Startups get honest feedback from VCs in this meetup

By Dennis Clemente

How long does it take for venture capitalists to assess your startup? At the Hatchery meetup, it can be the longest five minutes of your life, not counting the other five minutes of your pitch. But it’s all good, because it’s the most honest and helpful assessment you’ll ever get.

Accern’s Kuwesh Aroomoogan found out about this last January 23, coming as he was from another pitch a week earlier where there was only one venture capitalist assessing or critiquing his startup. At the Hatchery, there were four—the regulars Bill Reinisch of Paladin Ventures, Vincent Tang of Canrock Ventures, Sachin Jade of Klifer Capital and this around, Adam Quinton of Lucas Point Ventures. The honesty comes from the familiarity of these VCs’ roles to the Hatchery’s meetup, now on its fifth year.

To make things more interesting, Hatchery also has GK Training to critique the how-to part of the presentation by Accern, bMobilized, Decode Global, Hubster TV and tenSix at Chadbourne at Rockefeller Center.

Aroomoogan says Accern, a financial analysis engine, is looking to raise $500,000, so it can expedite data-gathering. It has a 3-step process to full market entry–hedge funds, online brokers and financial institutions.

Investors advised Aroomoogan to do more market research and interview at least 50 customers. In terms of customers, however, they suggested approaching a content provider like Yahoo and online brokerage firms

Where web design has been a thriving business now comes bMobilized. The company reportedly has a patented technology to create mobile websites (offered as a software-as-a-service basis) from desktop websites aside from having mobile-specific features like maps, click-to-call and m commerce. Customers include Amazon and Cisco.

bMobilized claims it has more than 500,000 mobile websites in the pipeline, as it looks forward to getting a share of the $6.9 billion market. “How many competitions convert to mobile design? There’s a window.”

Next presenter,, aims to help us find where to watch movies online. In his startup, founder Ethan Greenspan thinks he has solved three problems– searching, overpaying and forgetting—as he aims to help us find the movies and where they can be cheaper. He is seeking $750,000 in capital.

Greenspan is looking at developing relationships with advertisers. “We can develop relationships through sponsored lists of curated movies and shows, plus provide competitive analytics.”

The feedback cautioned him how hard it is to play Switzerland (or neutral) and take sides. The ideal scenario for him, as suggested by the panel, is to become a sort of Nielsen for movie-streaming sites.

The following presenter, Decode Global, opened up its presentation with a question: How many kids are killing zombies these days? Answer: 64 million.

The question was in line with how Decode Global positions itself in purposeful gaming or in educational mobile gaming for social change. Angelique Mannella, CEO, showed a game that teaches kids about how to solve water scarcity. So far, the company said its app, made within 8 months, has been downloaded on iTunes 100,000 times in the past six months. “We’re going to promote to kids’ content networks and do cause marketing.”

Mannella is seeking $500,000 in funding and is looking to improve monetization. Right now, our revenue model is based on a freemium model; 90 percent of revenues are from in-app purchases.

The feedback it received was about how the idea can easily be replicated and how the learning-game model is a tough one to crack. But to push forward with it, the suggestion was to look into content partners, if not to have the game feature both virtual and physical functions.

Last presenter was Amar Pradhan of ten6, the self-proclaimed airbnb for batteries. He hopes retailers can improve demand estimates and reduce supply costs with ten6.

After all the presentations, Michael Hoeppner, CEO and president of GK Training, talked about each person’s presentation could be improved, pointing how vital it is to spend as much time practicing as one would preparing for a presentation. “Practice your Q&A forward and backwards; practice with combative questions; practice with cork in a mouth, if you need to slow down.”

He also added how important it is to keep the 3 Vs in mind—visual, visceral, variety—and if you want to know more about that, visit GK Training’s offices.

The show-and-tell was hosted by Yao Hui Huang.

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Dennis Clemente

Shuttling between New York and other US cities, Dennis writes about tech meetups when he's not too busy working as a Web Developer/Producer + UX Writer and Digital Marketer.

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