Pitch Practice 02-28-2014

Huge group at Pitch Practice today, despite the lack of Startup Chowdown! Maybe the food trucks brought everyone over…

We pitched. We learned. We networked. That’s my favorite thing about Pitch Practice: you really never know who you’re going to meet or what kind of new business they’ll pitch.  We had seven entrepreneurs pitch their businesses or business ideas today.  Here’s the list.

Work Ready Grad – Tom Pollock, whom I met while teaching Customer Discovery earlier this week at ATDC, gave a great 30-second pitch on his startup, which aims to better prepare college (and high school!) students by aggregating employers and the skills that they demand.  They have an MVP, and are seeking both employers and students for open beta trials.  The model is a monthly employer subscription model, so employers seeking qualified students will pay a monthly fee to have access to the students who meet their needs.

Vehware – Bill Howe’s creation to prevent tractor trailer and large vehicle accidents with a heads-up visual interface that covers 360* around the truck and collects valuable data to determine why an accident happened, not just how it happened, is gaining steam, and he is garnering a very impressive management and advisory team.

Virtual Blue – Phillip Funkhauser has a patented delivery mechanism for a flexible electronic display to be utilized at construction job sites instead of multiple outdated copies of blueprints.  Virtual Blue is raising $250k to build their MVP, based on their patent.  Virtual Blue lives by the mantra, “If it’s printed, it’s history.”

BuzzChek – Nick Pepito delivered the 30-second pitch for this research content filtering tool that targets university researchers. Think about how MailChimp entered the ESP space by making their UI/UX a gozillion times better than any other email service provider on the market.  Currently, research tools (Google Scholar, Research Gate, Galileo) are messy, but they don’t have to be.

gCurve – Sundar Adhimulam explained their business, which installs hardware that gathers data on the efficiency (or lack thereof) of industrial and manufacturing facilities.  Their system connects to any enterprise facility system, and after gathering sufficient data (usually about 3 months worth), creates a analytic model that generates at least 10% cost savings.  gCurve has one paying customer, and is targeting manufacturing, injection molding facilities, and enterprise facility HVAC systems.  gCurve’s offering will make tree huggers love industrial manufacturers. Wow!

UDebate – Anisha Bendari is the CEO of UDebate, which offers thinkers a moderated place on the internet to engage in meaningful, respectful debate on any topic.  We all know it’s impossible to discuss religion or politics on Facebook, but a significant percentage of the population would like to engage in a debate without name-calling.  Anisha – a national debate champion herself – has a team of six and 2 mobile apps ready to go.

Viewtopia – Steven Brown blew our doors off with his visual pitch that solves the problem of boring video and presentations.  You enter your location and your tags, and Viewtopia (currently in private beta) searches and finds the best supporting video content from all over the internet, and displays that video around and behind your video or presentation, so your video or presentation no longer sucks!  Steven is seeking seed money and is nearing release of his MVP.

What we learned: 

  • Don’t say “platform”. Ever.
  • Make sure you communicate the problem you’re solving so that anyone in the room can understand it.
  • Use actual numbers that you’ve discovered in your research, rather than “I firmly believe” or “I feel that”.
  • Practice is good. Until you say it out loud, in front of actual people, you never know how it’s going to sound. Practice before you make your pitch to customers, partners, investors.

Next pitch practice is Friday, March 7 at Atlanta Tech Village. Follow us on Twitter or join the meetup group to stay informed.

What do you think?