Category Archives: Apps

Tiggly, Dweet.io among standouts at NY Tech Meetup demo night

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By Dennis Clemente

How do you pack in 12 startup demos in two hours? Last November 3, the NY Tech Meetup did it again with Tiggly and Dweet.io among the standouts of the night at Skirball Theater at NYU.

Every parent sees their kids using digital devices more, which also means less physical playtime for them. Recently funded for $4 million, Tiggly has found a way to merge both physical play with the digital world in its tablet app. It has developed game apps and physical objects used in tandem with tablets to help educate kids using conductor silicon. The startup has clearly found a sweet spot between a toy and an app.

CEO Peter Semmelhack presented dweet.io, a Twitter for things. You dweet, say, a public swimming pool temperature or air quality in a city. It’s Twitter for machines, sensors, devices, robots and gadgets, enabling data to become easily accessible through a web-based RESTful API.

Built from day one for commercial and enterprise deployments, a dweet payload can reach up to 2,000 characters. It’s public by default but you can make dweets private by purchasing a lock which are then applied to thing names. Each locks costs $0.99.

It only holds a thing’s last 500 dweets for up to 24 hours, then it’s history. But you can build a connector to your data store of choice such as Dropbox, AWS and Tempo-DB.

Next presenter, Admitted.ly positioned itself like how online dating works. It is a free platform that helps high school students find their dream colleges and universities, connect with mentors, and get accepted.

A “graduate” of ER Accelerator, Admitted.ly works as an outreach for high school students and guidance counselors but in a fun, engaging way. It even has walkability directions among other useful guides when choosing a school.

Another presenter, BugLabs, is a software company that focuses on providing easy enterprise application development tools for the Internet of Things.

Keezy’s presentation was perhaps the first unspoken one in NY Tech Meetup’s decade-long history. The demo showed how the music software works using two if its music apps, Keezy and Keezy Drummer for iOS, easily that even kids can play around with them. You can record different sounds on Keezy but the Drummer is just one kit.

Not all presentations are crowd-pleasing but some marketing people listened intently on how Offerpop works to create marketing engagement platforms for today’s social and mobile consumers—and how it helps the best brands, retailers and agencies in the world connect, engage and convert consumers.

Launched last September 29, Parcel offers off-hours delivery service in New York (not including Queens) for only $5 (not heavier than 30 pounds, no higher or longer than 2 feet). You can select a one-hour delivery window.
Other presenters include Simple Machine, crafter of gaming experiences and stories like The Outcast as well as SquareSpace which now integrates Getty Images in its CMS platform for people to buy photos to use directly on their sites.

Waywire Networks talked about how its curating all the videos to make it easy for everyone to find the videos based on their interests. Each channel is authored and “highly niched.” It hosts content and is currently looking for curators
The Hacks of the Month were Calcash, an 8-bit online arithmetic battle game that makes learning and solving problems fun, accessible, and competitive; NewsFeel, which graphs the New York Times articles on any topic based on sentiment and lastly, Nodeflow, a just-in-time synchronous Javascript compiler that makes Node.js development easier.

Code for America summit recaps presented at BetaNYC

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By Dennis Clemente

BetaNYC recapped some of the best presentations from last month’s Code for America summit (CfA) last October 15 at Microsoft Civic in midtown Manhattan. The CfA summit is an annual gathering of smart government and civic technology practitioners.

Setting the civic tone of the night was Peter Shanley who asked the civic innovators in the audience to leverage people power in their respective projects. “Technology is not the answer. For issues of poverty, there’s not an app for that.”

Some presentations included Vasudha Reddy’s project on how to use social media to identify unreported complaints and outbreaks of food-borne illnesses in New York City.

Reddy said New York City has 24,000 restaurants and 15 food retailers with 2 out 3 New Yorkers eating out at least once a week. It receives 3,000 complains via the NYC complaint line.

While investigating an outbreak, noted illness complaints were posted on Yelp, but not on hotline 311. This resulted in a collaborative effort with Yelp in terms of extracting keywords, detecting temporal statements and multiple illness reports. Further studies would include Twitter.

David Moore talked about how to keep tabs on your local city council with Councilmatic, now in Chicago and Philadelphia and soon in New York. It quickly informs you about a city council’s actions.

Matt Hampel talked about Transitmix, a simple transit sketching tool for transit agencies and urban planners or armchair planners. It allows you to better design transit routes and pin down the cost of running a bus line in chosen routes. Rail line designs should be in the offing soon.

Randy Meech and Mike Cunningham talked how their company Mapzen provides the back-end work for Transitmix. “As you drag the routes, we’re running it on our servers. We have geocoding vector rendering.”

A Detroit Water Project was also presented as a successful case. It’s about matching people in Detroit to 8,000 + donors for direct water bill help. Over 300,000 Detroit residents face water shutoff due to past due water bills exacerbated by Detroit’s ongoing economic woes. It has raised $575,000 from 8,200 donors.

Since 2009, BetaNYC has been the civic technology and open government vanguard. It has worked with elected officials to engage NYC’s technology community as well as help pass transformative open government legislation, and have supported NYC’s civic oriented startups. BetaNYC’s network of civic-minded volunteers contributes their skills toward digital platforms for local government and community service.

Editonthefly is crowd-pleaser at NY Tech Meetup

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By Dennis Clemente

How can you tell if your startup is going to be the crowd-pleaser at the NY Tech Meetup? Every month, almost like clockwork, the last presenter gets the most applause. Of course, it doesn’t mean your startup is the best or the most promising among all the usual nine startup demonstrations.

Last October 6, Fly Labs presented last but came first on top of people’s minds at the after party, as people talked about its iPhone app Editonthefly, which lived up to its name as a fast way to edit videos, literally on the fly. It’s only available on the iPhone (not available on Android yet), because the team focused on “perfecting” its cool features.

The demo showed how it keeps cuts interesting. Each cut stimulates the viewer with a change of perspective or a change of scenery. You just tap to cut. For dissolves, you make the videos dreamy, nostalgic or magical just by swiping. By tapping two videos at once, you get a split screen that allows you to compare them. You can add music and voiceover, too.

The other presenters were Emozia, which is developing technology that enables machines and software to understand and respond to human emotion. It can reportedly tell which “zipcode is really feeling (something).”

Still want another dating app? There’s Glimpse. It matches you with another person via your Instagram photos. Yes, photos, not likes or dislikes but just photos.

“Have you used the product personally?” a woman asked, which prompted a crowd-pleaser of a response, “I use it all the time.”

KuaiBoard turns your keyboard into your clipboard as you type text quicker.

Mondevices introduced Monbaby for monitoring babies. It’s a wearable baby monitor in a smart button that tracks your child’s breathing, movement and sleep patterns on an iPhone/Android app.

This could actually work for everyone, not just babies.

Two other presenters were Partake, which claims to be the easiest way for couples to share expenses as well as PowerToFly, a social platform that connects women in tech to great jobs at high-growth companies.

The latter’s mission is to give women more jobs. The site has a staff of 22 remote locations in 7 countries for faster work cycle.

Shyp, for its part, claims it is the easiest way to send anything, anywhere. It can reportedly lower your shipping cost, because it has a machine that allows packaging items to the precise size of the item. It delivers around Manhattan up to 96th St and in Brooklyn. What? No Queens again.

That same night, IBM selected the Scaffold to compete against other startups.

The site aims to help you discover your leadership style. You take a short quiz and a virtual coach generates customized insights and suggestion how you can become a great leader. Its virtual coach will also send personalized advice, weekly tips and helpful resources to guide you.

A background in organizational psychology helped the team answer questions about the site’s legitimacy.

The hack of the month came from Yin Aphinyanaphongs who showed the results of alcohol intake using Twitter for a specific period of time. It’s not scientific but it clearly showed some interesting insights that can help in terms of monitoring policy changes and the behavioral effect of alcohol.

Yin’s study considered the text categorization, labeled tweets and learning algorithm. His next step is to prove his study over time periods, especially on weekends. Yin wrote about 400 lines of code using R and Python.

Storytelling in app world needs both Agile and Waterfall

brooklyndesignBy Dennis Clemente

Does the Agile methodology work in storytelling? If you ask Brian Kelly of Small Planet Digital, a full service mobile agency with 57 apps in the Apple Store, he thinks storytelling needs both Agile and Waterfall.

Using TV series as a case study, Kelly argued how Agile alone is not enough. “A pilot is the MVP, the episode the sprint and the season the version. Nobody writes the season(s) upfront.”

Stressing this point, he said, “When Agile works, it works but we’re often hired to tell stories and create new narratives. And agile is not really good for telling these great emotional stories.”

Kelly was one of three presenters at the Brooklyn Mobile Designers meetup along with
Refinery 29’s UX director Eben Levy and senior UX designer Juan Sanchez as well as Luke Miller, formerly of Yahoo and whose energetic speaking voice, will do him well in his incarnation as a mentor at General Assemb.ly.

Both Levy and Sanchez talked about the lessons they’ve learned in mobile design. Some of the key learnings they shared:

• Never assume they’re going to use (a feature)
• Consistency of experience is important
• White space is part of our background
• The problems you face may not be the interactive but how you need to diversify interface points
• Work closely with data analysts, to (design) in an honest way
• The biggest thing for us is the monetization of mobile
• Challenge is how to balance advertising needs vs. user needs
• It uses an internal tool to test

Using a newsfeed as case study, Miller advised people to take these three points to heart: usability, pagination and universal app for mobile and tablets. He stresses how it’s wrong to use a product person (internal) as test user.

Miller talked about the tools he has used. At Yahoo Finance, Miller used Hype. For interaction, he now uses a new tool called Pixate. “(The latter is) almost object-oriented programming, not timeline based, and with no coding.”

He urges designers to use data collection. “It’s good for hypothesis.”

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

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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.
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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.

How not to overdo on your site or app’s features

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By Dennis Clemente

If studies indicate 50 percent of a product’s features go unused, how do you make sure you don’t overdo it? The answer is quite obvious: You need user testing. What’s less obvious is how you go about this process.

At the Kaplan Center last September 22, The Agile/Lean Practitioners group brought back Danielle Tomson of the Occum Group and Steven Cohn of Validately to discuss various ways of gaining user insights from the prototyping stage.

Tomson said there are three types of user tests: desirability, usability and feasibility.

In terms of desirability, she said it’s important to interview, observe, survey and A/B test. When interviewing, ask for open question, making sure to dig deep.

“Instead of telling the user what specially needs to be done, give them a task,” she said. “Ask the user what he expects to happen. What’s in it for them?”

Breaking it down, asks the what, when and how questions. Does the user want to use it? Would they use it? How would they use it? When is it essential in the early phase and in creating new features on old products? How is the minimum viable service (.i.e. test the service before the product, figure out the interviews, surveys, paper prototyping)

Quantity is not always quality when it comes to number of users. Tomson adheres to Jacob Nielsen’s five-user test method: test more users if they are in a highly different group (egg. 5 students and 5 teachers). Read more here http://www.nngroup.com/articles/why-you-only-need-to-test-with-5-users/

As for usability, ask what does the product fulfill in the user’s needs? Why and why not? Do the features or UI/UX enable them to do so? Does the product do what you intended? Figure out how what tools to track behavior.

As for the feasibility part, ask how this feature can achieve business goals?

Constantly validate, but Tomson says it’s also important to keep two things in mind: the goal and hypothesis. “A goal is something you hope to achieve—what do you want the behavior to be? A hypothesis is something you think will happen—what do you believe the behavior will be?”

Cohn talked next about his startup Validately and how it is supposed to recruit users, create tests and get rapid feedback for different types of prototypes. Demonstrating Validately’s functions, he shows how it can show both low fidelity and high fidelity, including support for Axure and Balsamiq. With Axure, he said you can just add in the URLs and test the prototype on Validately. For safety, he said you can create a non-guessable URL to send to just a few people.

Overall, the validation site should be able to gauge desirability, measure usability, test the look and feel and make custom tests.

Cohn’s key takeways about user testing involved the following:
• Test what people do in their native environment
• Filter qualitative feedback based on actions
• Test on customer segments
• Be open to data

Scaling your apps and getting users: Think strategy

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By Dennis Clemente

At Dumbo, Brooklyn last September 16, Digital Dumbo divided its meetup into two segments. The first part focused on scaling apps with Nakul Patel, partner manager of Parse and Will Schenk, co-founder of HappyFunCorp. The second part tackled how to get users with Deepanjan De, client partner of Facebook and Al Harnisch, strategist of Prolific Interactive. That was the order of the presentation.

Now if they were switched around, Prolific Interactive could have been the first, because it talked about a very important facet of mobile app development that is not talked about—having a strategy beyond the two stages of conception: answering what is the problem and what is the solution.

To expound on this, Harnisch showed a case study of Threadless’ Type Tees. It looks like its functionality can forge a brand identity for the startups’ e-commerce app. The functionality is, of course, a direct result of the user experience design.

The next step was testing the app for users out there. This included promoting the site with different ads posted on Facebook. Testing meant showing how an ad copy or different color or even an entirely different creative could be presented to Facebook users and see how they interact with the e-commerce app.

Clearly operated like an ad agency with Eric Ries’ lean startup methodology in place, Prolific’s Harnisch said this beehive of activity was all part of its mobile app campaign…to boost installs and registrations for the app.

“The first lesson is to tell a story. The second lesson is to know the audience. The third lesson is to stay relevant (eg. keeping up on pop culture),” he said.

Even with just a change in color, Harnisch recognized how “small things make a big difference.” It turned out the agency’s most successful ad involved designs with cats, of course. Aside from successful installs, it had a viral effect

Results from its campaign resulted in 45% installs and 53.3% checkout.
But this is assuming you have a budget. Because when asked how much this could cost a startup, this blogger could not believe his ears: It was in the “hundreds of thousands.” It’s understandable, though, from its list of clients—all FORTUNE 500 companies.

Is there a solution for small startups? Is there a way to serve small startups without deep pockets? That is a good question that is not so easy to answer.

Since the topic is about scaling businesses, Facebook was also in the room.

De talked about Facebook for Business, giving us the numbers only the social network can only crank up– $170 million monthly active users and lots of users: one in every five minutes on a Facebook property. “We reach more of the right people. We drive action. All of the people who matter of you,” he said.

What’s the power of Facebook targeting if you need to get users? He put it as follows: having your core audience; sophisticated mobile targeting with unsurpassed accuracy; reaching the people you already know; getting your lookalike audience (finding more people like your best customers).

Among the tactics you can employ include promoting a special offer to drive people back to your mobile app.

If we need further convincing, De listing the following:
• Have an app ad or installs served in a news feed
• Drive discovery and action in the news feed
• Show a video in the news feed
• Have mobile app ads for installs

Getting users would mean managing your app for scale. This is where Parse comes in.

After joining Facebook last May 2013 and subsequently building over 260,000 apps, Patel describes what offers Parse under three pillars: Parse Core, Parse Push and Parse Analytics. With Parse Core, it reportedly handles everything you need to store data in the cloud such as store basic data types, including locations and photos, and query across them without spinning up a single server.

To increase engagement, its Push notifications are a direct channel to app users. With Parse Analytics, you view your app open rates and API request data via the Parse dashboard. It allows real-time viewing of analytics on API requests based on REST verbs, device type and Parse class.

“Our next step is to automate analytics,” Patel said.

Parse offers native SDKs for creating apps for all your devices. It is an API provider, your server team and database handler. “The sweet spot for Parse is the CRUD API, where you can manage your own data and have simple admin tools for operations,” said Patel. This CRUD API is for creating, reading and updating any type of resource that you want, without having to think about servers.

“Use Parse if you refer to your backend as a Content Management System. If you have extensive backend business, elaborate admin tool needs, or complicated business intelligence requirements,” he added. It reportedly added 140,000 developers this year.

The other presenter was HappyFunCorp. It’s a software engineering firm based in Brooklyn that builds for the web, app and all Internet-based products. Schenk talked about how it blends the best of product engineering, product design and strategy.

Audience favorite BoardRounds improves emergency patient follow-up

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By Dennis Clemente

The way startups are named these days, it’s hard to tell what they can really do for you. Can you tell what these eight startups do– BoardRounds, BotFactory, yourMD, Care + Wear, Blood, Sweat & Cheers, Modabox, Validat.io and Cosign–without looking them up online? Even more challenging, is two minutes sufficient time to get to know them and for VCs to give them feedback.

Last September 10, the Ultra Light Startup meetup was back at Microsoft to give us another interesting show-and-tell from startups and advice plus feedback from VCs, this time featuring panelists Weston Gaddy of Bain Capital Ventures, Taylor Greene, principal at Lerer Ventures, Andrew Mitchell, managing partner at Brand Foundry and Michal Rosenbloom, founding partner at Founder Collective.

BoardRounds is improving follow-up for emergency room patients; BotFactory’s Squink creates circuit boards in minutes; YourMD is the doctor in your pocket; Care + Wear customizes arm bands for a charity you want to support; Blood, Sweat & Cheers helps people find the most fun activities; Modabox is data-driven personal styling and shopping for women; Validat.io provides early stage testing for startups and Co-sign gives your monetary rewards when your social network “tag” followers buy the items.

The audience favorite was BoardRounds with Rosenbloom as the panelist of the night.

The feedback and advice from the VCs:

On BoardRounds: Get the largest hospital, the rest will follow

On BotFactory: On Kickstarter, make a video talking about its value proposition; don’t charge today to create value; monetize later

On yourMD: Make sure customers are being served the right information; bring data from health monitors and health wearables to the doctors

On Care + Wear: Demand may come from the kid market; consider crowdfunding as huge round may not be necessary; get some licenses

On Blood, Sweat & Cheers: Track engagements; make good use of 250,000+ subscribers

On Modabox: Make it aspirational, humanize it

On Validat.io: Build a side consumer product

On Co-sign: Find tastemakers, as Pinterest is the 1,000-poudn gorilla and monetary reward has not yet worked in social media tagging

40 new games to playtest. It’s like being let loose in a candy store

By Dennis Clemente

If you’ve never been to a gaming playtest, it’s like being let loose in a candy store.

At the NYC Games Forum at Microsoft last July 29, host and organizer Rohit Crasta did just that, giving us enough of a sugar high when he presented more than 40 independent game developers and their new games to excited playtesters like us. Crasta might as well be Willy Wonka for pulling this off.

The titles were diverse enough for playtesters to test the games for bugs and flaws before they go out to market. There were intricate games like the Sombrero by Pixel Metal, a fast-paced Spaghetti Western 2D local multiplayer arena-based competitive death match that would not be out of a place in a Robert Rodriguez movie.

GamingThere were also unassuming titles such as the Tetris-like ColorFinger by Quikding, this blogger’s favorite because of its deceptive simplicity that had testers addicted right away. It’s Tetris for the swipe-playing 21st century.
Some games fit certain devices to a T. Tapinator’s Balance of the Shaolin works well on the iPad (also on iPhone) on two counts: first, the actions of the game are limited to tapping left or right to keep the Shaolin in balance from his one-legged mountaintop stance. Second, the iPad’s real estate space gives you the scenery—the better to enjoy passing birds and other obstructions trying to mow you down from your serene stance.

Mokuni.com showed its new game called Kitty in the Box developed for iOS and Windows by developers from China who came here three years ago and now calls New York City their home. Asked why the game is not available on Android, “It’s just a (precaution) to make sure no one copies the game.”

Not all games were digital. Urban Land Games’ Funemployed is a storytelling board game that should easily be the life of any party. “To be hired,” you must create a story using “qualifications” that make you perfect for a job. For example, if you apply as a Pirate, you must craft a convincing story around your cards (your qualifications). Our cards read Narcissist and Package. Go on, tell us how you would tell your story?

And not all games were necessarily designed to be current. Rad Raygun is a game that takes you back to the 1980s as you shoot your way through monochrome off-green shades yet ultra-sharp 144p resolution graphics. People bent down to listen closely to its great soundtrack. It’s coming out soon on Steam and Xbox 360.

The event was not just about all fun and games. Sam Eng, an enterprising artist-programmer-indie developer, said he offers free lessons in Unity, which many of the games at the forum are made of. Check out his site, sam-eng.com, for updates. His game at the event was called Zarvot a two to four-player cube fighting title.

There were other great games but just too many to mention here. If you want to know more about the presenters, check out their games: Air Brawl by Wilhelm Nylund; Arcade Basketball Blitz Online by Toneaphone LLC; Bik by Zotnip LLC; Blackjack Warriors: MMO Battle by Jim Lynch; Blue Dot by Urthworx; Bunny Love by Computer Lunch; Carbon Cutters by Dented Pixel; Chronosphere by Kind Fortress; Clobsters by Hart Laboratories; Clockwork for iOS by Michael Ren; Crystal Brawl by Studio Mercato; Dirtbags MotorClub by Eppy Games; Extreme Exorcism by Golden Ruby Games; Got Light? by Benjamin Reynolds; LEX, Digits, and others by Simple Machine; Magicis by Boogie Down Games; Meriwether by Sortasoft LLC; Mother Goose by Robotic Potato; Neon Krieger Yamato by LIONPLEX; Nika by Studio Mercato; Organic Panic by Lastlimb Games and Pet Pat by Goodnight Games.

Another board game came from Phoenix Covenant by Hikari Games.

The night also featured R.E.M. by Dragonllama Games; Recurse by Lumalus Inc; Roger E Pedersen’s ‘Warehouse 517’ by PSI Software Inc; Skyhook by MegaStorm Games; Sombrero by PixelMetal; Super Rad Raygun by Tru Fun Entertainment; That Rock Paper Scissor Game! by Philosoplay; The Good, The Bad & The Funny by The Completely Surrounded; The Splits by Trollcore Enterprises TM; Vidar by Dean Razavi and Voxatron Table by VOXON & Lexaloffle Games.
Crasta’s event was sponsored by Autodesk, Millennial Media, Qualcomm and the Law Offices of Christopher G. Reid.

Startup presenters compete like it’s the World Cup

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By Dennis Clemente

The Ultra Light Startups: Investors Feedback Forum last July 10 lived up to its name. It was light with a French twist. With the World Cup in full swing, the startups—some from Europe, others from the US but still multi-ethnic—competed for the startup of the night honors. The goal: VC funding, of course.

Regular host Mark Caron was joined this time by Kikai Mining’s Arnaud Collery whose off-color humor, in his thick French accent, made light of the entire proceedings.

He wasn’t alone in the ribald jokes. Ian Sigalow asked one presenter if he was going to allow adult content on his site. He clarified that he was not an investor in one to drive home his point, which drew some chuckles from the attendees at Microsoft Building at Times Square.

Sigalow of Greycroft Partners won against the three other panelists Brendan Dickinson, associate at Canaan Partners, Matt Turck, managing director at First Mark Capital and Matthew Witheiler, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners.

The eight presenters were Alex Feldman of Crowds Unite; Darius Jamiolkowski of Outdoor Exchange; Anton Topikha of Airjump; Rachel Kaplowitz of Honey; Dan Nelson of Kpass; Tim Bernal of Kwoller; Raad Ahmed of Law Trades; and Akash Srivastava of Rewardable. Many of them are foreign startups.

Crowds Unite, a crowdfunding review site, filters, sorts and compares crowdfunding sites to find the best one for you. He was asked if could pivot the company to offer insurance than just listings or provide content about where to get loans.

For a membership fee, Outdoor Exchange rents out outdoor gear. When Jamiolkowski said the site aims to be the Netflix for outdoor gear, one of the VCs kept asking questions that put the startup on the defensive. Lesson to be learned here: Don’t use such buzz phrases if the answers are not forthcoming.

In response to how he is going to build his brand, he said it’s going to happen in partnerships. He is in talks with one car rental and a car pickup service that has been in the news lately, which will remain unnamed here pending the deals push through.

Airjump is all about live streaming to social networks which prompted the comment from Sigalow about adult content. Other VCs asked Topikha to check out justin.tv and ustream as they offer similar services.

Topikha said his differentiator is superior technology and how he wants people to create live TV channels. He said 60 percent of his revenue will be advertisements.

Sigalow and Turck were on the same page on this one, saying how the site needs something visceral, selfies perhaps, or videos that tap into the human emotion. Find a vertical where can build a wedge, because just being the best is not going to be enough. You have to have a compelling use case.”

Honey, the night’s winner, is an enterprise social network that improves information sharing in the workplace. Yammer is a competitor.

“We are more Reddit for enterprise,” Rachel Kaplowitz said, but because it’s done by Huge Labs, the startup division of the digital design agency, you will see the design and user experience standing out. Honey.is is projecting $500,000 as its year-end income. It has 15 companies as clients paying $4 a month.

“The big thing for Honey is finding integrations. Right now it integrates with Dropbox,” she said. For VCs, the hard part in this space is engagement and sales. “Honey has to find out the sales tools they need, what hooks they need. Right now, it’s just scratching the surface. It has to build relationships early.”

After a five-minute break, the remaining 4 startups took their turns presenting, starting with Dan Nelson who said Kpass, his company, is the safe digital identity for kids, one that can empower them to safely connect to their favorite sites online. There was the usual question on how the parents will be involved, but Nelson was advised to focus on mobile, not the web.

Next was Tim Bernal, the Filipino American behind Kwoller, a mobile commerce company or what he calls Tinder for shopping. “We’re an affiliate-based company. We get commissions. We get 7 percent.”

Overall, the VCs seemed to like Bernal among all the startups not just for his startup but for his engaging presentation as well. Turck’s only critique was how 200,000 swipes on the app is not a big number.

How can Bernal scale his business? “You need customer acquisition, how to make people download it. You will need to refine your viral mechanism,” the VCs said.

Yet another listing site is Raad Ahmed’s Law Trades. This time, the listing shows top-notch lawyers focused on offering personal legal services which he says is a $90 billion industry. When asked what he will do if the listings are filled up, he said he will go global. Still, a VC said it’s hard to scale; he was advised to pivot.

How do you want to get paid while you shop? That’s the idea behind Rewardable. You are assigned a specific task to complete and you are paid in cash for your efforts.

The idea sounds like an advertising agency came up with it, which can be both to its advantage and disadvantage. The VCs had a lot to say about this startup, especially how it can sustain itself when ad agencies work on campaigns, which are set periods of time. “How do you get users to submit data for how much you need to spend versus taking that from retailers?” The concern also was the barrier to entry.

In term of scaling the business, Komassa said he will sell through channel partners. Rewardable is raising $5 million.

For those who have not attended the meetup, there is pizza, networking and introductions at 6:30 pm; the 8 startup pitches at 6:45 p.m., followed by the investor providing actionable advice following each two-minute pitch. At 8:15 p.m., the audience votes for the best startup. Winners are announced and prizes are awarded. Last night, Honey won for the startup. Sigalow won as the panelist of the night; it’s most likely for his useful feedback and advice to the startups, and not for his charm, because Colley, the French co-host, would likely dispute this one.

The meetup is organized monthly by Graham Lawlor.