By Joanne Wilson (Blogger & Angel Investor, Gotham Gal)
Founder Labs, a five week intensive program built to help people incubate their mobile start-up ideas just completed their first program in NYC.

Shaherose Charania is the force of nature behind this idea. Fred and I have been a big supporter of what she is doing. We both popped in a few evenings to hear where the companies were in their growth.

I was really impressed with what each of them were able to create in 5 weeks time (without knowing each other before… then) up to the last night where we were pitched their idea. As always, some ideas better than others but what was impressive is how each of the teams thought about their plan. What void are they filling in the market, who is their audience, what is the market cap, who are their competitors, how would they launch, what would it look like, etc.

The group of people were 50/50 men and women, which I like. Every one had a day job and the diversity in that alone was unique. So, here are the companies.

These two founders pivoted about three weeks in so they have not really hammered out their idea. The concept was driven around the people with food allergies. Going to the grocery store and easily being able to scan the bar code on your mobile to see if you can each that product based on your allergies. I do believe that there is something there as 4% of the population has food allergies and that number is growing.

The concept here is you can listen to other peoples music in your neighborhood. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around this whole idea.

A security company for consumers on the Internet. Well done and potential. Simple use.

This company was building out a data base of alternative medicine practitioners in your area including client comments and information on what each doctor or alternative medicine can help you with. Anything from yoga to acupunture.

A mobile application for the hottest nightclub in town giving users discounts to bottles and information on what’s out there.

This was the hands down winner among the judges which I was thrilled to be part of. Not only did we all think this company had potential, Jenny Fielding, an esteemed judge, said something I couldn’t agree with more. As an angel investor, I invest in the team. She said she’s seen many ideas pivot which is typical so it has to be about the team and this was really a great team. I totally agree. A group of two women and two men coming together with different experiences. The idea is to create easy to use marketplaces for bloggers so that they can sell their products or users can sell their products to the end buyer. There would be a component so that these marketplaces would be on other sites besides the one that they posted on because it would be a large data base.

Bottom line, a great experience for all the people who went through the program. A win win for NYC as the program will continue here.

I particularly love this program because it gives individuals who are interested in the start-up world, but have day jobs, the ability to pivot their career by meeting other like minded individuals who are trying to change their lives too. The program takes place in the evening so it doesn’t take you away from the day job that pays the rent.


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About the guest blogger: Joanne Wilson is an advisor and investor in startups, including Curbed (Eater/Racked), Food52, Red Stamp, Catchafire, DailyWorth, Editd, Ricks Picks, Cacao Pietro, Editions 01, Hot Bread Kitchen,, Gotham Gym, The Moon Group and MOUSE. Her most successful venture is being married to her best friend Fred and raising her three kids, Jessica, Emily and Josh. Joanne blogs under the name Gotham Gal. Follow her on Twitter at @thegothamgal.