Smart tech in Kinsa thermometer, Augmate eyewear, Drop baking, Birdi monitor

Kinsa
Kinsa

By Dennis Clemente

The most common medical device, the thermometer, just got smarter, thanks to Kinsa. The FDA-approved smart thermometer can track temperatures and symptoms all right, but it does that by connecting its nifty wand to a smartphone’s earphone jack where–having downloaded the app– one can determine temperatures and symptoms. Over time, it hopes to gather better data and work with the public health sector in determining where illnesses are spreading.

Available now in some US retails stores such as CVS, the FDA-approved smart thermometer is the brainchild of Inder Singh, the former executive vice president of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Singh was at the Hardwired NYC meetup last November 11 at Digital along with three other presenters.

Clearly, Kinsa has thought of everything in its water-resistant wand and app. When it’s plugged in on a smartphone, a visual display of bubbles pop out for kids to enjoy the process of getting their temperatures checked.

Singh provided some tips and takeaways for those looking into retail:
• Go international early to get pre-payment + marketing support
• Go to Apple first and tell everyone Apple has stocked it
• Test in the “fake stores” some retailers have
• Rule of thumb: Wholesale price should be at least 4x your COGs, ideally six times,
especially if you have significant customer support costs
• Start packaging early. This is hard to get right. Retailer want to see your product upfront
• Get merchandising equation instead of going big fast
• Selling in is easy for very novel products.

The other presenter of the night was Pete Wassell of Augmate which has found effective applications for smart eyewear in enterprise, especially in agriculture, automotive, aviation, construction, manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical. Think bar code scanning, medical operations, professional care for animals. And yes, its platform works with wearables like Google Glass.

Ben Harris, founder and CEO of Adaptics and Mark Belinsky, founder and CEO of Birdi also presented their startups. Adaptics is the maker of the Drop, an iPad-connected kitchen scale for baking while Birdi is a smart air monitor. It monitors the air quality of your home, tracking dust, soot and other health dangers plus warns you about emergencies.

Drop Kitchen – Connected Scale and Recipe App from Get Drop on Vimeo.

With Drop, you can be a baker right away with its app and Bluetooth scale. How does it work? If you need to bake anything, put a bowl on top of a Bluetooth scale with its heat-resistant silicon top and use it to gauge and see your progress in the iPad app, as it gives you visual cues if you’re using the right recipe or amount of ingredients.
Tim Chang, partner at Mayfield Fund, spoke about the early stage VC firm’s investments and experience in the tech hardware space.

On tech hardware, he pointed out how startups in this space have more to think about when creating their product. “They have to think of the software and the hardware and how they need to connect with each other.”
Matt Turck of First Mark Capital hosted the meetup.

UK’s Simon Laker discusses US move to EMV, Apple Pay with NFC

nycmobilepayments pic

By Dennis Clemente

From the United Kingdom, Simon Laker of Consult Hyperion, a payments consultancy firm, has since called New York his home since May, especially as he gears up for what is happening next year. The United States is adopting a more secure credit card, EMV (Europay Master Card Visa).

This was the talk last October 23 at NY Moble Payments at the ER Accelerator office in midtown Manhattan; Cardflight CEO Derek Webster served as host.

It’s a timely issue as 80 countries are also in various stages of EMV chip migration with issuers including chips in bank cards and merchants moving to EMV-compliant terminals to increase security and reduce fraud resulting from counterfeit, lost and stolen cards.

The U.S. is one of the last countries to adopt the technology, because of the required payment system change for banks and the astronomical migration costs. Once it rolls in the States, startups may be quicker to react compared to big companies.

“In U.K, we have to 5 to 10 banks with 10 to 15 issuers. In the U.S., you have(hundreds) of banks with gazillion issuers,” Laker explained.

The traditional magnetic stripe card costs about $0.25. The chip card can cost $1.25 to $2.50, according to ROAM, a provider of mobile point-of-sale readers and software.

The US move to EMV can mean big changes on a global scale. “US payments represent 25 percent of the total payment (in the world) with 50 percent of fraud (incidents) also happening in the States,” he said, referring to how it’s been the target of hackers recently.

What can EMV do? Prevalent in Europe, it can reportedly prevent the card thefts that happened recently in some chain stores. “Once the US (migrates to it), then the use of magnetic stripe (credit cards will go away),” he said.

Magnetic stripe cards are easy to replicate.

Laker also talked about the anticipated growth in the use of NFC (near-field communications) –enabled mobile devices for mobile contactless payments, especially with Apple Pay making use of it.

Asked 3 years from now what role will Apple and NFC play, his nonchalant response drew chuckles. “Apple Pay will still exist. Apple knows how to do things well.”

Laker is excited about his company’s HCE Bootcamp on November 19 this year in New York. Visit http://www.chyp.com/what-we-do/hce-bootcamp

The agenda will include:

• Status update on proximity payments from front-line experts;
• Technical architectures for NFC transactions;
• Using NFC for payment transactions in physical stores, online, in-app and for transit
• Understand HCE and the ways that it can be exploited;
• A detailed, practical walkthrough of a working prototype application for iPhone and for Android

‘Think jobs, pains and gains, not build, measure and learn’–Osterwalder

osterwalder

By Dennis Clenente

In the startup world, who doesn’t know Alex Osterwalder, the lead author of the global best-seller, Business Model Generation, the handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers? Osterwalder invented the “Business Model Canvas,” the strategic management tool for designing, testing, building and managing business models.

Last October 22, Startup Grind in New York City hosted a brief live Skype interview with Osterwalder from Switzerland and his co-author Yves Pigneur about their latest book, Value Proposition Design. Host Bob Dorf, co-author of The Startup Owner’s Manual, gave a short introduction of Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas before introducing him and Pigneur, saying how it was initially developed for big companies but was discovered and used more by startups through the years.

Taking a cue from that, Osterwalder, speaking from Switzerland, began his talk talking about how the once-mighthy Kodak fell by the wayside. “It failed to create a value proposition for the digital camera.” Now even big companies use the canvas.

In the new book, Osterwalder expands on his canvas concept to include Value Proposition Design (VPD), a guide for creating products and services that customers want

Determining customer needs certainly takes precedence here. For him, it’s about relentlessly taking a customer perspective, listening to customers than selling to them.

It’s not surprising to hear this from him, since he has utmost respect for Steve Blank’s work on customer development. For him, building first is a waste when the way to go about conjuring up your idea is to think about what he calls “jobs, pains and gains,” NOT build, measure and learn.”

“There’s a danger with build measure and learn. You do this you start in the worst possible way to test your ideas,” he said.

To avoid this, he suggests using the Value Map to determine the jobs, pains and gains. They come in a square and circle.

So we have come from the rectangle in the Business Model Canvas to the square (value proposition) and circle (customer development). In this manner, he says in the book, you (see and) achieve fit when your value map meets your customer profile.

“(But) you will want to test the circle first before the square,” he advised.

There is more to explore in this colorful book, including how it states these statements plainly yet clearly, “The Business Model Canvas helps you create value for your business. The Value Proposition Canvas helps you create value for your customer.”

Osterwalder says he didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with the book. VPD goes “hand in hand with the Business Model Canvas.”

The important thing is to turn your ideas into value proposition prototypes with the many available practical tools offered in the book.

Why add more tools?

Who wouldn’t believe Osterwalder when he says, “I believe (why) a surgeon (needs) many tools than just a Swiss knife.” No pun intended even if he’s Swiss.

Still, wondering if the new book is for you, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are you overwhelmed by the task of true creation?
Frustrated by unproductive meetings and misaligned teams?
Involved in bold shiny projects that blew up?
Disappointed by the failure of a good idea?

If so, Osterwalder believes Value Proposition Design will help you in the following ways:

Understand the patterns of value creation
Leverage the experience and skills of your team
Avoid wasting time with ideas that don’t work
Design, test, and deliver what customers want

Powerfelt claims it can power portable devices like the iPhone

uls-ener

By Dennis Clemente

International ThermoDyne’s Powerfelt bagged the most votes at the Ultra Light Startup presentation of eight energy startups that presented last October 9 at Microsoft, as it claimed to answer the ever-increasing need for clean power, especially in portable devices.

“Powerfelt is a thin material that harvests heat and motion and converts energy into useable electricity,” Paul Solitario said. “You can use it to charge your iPhone.”

The other startup presenters were Shailendra Suman of SmartCharge, Burt Hamner of Titan Ocean Energy; Jason Force of E-Mow; Ariel Fan of Grid Symphony; Raj Lakhiani of Athena Power; Graham Smith of Open Energy Group and John Jabara of Savenia Home Ratings.

The panelists who gave their critique and feedback were John Freer, manager of External Technology Initiatives at GE Global Research; Dave Kirkpatrick, managing director of SJF Ventures; William Lese, managing director of Braemar Energy Ventures and Willem Rensink – GameChanger of Shell.
ThermoDyne’s prospective customers for Powerfelt cut across various industries– mobile electronics, construction, transportation, textiles, government.

Asked if it could narrow down its intended market, Solitario said they could focus on remote sensors as it offers portable “electricity” anytime anywhere without batteries or the grid. “We have no moving parts.”

Investor’s advice to Solitario: Focus (on a specific market); find where the material can be unique; find an application where it’s available; understand how product competes in the landscape; study lifespan with a device.

Suman of SmartCharge was also one of crowd favorites. His successful Kickstarter campaign launched the world’s first LED light bulb that you can turn on or off from the same wall switch even during a power outage. It provides four hours of continued use. Battery is reportedly 300 cycles. When using the light bulb normally, it will reportedly last for three years.

The panel was impressed to hear that SmartCharge is selling already at $34.95. It started shipping 5,000 units in 32 countries last month with 100,000 units of soft orders. His gross margin is 20 percent of cost.

Suman hopes to target homes owners, small businesses, the direct online sales sector as well as wholesale to big box retailers such as Amazon.com, Duke Energy, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Investors’ advice to Suman: Work on IP; introduce more product(s); look for other distribution channels to accelerate the business; find out where it goes on store shelves; and figure out positioning of the product.

Titan Ocean Energy’s Hanner presented the mobile platform for office offshore wind power and drinking water production already installed in Sweden. A panelist said, “You’re on the right track in Europe.”

Globally patented, the mobile jack-up platform reportedly supports 6MW + offshore wind turbines and met towers ad desalination systems.

Investors’ advice to Hanner: Make sure you’re protected; Target corporations; repurpose existing rig; keep it light; laser-focus on costs

E-Mow came next with Jason Force talking about its self-powered drone bioenergy harvester which creates renewable grass fuel pellets at low cost. It seeks revenue from pelleted agricultural products.

“It will be a significant cost reduction again existing methods,” Force said who’s looking forward to it as a build-and-operate model.

Prototype challenges for him would be the maintenance of this self-powered technology

Investors’ advice to Force: Work with a big player like John Deere so you can market faster; powering it by biogas is not the best way to go about it; look at all the pieces you want to integrate; and determine MVP, being a relatively complex engineering system.

Ariel Fan presented Grid Symphony, an intelligent brain for the electric grid to prevent utilities and priority clients from power meltdowns like Hurricane Sandy. It emerged from Columbia University’s machine learning lab.
“It’s not an emergency product. We want to create an optmization product,” she said.

Utilities are targeted customers but right now, it is looking at system integrators. The distribution strategy aimed at selling directly to enterprise smart/medium customers.

Investors’ advice to Fan: Survey how many people will use it; think how this business scales; test in some places like Hawaii to get customer exposure before scaling; work with system integrators, because they see everything; make sure you have a partner; explore idea in business model canvas.

Athena Power has developed a self-powered wireless fault sensor for underground distribution networks. It is hard to find faults, but Lakhiani is confident about its startup based on its four-year engine and his experience.
Still, he thinks it’s better if Athena works with utilities. “Underground (networks) are tricky.”

Investors’ advice to Lakhiani: Know the sensor market to make sure you get plenty of pilots; score early with Exelon as a demonstrable result; (recognize) it’s a timely product to bring to electric utility to the world; (think of it as a) unique entry point to get data

The last two presenters were Smith of Open Energy Group and Jabara of Savenia Home Ratings.
The former is an online marketplace for renewable energy investments.

“We offer accredited investors direct access to higher return, lower risk, fixed income products by directly funding the construction and operation of commercial renewable energy power projects in the States,” he said. This includes solar projects.

Investors’ advice to Smith: Make loans that banks don’t give; look for a partner when it’s time to add deep pockets, focus on residential (market)

Savenia Home Ratings helps home sellers unlock the value of home efficiency upgrades to differentiate, sell faster and capture more value.

“Energy auditors focus on the negative. We focus on the positive,” Jabara said. “We’re CARFAX for home efficiency.”
Asked if it has a method, he said the company validates the rating through documentation. “Customers do most of the work; we check (the work).”

Investors’ advice to Jabara: The platform can be bigger, think of other groups doing the rating; and get accurate data from third-party source.

This time, Graham Lawlor of Ultra Light Startup hosted the meetup with Tim Hoffman of Cleantech Open.

David Tisch talks about his Spring e-commerce app, startups’ key to success

david tisch

By Dennis Clemente

Last October 8, Orrick hosted a fireside chat with David Tisch, former managing director of TechStars NY, co-founder of BoxGroup and startup investor at the WeWork offices in Soho West.

The chat centered on his new Instagram-like mobile e-commerce startup Spring where he sits as chair, and his former role as managing director of TechStars.

Spring was funded under Series A by Thrive Capital, Groupe Arnault and Box Group. Other investors included Founder Collective, Google Ventures, SV Angel, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

“We believe buying things should be simple,” a listing for Spring on AngelList says. “We are on a mission to build a platform that connects the people who make products directly with consumers who love them.”

Available only on iOS, Spring aims to make the best experience for buying things on your phone or tablet.
Tisch co-founded Spring with his brother Alan Tisch, Ara Katz, and former Googler Octavian Costache with talents from Bergdorf Goodman, Cannon Tekstar Hodge and former fashion director of ShopBop, Kate Ciepluch. The other team members came from Fab, Beachmint, Google, Foursquare, Ralph Lauren, and DVF.

“We launched our company with 32 staff. That’s insane. But each startup is different,” he admitted.

Tisch was quite candid in the chat which was unfortunately marred throughout by a dysfunctional microphone, obscuring some key points. Still, we managed to hear some gems for startups:

RESEARCH
On day one of your startup, do research. The best companies take a lot of time with their idea and research before they start building

MARKET
Have a real understanding of the market

COMPETITION
If you have a similar startup with another and you don’t have the culture (in place), you lost already

SECRET SAUCE
Ask yourself why you are the best person for an idea
The most important for a startup to have—leadership; (it’s crucial) if you can convince people to join you
Those who are ready will be able to accelerate
A startup is rebellious by nature yet so many founders spend a lot of time conforming

OUTSOURCING
You can’t outsource if it requires local discovery and it’s one of the differentiators

DEALING WITH INVESTORS
Food is a great leveler when talking to investors
Build real relationships that will last years; find 5 people not 150 people, and not because they are on a list
They are (investors) not going to take you if you are not ready

FUNDING
We (investors) look at those who have built stuff before. We have to see something, especially (one that matches) your background
You can get money from banks with no equity
When do you need to ask money? If you need to accelerate faster. Money is fuel
How much money do you need? Based it on your milestones
We (investors) don’t even need to see the idea; we don’t even need to see the product—(we look at) the team and the market, because they are easier to identify
Your Idea must match startups with investors

GROWTH SECTORS
Healthcare and automotive sectors will grow

CONTENT
Create your own story. Engagement is key

SUCCESS OF SPRING
As an entrepreneur, he is confident it will succeed but there’s always “my awkward Jewish nervous self.”

Science writer Steven Johnson talks about ‘How We Got to Now’

steven johnson

By Dennis Clemente

Steven Johnson, author of “How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World,” likes to tell little-known success stories, sometimes or precisely because they are overshadowed by other bigger inventions or innovation and because people thought little of their connection with each other.

At the Huge UX meetup last September 30, for instance, the bestselling science writer cited the printing press as an example of how it was also connected to other inventions. When the printing press produced books, it also revealed human farsightedness that gave rise to lens-making for eyeglasses and later the telescope and microscope.

“People didn’t know they were farsighted until they read from a print that was too small to read. The discovery of the printing press created a demand for spectacles,” he said.

Johnson’s talk was about his book and his new PBS series this October about the history of technology and how gaining such historical perspective can certainly help us derive insights from it, especially in today’s startup world.

Johnson told one story after another from his latest book. Another interesting story was from an interesting man called Clarence Birdseye who got the idea for flash-freezing from ice-fishing. He discovered eating fish frozen after a days to be edible. Where most of us would just sleep after eating, he bothered to ask why the fish tasted good. He would follow little trails (in his mind), experimenting with other food, even vegetable, before coming up with an industrial product that made refrigeration possible.

“(Birdseye) was just curious (even if he had) no clearly defined path,” he said, as most of his examples confirmed. The other key points in Johnson’s talk included the following, paraphrasing here:

• We are in a complicated dance with innovation. We’re led by what technology is allowing us to do. It has flexibility
• When you are trying to get genuinely new ideas and pushing the envelope, you can have these crucial blind spots, because you are working at the edges of possibilities.
• Conscious of patent protection will only make you build walls within yourself
• Focus is not a big deal to him. You want to be a little distracted
• Invention overlaps with innovation but it’s almost the same thing
• When you are pushing the envelope, you get extraordinary insights.
• Don’t assume that technology has its own deterministic logic
• Ideas become imaginable at a certain point in time

Johnson is also the author of “Where Good Ideas Come From” and “Everything Bad is Good for You.” He is one of the foremost experts on the intersection between science, technology and personal experience. He recently gave a presentation at TED Talks.

Hatchery is back with no-nonsense feedback to startups

hatchery-yao

By Dennis Clemente

You better be prepared when you present at “The Hachery: Are you serious?” meetup, because even if there are so many similar meetups in the city, it doesn’t fail in one regard: giving serious, constructive feedback.

The secret to its no-nonsense approach probably lies in two things. It has fewer startup demonstrations—four this time, as one presenter didn’t show up. Second, startups have five minutes to pitch to the panel of investors, usually four or them. In the startup demo world, the five-minute presentation format is, of course, an eternity and for the panel listening, just more information for them to give serious feedback that startups truly need to hear.

It also helped that The Hatchery’s first meetup last September 25–after taking the summer off–had the candid Kamran Elahian talking about his decades-long investing experience. The other panelists were Jeff Neu of B2B Ventures and Gregg Young of NY Angels, respectively.

The investors were unanimous in saying how all the presenters need to review their financial projections. Elahian spoke at length about how in the interest of time, presenters should not do three-year financial projections, believing this to be unreliable based on his experience.

“Value is in the eye of the beholder…not in the spreadsheets,” Elahian, talking about an unspoken reality in this business. “Make (investors) like you.” He added: “Establish value then negotiate.”

With over 29 years of experience in the tech industry, Elahian has co-founded 10 hugely successful companies. As the chair and co-founder of Global Catalyst Partners, he has invested in multi-stage companies in the United States, China, Japan and Israel.

The first presenter, Aspirevest, connects individual investors to financial advisors and asset managers in the alternative investments space pay per connection auction and data social feeds.

CEO Daniel Roth sees a $1 billion opportunity, especially with “the financial world (being) 10 years behind the internet.” He is looking to raise $750,000 with a milestone in 18 months.

With 3 US patents, bio-medical startup Synchropet is also seeking $750,000 in its variation on PET scanning for animals. Working prototypes are called rat cap and pet insert MRI It is competing in a $235 million by doing something smaller and cheaper.

Each unit could cost $295,000. Beta products are expected to be done in December, delivery by the end of the summer of 2015 and sales by the end of 2015. It’s a high ticket product, especially being in the hardware category. “Make sure you are in the cash flow,” one of the investors said.

“I have about 15 customers for the rat cap from Europe,” said founder and CEO Marc Alessi.

The rise of personalized medicine is something that Bridget Osetinsky, co founder and CEO of Hyperfine, is hoping to capture with its Cornerstone tool. It aims to redefine the landscape of data search tools by introducing intelligence algorithms that will help in knowledge extraction in hospitals initially.

For $20,000 a year, doctors can also reportedly use it among patients using on-premise solutions and later, in the cloud. It is seeking $3 million and would have to figure out issues of liability and confidentiality.

CEO and founder Chris McBride presented Alta Editions, a digital platform for premium cooking content as a way to solve hard-to-find free recipes online.

“Cookbooks represent a $3 billion global market,” he said as he noted how Cooks Illustrated may have the American market but not the global market.

What is it going to do different? Re-launching early 2015, it will reportedly have a more personalized (approach) based on skill level, dietary needs, food purchases and user tastes. Founded in 2011, it faces an uphill battle. Content space is really difficult.

GoPRit and University Beyond were initially scheduled to present.

Startups in mobility: charters, electric charging and smart automation present mobility concepts to BMW

bmwi

By Dennis Clemente

You know the brand behind the ultimate driving machine? BMW is also investing in startups under BMW I Ventures. And since it’s in the automobile business, you’ll have to be in the area of mobility services like the startups that presented last September 23—Buster, EverCharge, SmartCar and TransitScreen.

Founded in 2012 to help groups and charter operators find each other, Buster might as well be the Uber for group traveling. “It’s a marketplace where customers can discover, compare and book group transportation online,” said founder Matthew Kochman who also offered a similar service to fellow students back at Cornell University.

Reportedly an $11.4-billion market, Buster is for everyone who wants to book private group charters, whether for a school trip, company excursion or fun weekend getaway. Average price per booking is 1,000

With over 20,000 charter industry operators, Buster is reportedly aggregating bus companies and aims to offer centralized fleet services as well as discounts on insurance, maintenance and financing.
.
Next presenter, EverCharge is an electric vehicle charger from your parking space or for apartments and condos. You just tap your access card and plug in for EverCharge to automatically authenticate your vehicle and log your usage for billing purposes.

Minimum charge for EverCharge’s membership is about $40 for 500 miles.

From California, SmartCar is automation for connected vehicles. It is a web service that connects to internet-connected cars wirelessly over a cellular network. You should be able to configure and monitor your vehicle’s automation settings from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Founder Sahas Katta talked about the many features of its app. If you want to have the perfect temperature in your, for instance, you can set a schedule and Smartcar will automatically begin cooling or heating your vehicle. It is also reportedly energy efficient.

It can also reportedly learn your driving patterns and automatically create a schedule to charge your car at the right time.

Smartcar is designed for the Tesla but it is working to have connected vehicles from other manufacturers in the near future.

A different startup from all the rest was TransitScreen. Matt Caywood recognizes the growth of smart cities, so he’s concentrating on real-time display of all transportation options at a specific location. This includes digital display ads.

The last presenter, Valet Anywhere, hopes to offer on-demand parking valet service for cities. Right now, it is only offering its service in New York City, the $25 billion parking market. “We hope to solve parking,” said founder Robert Kao.
How does it work? It assigns a uniformed vetted valet who greets you and parks your car for you. Valet also returns the car to you…wherever you may be in the city. Actual parking is said to be included in the price.

“How do you scale?” That was the frequently asked question by the guest panelists Matt Turck, managing director at First Mark Capital; Chris Thomas, founder and partner at Fontinalis; and Ulrich Quay, managing director at BMW i Ventures.

Jason Klein explains angel work; Sailo offers you a boat to rent

jason klein

By Dennis Clemente

How many times have you seen investors make actual Powerpoint presentations? Another question, how many of them have you seen present in front of a big audience in an engaging way—smiling at that? Even more pointedly, when did you last get a great handshake, smiling again and with steady eye contact?

In a job that requires lots of patience, it’s refreshing to see angel investor Jason E. Klein do all these in front of all the aspiring entrepreneurs at the ERA Roundtable last September 18 at Microsoft. Last time this blogger met a smiling investor it was Fred Wilson.

In the grand scheme of things, of course, you wouldn’t probably care if they were stone-faced and taciturn as long as your startup gets funded. Still, it certainly works for Klein and his investments.

Klein is founder and CEO of On Grid Ventures LLC, an advisory and investment firm in digital media, marketing and information. He also is chairman of the Harvard Business School (HBS) Alumni Angels of Greater New York, a member of New York Angels ad several NYC-based incubators.

Klein was at the ERA Roundtable meetup to give his feedback to the startup presenters who can also learn a thing or two about presenting with a PowerPoint deck, even just to show the landing page and twitter handles of their startups—the better to promote them and engage attendees.

Klein talked more in behalf of the HBS Alumni Angels, explaining how its members invest on their own individual accord:
• They invest in what they know
• They seek ROI
• They do diligence (20 hours of work, background check)
• They build a portfolio. They want to build a range of investments
• They want to add value

More important perhaps for startups is what HBS Alumni Angels looks for when investing in a startup. Here’s what Klein outlined:

A game changer, preferably. If not, then a key piece of a game changer that could be a part of a greater solution.
Competitive edge. Why you will win vs. your competition? Assuming the competition wakes up, how do you defend your turf?
Angel and entrepreneur-friendly terms. There are sample term sheets at gust.com. The valuation should be realistic, given the stage need for additional rounds of capital, and potential exit scenarios.
The CEO. It looks for vision, leadership qualities, uncanny drive, intelligence, smarts, results-focus, and high professional standards and ethics
Value added. Having overseen and grown companies, it wants to help grow yours. Respecting your time and full plate, your involvement will vary over time based on circumstances. A New York City metro area location is preferred. To apply, visit https://gust.com/organizations/hbs-new-york/apply

“Typically, I or more investors become investors,” he said, clarifying again that the HBSAANY as a group makes no recommendations for investment.

In the presentation of the startups, Sailo stood among the other three presenters with a simple but very promising idea—rent a boat from the owner. It makes sense when you think about how many boats supposedly sit idle: 95 percent.

Before you worry about who’s going to steer the ship, Sailo is offering what others have left out: Having a captain of your choice for your peace of mind.

“You need someone who actually knows what he is doing—the captain,” said co-founder Delphine Braas who is looking to raise $500,000 to expand. “We also vet the boats and the insurance.”

Braas assured that Sailo can cover a trip up to a million dollars. If you list your boat, an insurance provider will look into it. Captains have to upload their license.”

Klein was receptive to the idea, suggesting partnering with Active Captain and asking how she is going to scale the business. “We are looking forward to doing a lot of marketing…offering loyalty perks and more.”

Sailo is available in the tri-state area with plans to launch Florida in the Fall.

The other presenters were Hello Fang, Kidklass and CthruNutrition.

De Blasio introduces NY’s first CTO, Minerva Tantoco

Minerva Tantoco
Minerva Tantoco

By Dennis Clemente

“New York’s tech story is an underrated story,” said New York mayor Bill De Blasio who graced the NY Tech Meetup last September 9 to introduce “one more thing” on the day of Apple’s big event: New York’s first-ever chief technology officer in Minerva Tantoco.

De Blasio is right. Ask New Yorkers if they know what’s happening in NY’s tech scene and it’s highly unlikely they will know about it. If you drop $128 billion in the conversation, you’ll get an incredulous look. That is actually the money poured into New York’s tech economy last year. While we’re at it, also tell New Yorkers that the city is the fastest-growing tech scene in the world and you’ll get bored looks directed at you.

The tech scene is not exactly a mainstream topic like news and entertainment. But at the NY Tech Meetup, it’s up front and center and fills up 600 seats easily. And yes, it doesn’t help that New Yorkers are not easy to please as well.

With De Blasio and Tantoco, Tuesday’s meetup was also one of its longest events., exceeding two hours on top of its show-and-tell format: 9 presenters and one (sometimes two or three) hack of the month that divides people: Those who think the show’s length is just about right and those who complain how by the seventh presenter, they have mentally checked out or left the building.

The startup presenters were Bubble, Dashlane, Heat Seek NYC, Hopscotch, Knotable, Makr, QuickMVP, Tengrade and The Campus Job. The hack of the month was bitshift.

It was a serendipitous day for Heat Seek NYC. With De Blasio at the event, the team of Heat Seekers asked the city to support its cause: provide a thermometer to residents with no heat in the winter. “It affects 200,000 people in the city and is the no. 1 complaint at 311. We look forward to delivering 100 sensors in buildings.”

De Blasio welcomed the startup’s idea, saying he will present it to the housing authority.

Two startups offered new ways of programming: Bubble is a new way of programming web and mobile apps without code, while Hopscotch offers a fun way of programming.

On the same day Apple announced Apple Pay, Dashlane took to the stage to assure the audience there are other brands and devices for it to compete against Apple Pay.

How do you boost your productivity? Knotable aims to lessen the noise in your email threads. Another startup, QuckMVP, can test a new business idea, reportedly in just five minutes. What about a way to boost students’ productivity? The Campus Job is a marketplace for students to find jobs. Another presenter, TenGrade uses a tornado rating system in its reviews from “reliable” sources—friends.

Makr is relying on its user experience to get people to use its app, a tool for customizing products (eg. corporate gifts, T-shirts), design and have them printed or manufactured.

Bitshift, the hack of the month, is a semantic source code search engine.