We just watched 11 great pitches from the TechStars Seattle Demo Day, taking place at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle.
The pitches were polished. The entrepreneurs were sharp. And a few might just change the world. But at the end of the day, my colleague Taylor Soper and I had a few companies we liked the most — both from a presentation standpoint and overall demonstration of revenue model.
John’s top pitch: The pitch for Perfect’s was nearly … perfect. Personal — great connections to the entrepreneur’s grandmother — and succinct — it had the most memorable one-sentence pitch of the day from co-founder Hudson Duan.
“Perfect is the ongoing movie of your life.”
Now, I am not sure if Perfect will make a great business. In fact, if I were placing my own dollars on the table, I’d be reluctant to bet on a company that’s built around Google Glass. But I did like the storytelling capabilities of the entrepreneur, and his very simple and thoughtful presentation.
Don’t worry folks, I am not about to start “lifeblogging.” That said, the future will be documented and recorded. Perfect could help people get comfortable with that idea.
Taylor’s top pitch: I absolutely loved the energy from Wire CEO Piragash Velummylum. His presentation was at times slightly overwhelming because it felt like he was yelling at you, but there was no doubt the man had the crowd’s full attention.
Also enjoyed the app’s demo, which featured a rapid-fire conversation between two teenage girls — a very real-world, applicable use case that showed the value of Wire, a messaging app.
Another nice touch: SnapChat was the first thought that came into my head when Velummylum started speaking, so the side-by-side comparison with SnapChat was clutch.
“Did you catch that?” Velummylum asked the crowd as a SnapChat photo appeared and vanished. “Of course not — it’s SnapChat, it just went away. Wire allows you to see the message, it allows you to see the photo — you can read the text, damn it!”
But like John, I’m not so sure about Wire’s business model. Velummylum talked about the massive market opportunity in the mobile messaging space, but Wire isn’t exactly fixing any big problem. Will it become the next SnapChat or WhatsApp? I doubt it.
John’s top business model: Codementor seems like it is solving a big pain point, helping developers get expert advice in real time. It’s also a smart way for expert coders to make extra money and earn credibility through Codementor’s review platform.
In fact, there was a theme today in the presentations — online education technologies that help software developers do their jobs better. (Also, this was apparent in Shippable, and to some extent with Everpath)
Building a marketplace for instant coding help is a solid idea and CEO Weiting Liu —a Y Combinator grad who previously sold his first startup SocialPicks in 2009 — did a great job showing the crowd why. Not only did he have a polished presentation, but Liu also outlined a convincing revenue model and showed how companies can save time and money by speeding up the troubleshooting process for developers.
If I had to pick my favorite business model from today’s lineup, it’s Codementor.
Taylor’s top business model: The last presentation was certainly not least, as CEO Brewster Stanislaw clearly outlined the benefits of Inside Social. Companies might be using social media marketing, but how can they tell which verticals are actually helping the bottom line?
Stanislaw had a great pitch, showing how 75 percent of companies have no idea how to measure ROI on social media outreach. It’s a very real problem, and Inside Social seems to have a real solution.
I’ll give an honorable mention to the folks behind Shippable. I love companies that are solving an actual problem that people have, and CEO Avi Cavale seems to have a great plan in place to fix a common developer’s dilemma: speeding up software development. Plus, Founders Co-Op General Partner Chris DeVore announced that his firm is investing in Shippable — another obvious vote of confidence for the startup.
You can check out all of the GeekWire profiles of the TechStars companies below. Also, here are some more photos from today’s event:
Microsoft vets start CueCard to develop mobile forms for business — “cuecard helps businesses create applications on mobile devices without having to write code.”
ResolutionTube helps technicians fix broken machines with a mobile app — “ResolutionTube is a mobile application for people who fix complicated machines, helping them collaborate and access important information, at a fraction of their current cost and time.”
Sparktrend tells you where to buy those Pinterest-inspired outfits — “Sparktrend connects images to commerce. Give us an image and we’ll find you the products and where to buy it.”
Inside Social helps brands measure social media ROI — “Inside Social helps brands measure and increase the impact social media has on revenue.”
Vetted matches big companies with independent consultants — “We make it easy for large organizations to find the right independent consultant.”
Codementor offers real-time, screen-sharing coding support for developers — “Codementor provides real-time help for developers from expert mentors via screen sharing, video and chat.”
Perfect helps you edit, share videos filmed with Google Glass — “We are video life-logging platform made specifically for Google Glass. We take your video clips that you take throughout the day and assemble them into a timeline of musical trailers.”
Shippable helps developers speed up software deployment — “Shippable helps software companies launch products faster by reducing friction in their development process.”
Designlab teaches you web design skills with interactive lessons, in-browser tools — “We teach people web design skills through fun, hands-on lessons online. On Designlab, you get to learn design by doing!”
Ex-Amazonians helping teachers create and sell online courses with Everpath — ”We help instructors create and sell online courses.”
And, finally, here’s a Haiku Deck presentation that co-founder Kevin Leneway put together with an overview of the various teams.