Tag Archives: Microsoft

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.

How to improve sales – tips from a former salesforce exec

6 Nov

Elay Cohen, the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at salesforce.com, shared his proven communication-based sales techniques at an AlleyBoost class on Tuesday, October 28 at Mercy College. 

The entrepreneur and author urges companies to bring humanity back into sales – internally and externally. Cohen injected this personal, relationship-focused attitude toward sales into the culture of salesforce.com, which grew from $500 million to $3 billion in revenues while he was there.

“People would ask how we hit our numbers so fast,” Cohen said. “It has to come from the heart and soul of the company.”

Cohen’s sales philosophy comes from his experience learning sales from his father, a furniture storeowner, selling products door-to-door, and working in sales at various companies, including salesforce.com. He wrote a book called Saleshood and started a SaaS sales-solution startup with the same name. Founded less than two years ago, the company is already breaking even without any VC funding. Cohen said they are starting with a limited amount of customers so they can get the product right before they scale.

Salesforce

At salesforce Cohen created an environment where the entire team shared a single sales vision, which encouraged both results and relationship building with customers. When salesforce started in 1999, Microsoft and Oracle were competitors in the space. Sales reps met with customers, told them how salesforce could solve their pain faster and for less money than the bigger companies. Salesforce surprised the big names by expanding rapidly.

The company is known for its boot-camp training for new employees. The sales team continues to communicate with weekly and monthly meetings where they share success stories and allow for peer-to-peer learning.

Cohen’s formula for SUCCESS…

Read about his formula and more at Office Lease Center’s blog: http://bit.ly/1vqANez.