Afternooon Startup Pitches And Judges’ Questions From PITCH SF 2013 Startup Competition Finals At Women 2.0 Conference 2013
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
The Women 2.0 Conference features the final round of the PITCH SF 2013 Startup Competition, with 10 finalists pitching for feedback and prizes onstage at the conference. The judges onstage for the second session were Google Ventures’ Wes Chan, AngelList’s Kevin Laws, AngelPad’s Thomas Korte, Intel Capital’s Christine Herron and FLOODGATE’s Ann Miura-Ko.
The first startup in the afternoon session of startup competition pitches was Modalyst, pitched by CEO Jill Sherman from New York. She speaks to the pain point of designers – minimum order requirements are high. trade shows are horrible. “Modalyst is a wholesale marketplace for emerging designers and individual boutiques.” Modalyst provides the individuals on their site the collective buy for lower prices. The startup has only been live for a month, boasting average time on site of 9.5 minutes.
An investor in Modcloth, FLOODGATE partner Ann Miura-Ko expressed that she was unclear on the volume and demand. AngelPad’s Thomas Korte generally liked the idea and encouraged her to replace the trade show. AngelList’s Kevin Laws inquired about the marketing which brought the “impressive numbers,” to which Jill Sherman responded that they have press. Google Ventures’ Wes Chan wonders why Modalyst has a waitlist, to which Jill responded that Modalyst is a 3-person team.
The second startup to pitch is HealthyOut, co-founded by CEO Wendy Nguyen. “The average restaurant meal has over 800 calories, so it doesn’t take much to realize why we’re packing on the pounds. We’re flipping the script and making it easy for you to do the right thing,” she said and showed her mobile solution. Business model? “We drive transaction volume to restaurants and grocery stores, and take a commission on that,” Wendy said.
AngelPad’s Thomas Korte asked how HealthyOut got dish level data, to which Wendy answered GrubHub, asking “are you a layer on top of the existing platform of GrubHub? A layer on top of GrubHub is not a viable business.” She talks about her future business models, for example, a premium subscription service. Google Ventures’ Wes Chan asks about app discovery in the glut of nutrition apps today, to which Wendy answered organic search “and all the usual online marketing tricks.” Intel Capital’s Christine Herron asks “how do you differentiate between a 500 calorie pad thai and a 800 calorie pad thai?”
The third startup to pitch in the afternoon is VirtualMob CEO Chaya Jadhav, presenting her company’s “Point At Me” app which allows SMBs to create an augmented reality app in minutes without any prior knowledge. She hands the mic to her co-founder to demo the product.
As for the Q&A part of the competition, Google Ventures’ Wes Chan wanted to understand why people care about augmented reality. Even after the team at Virtual Mob replied, Ana Miura-Ko tried to restate the question, “Who cares about AR – businesses or customers? From the consumer side or from the brand side.” Christine Herron tried to ask the question another way, “Who have been using you?” Chaya listed companies including Audi and Snapfish, charging $2000 per platform per campaign. “It’s more that we’ve gone from a conventional way to a more automated way through the AR campaign,” said Chaya. “It’s a service business, I have no idea how this can be a large business or change the world” said AngelPad Thomas Korte.
The fourth startup traveled all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco for the competition – Greengar CEO Thuy Truong shared her problem of having her idea napkin being used by her roommate to wipe the floor. The interactive whiteboard app Smartboard answers the rising interest in collaboration apps. Her co-founder demos the app. Her goal is to expand the current app to collaborate from 5 to 100 simultaneous users. Greengar seeks $2 million to bring Smartboard to every classroom around the world.
Intel Capital investor Christine Herron took the mic to say she has the Greeengar app on her phone for her 3 year old who loves it. Google Ventures’ Wes Chan was impressed with the 8 million downloads, stating that converting a popular free app into paid downloads is a tough thing, asking for thoughts. FLOODGATE partner Ann Miura-Ko asks about markets and go-to market plans.
The final startup to pitch is Mavatar, pitched by Susan Akbarpour. The smart shopping cart is going after a big market with $48 billion in revenue. She underlined the market size and opportunity repeatedly with rapidfire numbers. From a technology and resource perspective, “we don’t need any exposed API or partnership and focus 100% resources on user acquisition,” said Susan Akbarpour.
Intel Capital director Christine Herron asked about the team, allowing Susan Akbarpour to finish talking about her team (her time to pitch ran out right before her team slide came up). Christine also asks about customer acquisition and Thomas Korte asked about her current user base (answer: Mavatar is launching tonight). There are 11 full-time people bootstrapping, having raised $600k to take 50% pay cut to work on the company. Google Ventures’ Wes Chan asks where the coupon codes come, to which Susan says they are publicly available.
Stay tuned to find out who wins the Women 2.0 PITCH SF 2013 Startup Competition!
Follow the conversation on Twitter with hash tag #w2conf today and shout out to Women 2.0 at @women2!
Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.