Tag Archives: events

Video Startups Present at NY Video

25 Nov

Four video startups presented at NY Video hosted by Steven Rosenbaum of Waywire at the AOL office on November 21, 2014.

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Videum uses videos and translation technology to make health and medical information universal. Videum has about 5,000 educational videos that are translated by humans and Google or Bing into 72 languages reaching 87 countries.

“There’s quite an appetite out there for health content,” said President and CEO Paul Dinsmore. “Health care content is bigger than celebrity news.”

The company plans to make revenue through a B2B and B2C and syndicate with advertising.

IMG_4093.JPGWith Magisto users can do something with the videos and photos sitting on their phones, a phenomenon the VP Marketing Communications calls a “national crisis.” The app uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to automatically select the best moments of footage to make a video with customized styles and music in a few minutes.

“We are passionate about the idea that people can be storytellers,” said Paula Batson, VP Marketing Communications. “You can take that data and turn it into movies that have emotion and can touch people you want to share with.”

More than 5,000 videos have been made with the app and shared on social media and through email. Magisto is working with brands to enable them to portray their message through users’ stories and also have a freemium model for the consumer.

Thrive uses video to eliminate the need to open 10 tabs to research one activity. The Thrive team creates premium movie content about four themes – travel, music, culture and fashion. One video features Breakneck, a hike in Cold Spring, NY, showing how to get there, what’s it’s like when you’re there and what other people have to say about it.

Their revenue model is to work with sponsors to support a certain amount of videos and eventually have e-commerce, like selling activities. They plan to launch the site in early February.

IMG_4091.JPGVideolicious makes it simple to create professional videos in minutes. Many clients are TV stations, newspapers and branding firms. With the app, users can create packages quickly by adding b-roll and sounds bites from videos they have already taken. Co-founder/CEO Matt Singer said Videolicious does not replace premium video, it creates more types of quality video in the middle of the spectrum.

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.

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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.

AlleyBoost Fireside Chat with Brian Cohen of NY Angels: Pinterest, pitching and personality

11 Nov

AlleyBoost hosted Nir Eyal and Brian Cohen at Mercy College on Tues. November 4, 2014. I’ll post Nir’s talk in a separate post later this week. You can read about his chat at StartupGrind here.

Brian Cohen, chairman of NY Angels and author of What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know, spoke about everything from angels to Pinterest, his most famous investment to date.

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Brian Cohen talking to an entrepreneur while subtly showing off his book.

Although Cohen didn’t spend the whole time talking about Pinterest, the reasons he initially liked the startup illustrated many of the points he made during the fireside chat.

Cohen was the first investor in Pinterest. He likes to get in early and give the first check. He’s aware it’s risky, but sometimes it works out really well – like Pinterest well. What helped Ben Silbermann, cofounder of Pinterest, even more is that Cohen really liked him. Cohen cares a lot about the person he gives his money to.

“I like to know ideas early,” Cohen said, adding that founder’s backstory adds to the allure of the pitch. “I want to know the person behind the idea. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why did you think of that? A lot of times I want to be the first check.”

He calls everyone he has invested in a friend or someone he’d like to be considered friends with. This is because often times, the person is even more important than the idea. Not just because Cohen values friendship.

“I’m not investing in your idea; I’m investing in your ability to execute,” Cohen said.

The reason the person is important is because they have to know how to build the business, even if it’s not the idea they started with.

“75 percent of the time the company I invest in is not doing the same thing 1 or 2 years later,” Cohen said.
This was the case with Pinterest. The site started as an iPhone app called Tote, a catalog for women’s accessories, which in itself was a good enough idea with a good enough team to get Cohen on board.

Pinterest customers told the founders they wanted a way to collect all the things they liked. Silbermann cared a lot about what his customers thought. Using their feedback, he gave the world a place to digitally pin, and a new interface called a board. It duplicated an action people do in the real world online and it did what the customers asked for, which are factors in its success.

Today, Pinterest is valued at $5 billion. Cohen said almost no company gets that kind of valuation, most are somewhere between $2 and $4 million, depending on the sector and the team (serial entrepreneurs are valued higher). When it comes to investing, while valuation is a piece of the decision, he said it isn’t everything. He also doesn’t care about traction but said it helps increase the valuation.

Pitching advice
Cohen, who studied rhetoric as an undergrad, believes in the power of a great communicator when it comes to pitching. He also believes in the power of a Google or LinkedIn search – meaning know the investors’ background. When speaking, be clear, crisp, clean and definitive. This means don’t use qualifiers like “I hope” or “We’re trying.” If those are the only words you can use to describe your business, it could mean you are in a position of weakness, and Cohen said that is a bad time to look for money.

For those who would rather “bootstrap” than raise money from a VC or Angel, Cohen thinks that’s stupid. He said people who are self-funding probably couldn’t convince anyone to invest. He also advises raising money six months before you need to it.

Remember to talk about exits in your pitch and have a timeframe in mind. Cohen said the average exit takes 6 to 10 years. Exits are important to angel investors – it’s how they make money.

“The word ‘exit’ to me is like sex – that is at the end the ultimate prize,” Cohen said.

This was originally written for Office Lease Center.