By Dennis Clemente
Is your company the world’s most innovative startup? In its quest to find out, Startup World has launched a pitching competition on a global scale with regional winners from 36 tech hub cities gunning for the grand prize in Silicon Valley late this year.
Last July 18, it was New York’s turn with 10 finalists presenting to an expert panel of judges. The international flavor of this startup tilt cannot be underestimated. Host Hermione Way, a tech journalist from the United Kingdom, announced the first three of her 10 presenters from France, Brazil and China, respectively.
New York’s finalists are Chefday, WeDemand, Lookboard, Now, Placemeter, Klickpicks, Makeably, Commune, Sketchfab and TextPride.
How much are they competing for? The grand prize package includes 3 month incubation period worth $30,000 at i/o Ventures; one year of Rackspace hosting worth up to $24,000; 5 million Echo real-time streams per month for one year worth $30,000, plus international media coverage.
Launched last December, French founder Julian Nackacha said Chefday is FreshDirect meets the FoodNetwork. If you like what you see on TV, Chefday provides you the pre-measured ingredients you need to cook the way it’s done by a great chef, complete with video instructions.
“We’re building an experience,” Nackacha said who has invested $500,000 already in the business and is looking forward to breaking even by September. To scale, Chefday looks forward to partnering with a major food company.
From Brazil, WeDemand is a social platform for crowdfunding and promoting concerts. Who do you want to perform near you? Raise funds so your favorite band can come perform in your city. Average crowdfunded concert reportedly netted $30,000 with a total of 48 crowdfunded concerts.
Founder Tiago Compagnoni aims to grow the business by engaging a big artist and by using its raised capital of $1 million to expand its footprint in the United States.
Asked about how it’s going to compete against ticketmasters.com, Compagnoni said WeDemand is going to rely on the long tail effect of his business.
Since when did wholesale become more design-oriented? Duy Huynh, Lookboard’s founder and CEO from China as well as former IBM software architect, is well on his way to convincing you it works.
“We partner with independent designers who are in the business of creating furniture, décor and accessories that are highly unusual and beautiful at the same time.” He sees home products as an $80 billion market for Lookboard.
How would you like to have a live city guide based on the crowdsourced photos? Ben Broca showed how his app, Now or getnowapp works as a discovery tool for local events with “live” images guiding you.
With over 500 photos taken every second on Instagram only, Broca said it can sustain itself as a living map. “It could even show you where celebrities are at the moment,” he said.
Now if you’re just too busy to shop for clothes, would you consider shopping for clothes you see on video? Klickpicks is a video production company that creates videos for fashion brands. Lulemon and Town & Shop are said to be clients.
The idea is to create a new breed of virtual shopping (tool) and create its own fashion advertising ecosystem in the process.
How would you like it if Placemeter can collect data about you and other people? Using publicly available video streams, the company aims to collect foot traffic data of people in public places. It will be indexing the world in real time and provide real-time insights, which brings the issue of privacy again.
It sounds impressive but “fail rate is historically high,” according to one judge. A consumer app is expected to be out soon, but this is clearly for retail stores and most likely for the government unless it has something better that people are not privy to.
It reportedly has partnerships with Walgreens and JetBlue, among others.
One thinks of Etsy with next presenter, Makeably, but co-founders Ryan Hayward and Anastasia Leng, former Google employees, offer custom-made products where Etsy has ready-made products. That leaves you some room to be part of the creative process with a maker or designer of, say, jewelry or arts and crafts
So how are they doing? “We’ve had a $10,000 run rate in the first six months,” Hayward said.
How do you get communities to rapidly scale initiatives in your neighborhood? Commune offers a mobile platform for creating the real-life changes and interactions you want to see in your neighborhood and city. It functions as a mobile neighborhood “bulletin board” that everyone can view and post events or initiatives to.
The best part about it is that it looks tidy and personalized where others have an excess of features. In its spare approach, it looks forward to having people collaborate on an idea or activity easily.
Where can you put all your 3D files? Sketchfab was inspired by the PS4 launch that wasn’t and decided to create a web service for publishing and displaying interactive 3D models—and what it promotes largely is how you don’t need a plugin, you just upload your model, embed and share accordingly. It has partnered with Kickstarter and Wix.
Last presenter was TextPride with Sean O’ Brien saying that the mobile application provides users with a platform to insert licensed images and logos from their favorite brands into their text, Twitter, Facebook and email messages.
“Our goal is to bring branding to the social messaging world in a way that has never been available,” O’ Brien said.
Currently, TextPride has 48 new brands to work with including the NBA and 111 licensing partners, among them Nascar.
The panel of expert judges present last July 18 was Harrison Weber (East Coast & Design Editor for The Next Web), Kevin Smith (Reporter, Business Insider), Elliot Tomaeno (Founder, AstrskPR), Jason Oshiokpekhai (Business Development, American Airlines), and Marvin Avilez (Founder, CEO VisualOps).
The grand prize winner will be crowned Startup World’s Global winner with three-month incubation period worth $30,000, 1 year of hosting worth up to $24,000 and 5 million real-time streams per month 1 year worth year worth $30,000. Regional prize winners will receive a subsidized flight to the Startup World Grand Finals in San Francisco to battle it out in front of a panel of expert judges and venture capitalists plus Silicon Valley tours, 6 months of hosting worth up to $3,000, one million real-time streams per month for 1 years worth $7,000 and 12 months of Tropo credits worth up to $12,000.