individuals invest – but gives them the WORST loans. All computer-based, and waits until everyone else has picked over them. I’ll give these investors the best loans – vetted by my models and personal experience/manual underwriting.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          Tighten up your pitch. Something like, “peer to peer lending sites have provably excellent deals, but they go to investors who manually comb over every loan. We automatically find the best and offer them in a fund to high net worth individuals. We only get paid when they make money.”

          Interesting and novel idea, but feels fundamentally small and unlikely to grow.

          • flojoflojo

            Thanks Dan!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      If you are genuinely able to deliver better returns with lower risk, then of course that is a good model. I guess my questions are how you will demonstrate that a priori in order to attract customers, and whether any advantage you have will be quickly arbitraged away if it turns out there is money to be made there.

      • flojoflojo

        That is a great question Rudy. I have my own personal experience, which I can share – I could share my own superior returns. Outside of that, I could show hypotheticals – what my method would generate versus average.

  • http://thetechnologycafe.com Sam Z Best!

    My company, HyrbidSignals, is developing Social ROI and trend analysis suite to help brands and agencies to optimize their campaigns and make better decisions on social media using intention and sentiment analysis.

    • http://twitter.com/enriquegodreau Enrique Godreau III

      Big market. Busy market. Need greater clarity on your value proposition to compete. Make what type of better decisions to achieve what specific value? Recall, revenue, engagement…

      • http://thetechnologycafe.com Sam Z Best!

        The value proposition is to help brands increase their engagement via more positive endorsements from consumers on social media, let them know what kinds of posts/content is being appreciated and not appreciated, what needs to be improved so negative sentiment is reduced.
        On the revenue side, measure using global media values to predict how the cost of user acquisition they spend would create a proportionate ROI

    • http://www.matthewshobe.com/ mshobe

      Targeting specific verticals? Different actionable spin on current loyalty/engagement metrics? As Enrique said, needs something new vs. Radian6, HootSuite, SproutSocial, SimplyMeasured, and a whole bunch of others who’ve created analysis tools for brand/agency use.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      Adding to Enrique’s and Mshobe’s comments – I see a lack of vertical market focus in the current plethora of companies doing this. Customer acquisition ROI for example is calculated, tracked and managed very differently across different verticals.

    • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

      I don’t see anything in your pitch that differentiates you from the myriad social analytics companies already in your space. When you’re pitching somewhere this crowded, you’ve got to have something – a feature, a focus, a founder resume, something – that makes me think you’re bound to win.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Christensen/676694755 Mike Christensen

    KitchenPC is attempting to build a cloud-based platform to develop a network of interconnected culinary devices. This platform will enable integration between smartphone/tablet apps, websites, and future hardware such as smart fridges to share culinary data, exchange and process recipes, store shopping lists, and learn user culinary preferences.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Mike, I like it, the macro kitchen app. How far away (years) do you think we are from having the market adopt smart fridges and what does that imply for other devices – what’s after the fridge?

    • http://twitter.com/espelienjb Joel Espelien

      This is great idea (I am big believer in Smart Home — see http://www.tdgresearch.com for more), but may be early. Are there any good examples of smart kitchen gear yet?

    • http://www.matthewshobe.com/ mshobe

      Like the idea, don’t like the name; anchored to a decade-ago paradigm. Do you build a standard and license it to appliance makers? Or charge consumers on a subscription model, like an extended warranty, to activate _n_ devices? Maybe have a couple of fridge/stove combos to show the way with one maker?

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      I would start with one simple, tangible solution first – like generating shopping lists that are easily accessed/pushed and managed across devices.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Sounds cool, but to Dave’s point, how useful is it prior to the widespread adoption of smart fridges and the like?

  • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

    “My company, PicScrubber, is developing an app to help smartphone and tablet users manage duplicate, blurry, or otherwise low quality pics out of their albums with a unique tool that makes it easy to identify and remove the unwanted photos.”.

    • http://twitter.com/enriquegodreau Enrique Godreau III

      I run into this situation myself. Your idea seems practical, but it also sounds like a feature in a product and not a company.

    • Pradeep Chauhan

      this is an awesome idea. I could save a third of my storage if this works. Why won’t you do it for PCs too?

      • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

        Nobody said we wouldn’t!

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Steve, going with Enrique’s comment, do you see how you can grow from a feature to a product? what else would you need to add/build?

      • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

        This is all excellent feedback everyone, thanks. A couple things here regarding what else this product might to to distinguish itself from being merely a feature within another product. Examples might be “bucketing” your pics for you into custom categories. Myself, a motorcycle guy, might want to quickly locate all my pics of bikes. From the thousands of images I have. The part of the technology that allows you to identify less than desirable pics can also learn to identify a category of pic and surface the, to the user as a group. This would be a tool that would help you not only get rid of images you don’t want, but organize the ones you are keeping. From there, plugging into various cloud based photo sharing platforms should be as easy as leveraging their respective third party API’s and we can do the same scrubbing of those accounts as we would a users camera roll. Lord knows my photobucket account could use some help.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          This is a very hard, very worthwhile problem that many people have worked on and are working on now. None of them that I know of are really great. For your pitch to work, you need to convince me that you’re going to succeed where others haven’t. For example, something like “drawing from UW professor XYZ’s research…” or “we made the realization that if you just focus on deblur and not general purpose algorithms, this gets a lot easier…”

          • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

            Dan I appreciate the request for clarity. We will address this for you in a forthcoming response. I just want to talk to my Developer before posting, thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/espelienjb Joel Espelien

      Lots of image rec solutions out there done by world class teams. See e.g. http://www.iqengines.com. Agree this is a feature, and not a company.

      • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

        Thanks Joel I will look into iqengines.com. Had not heard of them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      Just being able to remove photos – such as the regrettable pics posted or tagged on FB during one’s college debauchery days – is very useful. This is, however, a feature even if it allowed you to better manage which pics you want to keep/delete for a variety of reasons. One approach that might make this worthy of a full company is to aggregate one’s photos from the variety of places they are currently posted/stored to create a single virtual album which can then be managed?

      • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

        I like that idea a David, sounds like a user story that needs to make it into the requirements docs.

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      Would certainly be useful, but i’ll echo others. Not sure how this is a business, or isn’t something iPhoto/Picasa does and puts you out of business.

      • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

        At the moment I have yet to see another product, certainly not a mobile app, that’s trying to address this issue. I could be wrong, or somebody else may be building something similar as we speak- thats possible too..

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Crowded space. Also, is this enough of a problem for people to be able to directly monetize the app or would you be relying on advertising or some other means of indirect monetization?

      • http://twitter.com/stevecominski stevecominski

        Rudy I think based on the number of pics my wife takes of our baby alone- this is a problem that if not managed, could bring the internet to its knees! LOL perhaps it’s not quite that dramatic, but I know the sales of secondary storage drives for people’s gigantic picture collections has got to be good money these days.

  • http://twitter.com/blackworld Blackworld

    Blackworld.com is evolving a Digital Economy through Media & Apps, to connect 1.2B people of African decent with the rest of the world. http://www.blackworld.com

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      big market, can you narrow in on your launch offering?

    • http://www.facebook.com/russell.benaroya Russell Benaroya

      Imagine that you are telling this to an 11 year old and state it in a way they would understand it. Keep it simple.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      In describing this, it may help to offer some comparable sites or previous strategies that we are familiar with?

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      How does this differ from other vertically focused social networks? BTW, you should really not use an Apple ad on the home page (unless it’s real). You’re itching to get taken down.

  • Alex Tsway

    My company is developing a web based platform to help employees and intrapreneurs get their ideas recognized by decision makers with our organized and easily accessible backend service.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Hey Alex, is it for ideas within their organization? Like a digital suggestion box?

      • Alex tsway

        Yes, the idea is to provide a web service to make it easier for product managers and marketing departments to recognize innovative products from employees!

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      Nearly sure I’ve seen lots of these – it’s just GetSatisfaction for internal employees?

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Given that people can barely keep up with email, what is it about your platform that will allow good ideas to rise to the top and be recognized by decisionmakers?

      • Alex

        Rudy, thanks for your feedback. However, it isnt just emails being sent to one person, it would be a platform where employees can up vote and down their favorite ideas to qualify for more action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

    Geniusdelivery is solving one of the biggest problems facing grocery delivery: people don’t want to shop for groceries like they shop for other stuff online. Our patent-pending technology puts a real grocery store online and allows customers to experience it like they do in real life.

    • Safeway

      Or…just go to the grocery store…

    • Nater

      Love this…keep connecting these dots and I think you will be happy to see where they will lead you

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Hey Brodie, cool idea. I get the idea is patent pending, but what’s cool about it, how will it work?

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Hey Dave, great question.

        Our technology starts with a virtual browsing experience similar to Google Street View, where we connect images together to form a navigable virtual store.

        We then map the individual products in those images to information (product name, price, availability, etc.). While browsing, a customer can then hover over a specific product to view information about it, add it to their shopping cart, etc.

        With those as a base, we can then do a lot of other cool things. For example, a customer can search for a product exactly like they would in a traditional online store and click to instantly jump to that product on the shelf. Or, a customer can view a map of the store and click on a shelf to instantly jump to that location in the store.

        Applying the traditional online store model to groceries is inferior for many reasons. Multiple product sizes is a classic example. Online, even if the size is listed on a product, it can be impossible to tell how large it actually is. In real life, or with our technology, it’s instant. Other examples are similar, where it’s intuitive with our technology, but confusing/frustrating with the traditional online store model.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          Doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t love the current grocery experience (and I do shop online a lot), but the last thing I want to replicate is the experience of physically looking through shelves to find things.

          • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

            Thanks for your comment Dan, and congratulations on your acquisition by Google!

            I agree that the virtual browsing experience isn’t for everyone. When it comes to groceries, the benefits of traditional online shopping still apply. Primarily, the ability to quickly search through thousands or millions of products. For that reason, we integrate the two into a “best of both worlds” experience.

            A great example is the ability to search for a product like you would anywhere else online, then being able to jump to that product on the shelf. From there, you can view all of the alternatives at once and can take advantage of benefits that only shopping in a real grocery store offer, like instantly understanding differences in product size and price/quality.

          • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

            Thanks Brodie. I get it, but it doesn’t sound compelling to me as a shopper. (and I’m actually someone who enjoys a regular trip to the grocery store – or maybe that’s part of the problem).

          • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

            I think you’re right again and bring up another good point. Many people don’t need grocery delivery. If they have time in their schedule, or enjoy it enough to make time for it, they won’t look to grocery delivery. However, for those people who don’t have time (families, professionals) or those people who hate grocery shopping, we think they’ll be as excited as we are about our virtual browsing experience. It probably won’t come as a surprise that I enjoy grocery shopping as well.

    • http://twitter.com/espelienjb Joel Espelien

      Samsung has done a lot with exactly this concept in Korea. Agree it hasn’t been done here well yet. Need to understand what you are doing relative to the global context to see how unique this is.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Hey Joel, great point.

        Tesco (Samsung’s partner in South Korea) has always been an innovator. They were the first modern company to get grocery delivery right, back in the mid-90s. Safeway’s grocery delivery service is actually a former dot-com pure-play grocer (GroceryWorks), which was then for a short time co-owned by Safeway and Tesco.

        The virtual shopping technology in the Seoul subway was built for Home Shop, a joint venture between Tesco and Samsung. In the UK, Tesco also partnered with Keytree to build a computer-generated virtual shopping experience controlled by an Xbox Kinect.

        Compared to the Home Shop and Keytree technologies, we think that capturing the entire experience is key and that using real images is fundamental. Without both, a customer is left wanting more, especially in regards to CGI.

    • http://www.facebook.com/russell.benaroya Russell Benaroya

      Interesting enough to want to learn more. I don’t know if your assertion is true about how people do or do not want to shop for groceries, but I do agree that grocery shopping, an $xx billion industry, has unique purchasing/choice dynamics that traditional online retail does not accommodate. Keep at it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Thanks Russell! I think you’re right on. Proving out that assumption with customers is key if we’re going to continue to invest our time in that aspect of the business.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      Take Terry Drayton and/or Ken Deering to lunch – Agree with your premises. Your solution points only to how to improve grocery ordering and there is much more of it to get right.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Thanks for the references! We should grab coffee or lunch as well. I absolutely agree that there’s a lot more to get right.

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      Surprisingly useful, despite feeling like you need to raise $1B a la Webvan. I love the idea of overlapping TaskRabbit + Amazon Fresh – could be transformative – if you don’t get blocked by Costco and/or have yourg margins squeezed to zero.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Thanks for your comment David! I hope we can avoid the same fate as Webvan :) We’re actually seeing the opposite. Companies like Costco and Whole Foods Market have, to varying degrees, expressed their support for what we’re working on.

    • Henry Albrecht

      Intriguing…
      The things I like about the store could be well replicated. Visuals, specials, organization. The things I don’t like (the 4 staples being in 4 corners of the store, forgetting what my wife likes, etc…) need to go away — along with the negatives of online shopping. I could see a best of both words approach. I would like to take an ideal shopping trip and just upload it and not have to shop online. Seems like a “sell early to Costco or Safeway” type idea.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Henry, you hit the nail on the head! Simply put, we want to combine the best of online and offline grocery shopping.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Will it be better/faster/cheaper than Amazon Fresh? That is some tough competition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yastrum Brodie Yastrum

        Excellent question Rudy. I couldn’t agree more, Amazon is an amazing company and AmazonFresh is tough competition. In my opinion though, absolutely yes for many consumers, for a few reasons:

        Our virtual browsing experience. It makes online grocery shopping more immersive, intuitive, and enjoyable than anything past or present.

        Our role as a third-party, rather than a pure-play. The advantages here are immense. By partnering with physical grocery chains, we can offer lower prices (think Costco), much larger selection (the average grocery store carries 50-60K products), and a name that customers already shop at and trust (think Whole Foods Market, Costco).

        That said, AmazonFresh will continue to exist and I think could similarly benefit from our virtual browsing technology.

  • WeedDlr

    WeedDlr is a mobile app for state licensed dispensaries to facilitate and manage medicinal marijuana sold to customers who are pre-approved and pre-screened via the app. This provides safety to the dispensary and full compliance with state law. The app helps dispensaries tackle the problem of background checking, payment processing (all electronic via the app) and required reporting to the state seamlessly. WeedDlr takes a % of the transaction. The legal marijuana industry is a growing billion $ industry and many states are considering legalizing marijuana.

    • Brian Butt

      Might want to run this by your lawyer before you face Federal drug trafficking charges.

      • WeedDlr

        We did, we only facilitate the transaction (ie payment processing and filing out forms) so we are in full compliance with the law. We’ll let the state attorney general handle the federal government.

    • MarijuanaGuy

      Interesting, will keep an eye on how your app going to work.
      Good luck

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      good comments on legal, obviously still early in the process. I’m assuming your using something like square for the transaction? If not you may want to look into http://www.meracord.com/ as a way to keep transaction compliant (different legal issue).

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      Huge fan – there will be billions made in supporting these folks, outside of formal organizations (such as banks) who can’t take the federal risk. What do you provide that any other business person could not?

    • Henry Albrecht

      Awesome. In such a PR-friendly world, could you find a more aspirational or memorable name? This feels like a startup that could search for a market and a business model for a while. If you could check those boxes in 6-12 months, it would help.

    • MarijuanaGuy

      I am going to make do well in this marijuana business because I have lots of good domains relating to marijuana and pot.

  • PoopApp

    My company PoopApp.com uses visual recognition software to help identify
    species from photographs(Still in progress)

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      I need some more info to better commend here. based on the name, you’re going to be able to recognize species by feces?

      • guest

        That what the website says- identify the species by the feces.
        Interesting project similar to identify the leaves and name of tress

      • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

        +1 for a rhyme that would make my 4 year olds proud PoopApp, steal this for your tagline. “Find the species from the feces.”

        As a business, though… um…

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Well, can’t accuse you of hiding the ball, that’s for sure :-). Hard to imagine there is a large market for this kind of thing though.

  • Punchway

    punchway is a geo-location gamification mobile platform enabling community users to be the ace reporter and engage with neighborhood to ask, share & snap local happenings real time on the go bringing hyperlocal content within the community in shortest form. The gamification component allow brands & local businesses to engage directly with neighborhood and offer “drive to retail” rewards.

    • Mike P

      Concept sounds interesting but how will u differentiate ur model from FB, twitter, patch, etc?

      • Punchway

        Hey Mike- Our focus is niche and focused on hyperlocal market while FB/twitter are solving for the entire planet. Patch is more editorial content and not driven by the community.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      Geo is hard (to get it right from a business model POV), gamification is really hard (must be a compelling experience) and social network scale itself is now very hard. The recent hyper-growth stories have been based on something simple done very well (You Tube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc)

      • Punchway

        Hey David- Agree with you that Geo is very hard and companies have failed although there’s a huge market for hyperlocal. We are exactly going towards simplification, well defined content strategy and serendipity to bring engaging users. We have a great value prop for brands and local business for greater ROI on their ad investments.

    • http://twitter.com/samtep Sam Teplitsky

      How do you intend to overcome the challenge of presenting an “empty network” to users and ace reporters, which need to feel each others presence in your network in order to derive any value and continue to come back and contribute? Who controls / sponsors the gamification campaign in a local instance? Your idea is where social and local content are headed, just curious how long or how steep the hill is in your view given the current landscape.

      • Punchway

        Hi Sam- Thanks for your feedback. We understand the challenge around empty network and we are going to focus on one city and do well and bring our 1st 1000 users and slowly expand. Yes, companies like pinterest had the same challenge to bring their 1st 1000 users but their focus helped to become a super hit.

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      Needs solving, but FourSquare made $2M. Last year. IN TOTAL.

      Unless you had revenue specifically on this, I cannot imagine you figuring this out unless you got traction guerrilla/AirBnB style.

      • Punchway

        Hey David- Agreed, Foursquare was interesting for a while to share the checkin but there was really no forcing reason or content strategy for repeating customers. Plus local business is not seeing a great ROI for their ad cost with foursquare.
        Our drive to retail rewards strategy will help brands & local business to see more ROI. This is where mobile advertising market is heading and will see a huge success than simply displaying ads/page impression given the size of mobile phones.

    • Henry Albrecht

      A few too many buzzwords. Can you tighten? And David — are you serious re: 4Square only making $2M?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.lucero Vincent Lucero

    Super Squirrels ( http://kck.st/15WhGzx ) is developing an environmental education mobile game to help parents inspire their children about the world they live in by providing fun gameplay, updates to parents, and cross platform integration.

    • http://www.facebook.com/russell.benaroya Russell Benaroya

      Thanks Vincent. Consider saying this in a much simpler, non MBA type of stylethat makes the value proposition clear. In other words, what problem are you trying to solve?

      • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.lucero Vincent Lucero

        Thanks Russell!

        Something more along the lines of:

        During the 90s, there was a proliferation of fun, yet educational games (Putt Putt, Jumpstart, Zoombinis) that many of today’s new parents would like to share with their kids. However, there are no mobile equivalents to these older, fun, more education focused games.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      The game must be fun first – tying it to the parent’s interests or overriding agenda will not overcome a game/experience that isn’t fun/engaging/addictive…Good luck!

      • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.lucero Vincent Lucero

        My team and I completely agree. It ceases to be a game if it isn’t fun, and then the child’s attention drops dramatically.

    • http://twitter.com/samtep Sam Teplitsky

      I like the idea and the art is really nice. How do you intend to balance educational elements (which will be judged by parents / educators) and fun factor which will matter to kids? How are you addressing age range of users and challenge level?

      • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.lucero Vincent Lucero

        At the end of the day, we want to make a game. We cannot and do not want to be everything to everyone. With that said, we will do our best to make a highly polished game, and garnish with educational content where it feels right.

        The challenge level question is a tough one. Since our gameplay is similar to Mario, my only answer would be that the levels become more complex and require better controller handling if you want all of the achievements and items.

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      It _IS_ nice art, but I have to agree with others – the core of the gameplay is everything. Have you tested with kids? With parents?

      • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.lucero Vincent Lucero

        We have shown the game to kids and they also love the art, we need to work on making movement smoother.

        With that said, we just got to the beta stage and are hoping to use our Kickstarter and Geekwire to get attention from parents who want to test.

    • Henry Albrecht

      Although I might buy this as a parent, I find that games never need these types of formal pitches. They either are fun or they are not. That said, I think you could live w/o the phrase “cross-platform integration”. Make this thing!

      • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

        Very much agree that the magic in games is in the execution, not the pitch. But your pitch would concern me as an investor: is your #1 priority environmental education, and you’ll compromise on fun if necessary, or is it fun, and you’ll strip out the environmental education stuff if it doesn’t work? I don’t trust companies that serve two masters; one has to be the bottom line.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.lucero Vincent Lucero

          Thanks for the advice guys!

          At the end of the day, we want to make a game. We cannot and do not want to be everything to everyone. With that said, we will do our best to make a highly polished game that is as fun as possible, and garnish with educational content where it feels right.

          • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

            That’s good clarity. A pitch games is like pitching paintings: you’re going to have to inspire instead of just describe. Try writing it like you plan to write the app store writeup. Sell it instead of explicating it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      As a parent of small children who has looked for them, I feel a lot more could be done in terms of developing mobile games that are both educational and entertaining. I second Henry’s comment that the proof is in the pudding with this kind of thing however — if the game rules, I would buy it :-).

  • http://twitter.com/Lee_David_K David Lee

    Pitched this at a recent FI event. The Helpful Husband is a mobile app idea to help overworked and underappreciated soccer/working moms get their domestic partners to do more chores by making it fun through the earning of user defined rewards and the tracking of points associated with completed tasks. Is there a woman in the world that would not pay a few dollars a year to get their partner to be more helpful?

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      Huge fan of gamifying relationships.

    • http://www.facebook.com/russell.benaroya Russell Benaroya

      Do not get this near my wife ;-) That may actually be the challenge and the opportunity — building a bridge that makes partnering in a relationship fun. There are macro factors that are driving households/spouses to partner rather than assume traditional roles. It’s a tough transition since many people were raised in a household where dad worked and mom took care of the kids. Driving that change sends an incredibly strong message and one that I think would have great PR value.

    • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

      Very turned off by the “battle of the sexes” flavor of the pitch.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      In theory I can see it, in practice the UX to correctly address the interpersonal dynamics will be hard to get right…

  • Dave

    Our company, WhichBus, has developed a simple, beautiful way to navigate public transit, by combining trip planning and real-time transit info in one simple app. You can try it now at http://whichbus.org.

    • http://twitter.com/enriquegodreau Enrique Godreau III

      Secret sauce? This site works pretty well. http://tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/cgi-bin/itin_page.pl?resptype=U

      • http://hark.com David Aronchick

        I’ll have to support Dave on this one, Trip Planner is not good beyond the basics, and once you’re in a dense area (e.g. 2nd and University) you could have 20 choices to get where you want to go.

        The competitor here is Google Transit, but they haven’t made improvements in years.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidbluhm David Bluhm

      Simple, clear pitch! As Enrique suggests, Investors will want some secret sauce given these apps will likely be made available for free – so how do you scale it across dozens of different metro systems and make money?

    • Henry Albrecht

      Doing something awesome is often its own reward. Feels like something that could be a quick acqui-hire Google buy.

    • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

      I like this: clean, elegant execution in service of a tractable goal. I think you need to paint a picture about how this is a part of something bigger to build meaningful value.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Like the execution, concerned about competition and ease of entry into the market. Second the “what’s the secret sauce” question.

  • Greg Piechota

    Textbux.com (Pre-Venture/Design Phase) gives students the opportunity to earn cashback on each college textbook purchase or donate the cash to a charity of their choice. Textbux.com is using the cashback model to give college students the power make a difference.

    • http://hark.com David Aronchick

      This is an incredibly high margin business that is already having margins attacked by Chegg – who is the customer here? Aka who is giving up margin to encourage purchasing?

      • Greg Piechota

        Hey David,

        I replied to your response earlier, however, I dont think that it posted.

        Anyways, thank you for the feedback. I failed to mention that Textbux.com is a website that allows college students to search and compare their college textbooks. Textbux.com searches all the top textbook distributors (ie.Chegg, eCampus, Amazon) to show which website offers the cheapest price for each textbook. Once the student has found which website offers the best deal, he or she will be directed to that textbook distributor (ie. Chegg) to purchase the textbook. Now, each textbook distributor will pay textbux.com a commission for directing a sale to their website. Once, textbux.com receives the commission, textbux.com will simply relay a portion of that commission to the student. The student now has the ability to put some extra cash in their pockets or choose to donate their extra cash to a charity.

        Tell me what you think.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          I think you’re saying: we will somehow acquire customers that Chegg can’t, and then sell them back to Chegg.

          How do you acquire the customers?

  • Soji

    My company, HotelPerHour.com, is creating hourly rate hotels booking service that allow people (e.g. Travellers, business men) to book hotel to rest and unwind for few hours after long-haul of flight, business/shopping trip without paying the full cost for a hotel.

    • http://www.matthewshobe.com/ mshobe

      If this was somewhat like the executive “refreshment lounges” top-tier frequent fliers have access to at places like Heathrow, Hong Kong, etc., but targeted at everyone else, that could be viable. Are there airports anywhere that already feature any potential competitors? Nontrivial capital cost to get going. Not sure making fractional use of traditional hotel inventory in-city would ever make sense; sunk costs of housekeeping and unpredictable scheduling, but maybe some hoteliers would set aside a few rooms specifically for this purpose. Have you talked to any? What have they said?

      • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

        Yeah, my question was a shorter version of Matt’s: what are these hotels?

        • Soji

          Dan be rest assured that this service is not target towards prostitution or Red Light service. Our target markets are people in transit, business people and everyday people that needs a cosy rest after hectic day.

          • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

            That’s not what I asked. I’m asking: are these existing hotels with excess capacity, and if so, what kind (motel 6 vs four seasons)? If they’re new construction, what do they look like – tube hotels vs luxury?

          • Soji

            We want to make the platform open to all hotels and not restrict it to Motels or just four seasons. Having 5 stars hotels on board will be great.

          • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

            Still not answering my question. Existing hotels or new ones?

            re: wanting to have both 0- and 5-star inventory, while that’s a fair ultimate goal, your pitch would be much tighter if you explained what your target was.

          • Soji

            Existing hotels. At the moment we are marketing or targeting hotels from 3-star downward. As you have noted having 0 to 5-star inventory will be ultimate goal.

      • Soji

        I have spoken to some hotels and the 5 stars and 4 stars rated hotels are not too keen, pointing out the housekeeping issues. The 3 rated stars hotels are interested. Majority of Airports currently don’t have any competitors offering this service.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      This does create liquidity that might be of interest to hotels, who have a wasting asset in unoccupied rooms. The question is whether you can deliver sufficient increased business to hotels to make it worth their while, which is the typical marketplace chicken-and-egg problem. How will you build liquidity in the marketplace for these hourly chunks?

      • soji

        Aggressive marketing is the tool we intend to use and highlighting
        the advantages of platform to travellers and everyday people.

  • Matthew Bigby

    Our company, ExDrop, is developing a unique anonymous shipping exchange that allows members to ship mail/parcels anonymously to recipients – a non-confrontational and safe means to send sentimental lost belongings to divorcees, or former boyfriend/girlfriends.

    • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

      This is a very good pitch. But I wouldn’t come within a mile of the company.

      On the good-pitch front, it’s a clever idea that doesn’t appear to exist. You explain it clearly enough that I can understand the need. Your examples are ludicrous, presumably because your real target cases are illegal and/or unpleasant, so you left the listener to “fill in the blanks” with their own ideas.

      The problem with the business (and again, I’m going to separate my assessment of the business from the pitch) is that you’re going to be put out of business by your legal bills. The feds don’t take kindly to organized drug rings.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mehl.alex Alex Mehl

        As a collaborator on this project, it is important to note that the ExDrop experience will be a secure, single blind shipping service. It is in no way structured to make it easy to ship illegal or dangerous items to unsuspecting recipients. Both parties on either side of the transaction must register with the service using accepted verifiable methods of establishing online identity. Users will be subject to a terms of service agreement that explicitly deals with acceptable and unacceptable items for shipping and circumstances for same. Users who are found to be abusing the service will be subject to punitive measures including but not limited to being banned from the service and/or being reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for arrest and prosecution. ExDrop is intended to be a very specific service to a focused but potentially huge client base- people who have always wanted to make one final gesture of forgiveness or amends.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          Wait. So I need to tell my ex to register so I can send them something anonymously?

          I don’t get the product or the need. Also, it’s a terrible business idea as you describe it, because your average customer is only going to use the product once, so the lifetime value of your users is tiny.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mehl.alex Alex Mehl

            The mechanics of discovery of both parties- Think Adoption registry. It is true, if a User’s intended recipient has not joined ExDrop on their own, the User will be unable to send anything to them. Some people will not be able to complete their transaction, or at least not right away. It may take some time for both parties to become aware of the service, through marketing channels such as popular social networking platforms (FB, Twitter, MySpace, G+, etc). In time, ExDrop’s name will become synonymous with healing people’s hearts through restoring once lost treasures to their rightful owners. In short order, people will begin successfully completing transactions, and the word will spread. If the intended is not to be found, perhaps they didn’t need the item that the would be sender has after all.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mehl.alex Alex Mehl

            To the question of Users only needing the service once- this is likely true for most people, but does not truly pose a problem for ExDrop. How many people are in the US these days? Nearly 300 million. Of those, how many are connected to the internet? Members of Facebook? How many of that cross section of people have had meaningful relationships in their lives that have now ended? There’s more than enough potential clients in existence right now, who would be exposed to the service through their normal online habits and activities- with more every single day. It’s perhaps a little sad to have to express the business potential for a concept in terms of people’s regrettable breakups. Unfortunately, Breakups happen and will continue to occur, which we believe speaks to an ongoing need for a service of this type.

          • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

            You’re asking these questions as if they’re rhetorical, but you should provide the answers. I do not think they will support your case, but I can’t say for sure until you include the information.

          • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

            I am so confused.
            1) Why wouldn’t I just fedex the stuff?
            2) How can it be anonymous if the point is for me to return things the ex left? Once they get them, they’ll know who sent them.
            3) Why would people start talking about a service that doesn’t work for anyone? (chicken and egg)
            4) Why would people talk about the service after it worked for them? It’s not a subject that’s discussion prone.
            5) Why would people tweet/myspace/G+ such a sensitive and potentially embarassing subject?

            It might help if you gave an example scenario, explaining all parties’ motivations. Then I can see if it seems plausible or not.

          • Matthew Bigby

            Appreciate the constructive criticism of the original target audience but there are other legit applications for the service. Perhaps we could explore other potential innocuous applications of ExDrop- say eBay and Craigslist users who would be otherwise disinclined to ship directly to a buyer whom would like to withhold their address/identity.

  • InsuNinja

    Buying insurance…simplified! My company, InsuNinja is building a marketplace for buying insurance. A consumer provides the information on the Insurance that they want to buy. InsuNinja contacts the insurance agents where they bid for your business. You pick the best offer at your convenience. Winning bidder pays a % fee to InsuNinja.

    • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

      How do you acquire customers? You’re competing for eyeballs with the likes of Geico and Progressive, whose customer lifetime value is way higher than yours.

      • InsuNinja

        By showing comparison of multiple different insurance providers, which increases the chance of getting a better rate for the consumer. Think something like kayak for insurance.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          I think you misunderstand my question. Imagine you built the most amazing insurance website in the world, that overcame everyone who saw it with waves of euphoria and delight. How are you going to get people to your magical insurance wonderland, when you have to bid against the carriers, who make more money from the customers than you do (so they can outbid you)?

          • InsuNinja

            In terms of driving consumers to our service, we plan to use search ads and social media. e.g. when a consumer saves $x by buying insurance through InsuNinja, they will post it to their social circle.

            From cost POV, my analysis shows that Geicos and Progessives will not always provide you the best deals. They do well with a certain profile of drivers.

            InsuNinja will provide a marketplace where independent insurance agents/agencies will register and will get new leads that they will bid for.

            Thanks Dan for taking the time.

  • Wanderlist

    My company, Wanderlist, is developing an integrated dashboard for
    all travelers to plan, manage and share their travel experiences. Each personal
    site will offer both private and public views–private views containing active
    trip itineraries, travel research and management of past travel media including
    images, journal and other trip info; public views include managed journals,
    blogs, information sharing and planning resources.

    • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

      I’ve seen a great deal of activity in this space recently. There’s something to it, but it’s extremely crowded. Your pitch doesn’t make me feel like it’s something I really need to have.

      • Wanderlist

        Thanks for your feedback Dan. I think you are right–there is a lot of activity in this space. But I believe it is because there is still so much opportunity to ‘do it right.’

        OTAs who have been concentrating on bringing in the low price are now trying to grow right deep content, Content providers are trying to incorporate more booking capability. Even MS has taken a leap and added Travel as one of their major Window 8 apps. Even with all of this effort, an average ‘traveler’ does extensive and far reaching research to book. Uses multiple tools to manage and then uses other tools to share their experiences.

        I just don’t think anyone has really captured the true nature of what travel is and why people do it. It is curiosity. It is the need to connect with the world. And it is the need to share experiences. There is no single travel app or site that accomplishes this and that is the goal that Wanderlist seeks to achieve.

        • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

          “I’m going to do the same thing but I’ll do it right” is not a good pitch. A good pitch convinces me that you will do it right (or at least are on track) – e.g. identifying a specific detail of your implementation that’s convincingly differentiated, demonstrating that you have a background that makes you sure to win, showing traction, etc.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Agree with Dan, there are a lot of people in this space even locally it seems. Also, are you planning on implementing recommendations and reviews, whether crowdsourced or otherwise? Obviously that is a very crowded space as well, but if you can find a way to address the long-tail of travel destinations that are not well-served with curated content, you may have a shot.

  • http://twitter.com/hevan_net Hevan

    Hevan is a social platform that helps you become an entrepreneur. We allow you to share, grow, and start your dream business in a simple, social, and fun way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rudyg Rudy Gadre

      Needs a lot more detail, can’t tell what it is you do from this post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shelbygoerlitz Shelby Goerlitz

    My company is developing B3TZ a prediction game for internet publishers that accelerates the growth of a core engaged readership. The game is delivered as simple embedded widget and readers play against the author and each other to win sponsored prizes.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Hi Shelby, is your game focused on the end user (consumer) or is it focused on helping the publisher connect authors to readers?

      • http://www.facebook.com/shelbygoerlitz Shelby Goerlitz

        Dave – consumer is the main focus but using the content as a discovery vehicle — you read an article and you have a place to land your emotion. In this way our competition is polls and comments. But we provide a follow-on experience that involves cross-links in the publisher site (as well as sponsor areas and deeper game areas). We’ve found that having the author connect with readers/players, however, is a great hook.

  • Grace Andrews

    Wikisway (wikisway.com) is making big data fun and engaging for the inquisitive masses, through interactive data visualizations of explorable network graphs, from a multitude of content sources. We’re solving the problem of a lack of context concerning information on the web by showing the connections between people, places & things.

    Grace Andrews

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Grace, I love that you used Dan as the example. I’m not sure why I would use your product from the pitch. What do you mean when you say you’re solving the problem of lack of context – in what kind of decision.

      • http://www.wikisway.com/ Grace Andrews

        Hey Dave, Wikisway’s goal is to show connections that users may have not been previously aware of, this is in relationship to any content on the web. There’s an abundance of information, but understanding how that information pertains to you or answers questions that you’re trying to address is difficult to gauge. Wikisway hopes to visualize the relationships between entities so that information becomes more meaningful and provide users with another component for making an array of decision. We started with Crunchbase because we wanted to create a product that could assist ppl like ourselves, entrepreneurs, start-ups, techies, etc.
        For instance, by using Dan, I demonstrated how Wikisway and Dan are “connected,” if at all. If you look closely, we’re connected via Vizify, another Portland Seed Fund alum. This connection would have been very difficult to find just by looking at Dan’s CB profile. With this information, we could potentially connect to Dan using the Portland connection. Did that all make sense? Let me know and I can provide another example.

    • Pradeep Chauhan

      Very cool idea and you’ll do real good if you piggyback LinkedIn/Facebook. I think you should target this to sales/business professionals and as a b2b tool vs. a fun thing for the masses (especially while pitching to investors). Sales folks really need warm leads and this can help them discover 2nd/3rd degree potential connections better than LinkedIn.

  • Matthew

    My company is developing a Kickstarter for online marketing campaigns. This online funding platform will help marketers fund the development and deployment of paid search, display, and video campaigns while supplying funders with return on investment based on campaign result metrics.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

      Hi Matthew, who is your customer, the online marketer? Or the company looking to hire an online marketer? I’m not sure who the buyer is and why the crowd-funder would want to invest

      • Matthew

        Thank you for the question Dave. The customer would be the online marketer – Someone who needs to promote their products and services online but doesn’t have the discretionary funds or the finance person’s buy-in to do so. We see two possible segments that fit this description: small to medium sized business owners and online marketers at larger organizations, whether they are internal or external.

        We see the possible crowd-funders’ incentives falling into the three buckets: Supporting innovative and entertaining online campaigns, matching their investment dollars with short-term vehicles that have measurable real-time ROI metrics, and using their own online marketing expertise to evaluate and invest in worthwhile campaigns.

  • http://twitter.com/DaveParkerSEA Dave Parker

    We’ve announced we’re extending the application deadline for the spring semester for Founder Institute – you can find more information at http://www.fi.co/apply/135

    You have until 9PM tonight to post your pitch here on GeekWire for Scholarship.

  • Irfaan

    At Overlane, we’re giving online video creators a new revenue steam that’s less disruptive than ads, has the potential to outperforming their existing video monetization without displacing them, and does all this by adding *more value* to a video from a viewer’s perspective.

    How?

    By creating a simple, easy-to-use platform that lets viewers purchase the products that are already in the videos they’re already watching.

  • http://twitter.com/fabbit3d fabbit3d

    Fabbit is developing an online platform that enables people to design, order, and sell their own 3D printed products without having to upload content or use difficult and expensive software. Our technology solution allows creative consumers to automatically generate new designs using an easy and fun interface, smashing the barriers for entry to the 3D marketplace.

  • Alexander Tsway

    We are developing a gamefied app to help friends challenge each other to reach common goals faster through a simple and easy to use structure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chenyu.wang.1088 Chenyu Wang

    My company,Tenordiva, is developing a mobile phone game to help smart phone users who wanna learn singing to do vocal/breath practice and manage basic singing skills(falsetto, trembling, hitting high notes, make continuous long note) in a motivating and interesting process with existing sound pattern recognition technology. They can also have a shared experience by inviting friends on facebook, challenging each other with difficult songs or doing duels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/snezanalazarevic65 Snezana Damnjanovic

    My company INTERNET KAFANA is developing Never Before Seen Virtual Reality European Pub to connect people of different cultures around the world in an authentic and welcoming social networking media for interactive and entertaining experience!

  • John Win

    Shadow is developing a tracking app aggregator to help people manage their personal goals and metrics with a simple online feed.

  • Killua Gin

    My company, SyncMusicSpace, is developing a synced music player to help running groups and dancing crews to play real-time synced music across multiple devices with distributed synchronization technology.

  • YONAYEN

    At FairFund, we are developing a payday-lender alternative for “high-risk” borrowers that is less expensive and longer term. We “securitize” the debt and sell to investors, reducing the amount of capital we need for lending. We want to challenge the industry belief that 55-60 million under-banked Americans can’t have a lower cost credit source. By implementing more data and increasing lending volume we can make better lending decisions and lower the cost per user. Thanks.

  • John Win

    Classgratis provides one free paid online class per day for people who are eager to learn a new skill.

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