Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

Live Braille Wins at Ultra Light Startups Investor Feedback Forum

24 Nov

Eight entrepreneurs competed at an Ultra Light Startups pitch night at at the Microsoft building in Times Square on November 13, 2014.

Screen shot 2014-11-23 at 11.08.13 PM

LiveBraille, a startup with technology that could eliminate the blind’s need for a cane, won the audience’s vote as the winner of the ULS pitch night, as well as other great startup essentials like office space, consulting and more.

The eights startups each gave a two-minute pitch followed by questions and advice from a panel of investors. Nikhil Kalghatgi of Vast Ventures, Owen Davis of NYC Seed, David Teten of ff Venture Capital and Marc Michel of Metamorphic Ventures were on the panel. Nikhil won the audience’s pick for favorite judge.

Top 3

LiveBraille makes a low-cost 5-sensor glove that uses sonar technology to give a feeling of orientation to those without sight. The company has a patent on the product, which has been tested on 150 users. The glove is washable and water-resistant and is sensitive to the environment – even potholes in India.

The overall feedback was to consider other markets to expand the technology, like the military. Investors also suggested putting the sensor on shirts rather than just gloves, and thinking of more revenue streams.

Pijon: This package company gets brands into impressionable college students’ dorm rooms and reminds them to call home. The company has sold over 23,000 monthly packages to college students that are packed with $30-65 of curated items, like snacks, beauty supplies, etc.

The investors said Pijon should aim to become the preferred vendors at colleges, and of course, consider other markets. They also advised to make their company compelling so people choose Pijon over competitors and subscribe each month.

Meals to Heal: Malnutrition is often an overlooked problem among cancer patients. Inspired by friend who died of brain tumor, Susan Bratton started a company that delivers individualized meals to cancer patients and their caregivers. Revenue comes from weekly meal sales, subscriptions and nutritional counseling. The company also has some b2b partnerships with big box stores like Walgreens.

The judges advised Bratton to clarify why her company is better than other food delivery companies like Fresh Direct and to think about other possible markets.

The other competiting startups

Ketchup: This is a mobile newsreader app for news junkies who are always on their phones. It not only has recent headlines, but a timeline with summaries of related stories.

Jukebox: With this app, you have a say in what music you hear when you leave your house or take out your headphones. The app connects to the speaker system at venues like bars and restaurants.

Tent square: This site dismantles the barriers to enter the movie industry by funding community-created projects. The crowd-powered entertainment and discovery site has about 12,000 members that can assemble movie casts, vote on plotlines and more for the in-platform projects.

Hackers Collective solves a catch-22 in the startup world – in order to get capital you need traction, but in order to get traction you need capital. The site builds a community of peers and users around your product. It also serves as a platform to crowd-fund and discover early stage startups and collaborate.

Job Elevation aims to fundamentally change the job search for the sales profession. The visual online platform allows salespeople to pick what they’re interested in and filter it by sector, location and seniority.

Read the full version at Office Lease Center http://bit.ly/1xDZQzO.

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Disruptive Technologists: NYC is (pretty) good for startups

5 Nov

Disruptive Technologists hosted a panel, “NYC Social Infrastructure & Tech Ecosystem: Are we at an inflection point?” at the NY Institute of Technology on October 27, 2014. Panelists talked about how society has shifted from discouraging entrepreneurs to embracing them and what still needs to change to support this type of economy.

There are now more than 15,000 startups in NYC, making it the #1 ecosystem for entrepreneurs, said David Rose, CEO of Gust. With countless resources, a receptive city and a mix of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, it’s a good time to create a startup in New York.

Gone are the days when smart professionals dreamt of being Wall Street bankers, said moderator Bruce Bachenheimer, Director of Pace’s Entrepreneurship Lab. Hustling to start your own company is the new “sexy.” People want The Social Network-type success rather than Bonfire of the Vanities excess.

The city has a cross-pollination of ideas, free events, webinars, incubators, accelerators, encouragement from the government, and more students than the population of Boston, said Rose. These factors make starting a business here more desirable than joining one.

Rose has seen the landscape change firsthand. Having started NY Angels, one of the longest running angel groups, he remembers when people wanted to work at traditional Fortune 500 companies. Only 47 companies that made the original Fortune list have remained. Today, firms less than four years old and smaller than 100 employees have taken the others’ spots.

This is partly because large businesses that succeeded in the 20th century aren’t cut out for the 21st century, said Rose. They need to reinvent themselves. The airline industry is one example – several airlines have gone bankrupt in the past decade.

With entrepreneurs’ eager to disrupt, some industries have reason to worry. Uber is taking on ubiquitous yellow taxis. AirBnB is making a go at the multi-billion-dollar hotel industry by empowering regular people to dictate the market.

Read the rest at Office Lease Center’s blog: http://bit.ly/1rBqgeo