Hatchery fundraising pitches are back with investor, presentation feedback

By Dennis Clemente

The exciting Hatchery meetup startup presentations are back after laying low for a few months with its Friday speaker series, the intimate fireside chat with venture capitalists, other types of investors and some notable startups. For those who haven’t heard of Hatchery, it’s Shark Tank exclusively for tech startups. No, there’s no fundraising that happens on the spot, although this blogger certainly wished something like that could happen in the future. Still, many companies value the experience as they improve on their pitches and presentations—and their ultimate goal of getting funded.

With the startup presentations, the Hatchery has also moved from its American Management Association building back to Chadbourne & Park’s offices at The Rockefeller Plaza last November 13 where Fantrotter, Pijon, Shopbeam and The Dating Ring pitched to a panel of investors consisting of Sachin Jade of Klifer Capital; Angela Lee of 37 Angels; Bill Reinisch of Paladin Capital Group and Vincent Tang of Canrock Ventures.

The startup founders used their Executive Summaries and some relevant data in their five-minute presentations followed by honest-to-goodness feedback from the investors and, in a twist to its programming, the first critique of a presenter’s presentations offered by GK Training & Communications. Host Yao Hui Huang introduced it as a new segment in her meetup.

Georgie Bernadete, head of strategy for Shopbeam, clearly knows its affiliate business model as she presented how Shopbeam is making publishers’ sites more interesting. Imagine buying a product or item directly from a publisher’s site instantly, without the need to go to another site, a brand’s site in this case. Think about it. There are 31 million bloggers in the United States with 528 million daily page views, and Shopbeam thinks it has success on its hands.

Launched in October this year, Shopbeam offers a revenue share per sale. “We negotiate 12 to 25 percent revenue share with brand partners. We split it 70/30 with publishers. We’re looking to raise $1.5 million (to grow).”

In explaining the technology being in-house with an embeddable Javascript, the investors’ feedback stressed reviewing indirect competitors and the chance of raising more money if it can wait to dig and present more solid data.

The next presenter Rob Caucci, CEO of Pijon, pitched his subscription-based curated monthly care package loaded with non-perishable products for college-age kids. Pijon takes care of giving the packages for parents who reportedly spend $38 billion in keeping their kids well-stocked with snacks, beauty or personal products and accessories. Pijon offers subscription starting at $25 a month.

Launched August this year, Caucci is raising $650,000. He defended his focus on going directly to the schools and their organizations and not through other marketing or distribution means.

In presenting Fantrotter as the ticket + travel meet search engine for fans, one investor called for a rewrite of its description. But from the name itself, it should be easy to create another tagline that shows how it works – as a site that lets fans check the schedule of any performer, and conveniently compare the best prices for tickets, flights, hotels and car rentals.

The investors probed why the startup took all of 9 months to figure out the technology, how it could offer a cheaper ticket on the site, and how it could go for the community aspect of its business. “Play the social game of community first, (because it is) not sure what problem it is solving yet.”
Fantrotter is seeking $200,000 to crunch more data across event cities and dates in this market reportedly worth $3.3 billion.

The last presenter, The Dating Ring, is for people who hate online dating, as it offers group dating in the 500,000 -single market that is New York City. CEO Lauren Kay said her team screens and curates the group dates, as they match them based on in-person traits. Getting data after each date is important for them now as it aims to raise $500,000.

“We have 1,600 profiles completed, $4,500 revenue in our second month,” she said of this $2.1billion industry, an industry most investors are allergic to. “We offer $10 to join, $10 to date. We have 40 % percent signup, 60 percent paying daters with a churn rate under 5 percent and 2 dates a month.”

Investors asked what the secret sauce is because what prevents other three women (the composition of The Dating Ring team) from doing the same thing. “We are trying figure out what makes this special. There’s no money in this. There’s no data to make this work.”

At the end of the presentations, GK Training suggested the following to the presenters:
• Calm energy is good but give a more personal presentation
• Reduce upward inflection as it entertains doubts
• Breathe and pause; the latter corrects and gets rid of the vocal fillers “ums,” “ahs,” “sort-ofs”
• Reduce un-purposeful shuffling, especially physical expressions without a purpose
• Speed (in presenting) can be your enemy: Throw a tennis ball up in the air. Pause, breathe

Good to know all these tips because most people judge people on the non-verbals. If you want to present at Hatchery, email pitch@hatchery.vc a Powerpoint and executive summary. Visit http://www.hatchery.vc/