Tag Archives: pitching

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.

AlleyBoost: Learn to convey your message from Win the Room CEO

27 Oct

Last week, for my Office Lease Center blogging duties, I attended a class about how to be an effective communicator. As a recent mass communication major and public speaking tutor, I especially love this topic! Now on to the recap.

Today we all need to be great communicators, according to Win the Room CEO Kelly Hadous. Based on her theory that communication is “part power, part strategy, part performance,” she gave tips to improve as a communicator an Alley Boost class at Mercy College on October 21.

Great communicators exude energy and can influence, lead, sell, shift ideas, make a difference and get people to like them, said Hadous. She has studied communication and learned from her own life experiences. She admitted that she had to overcome her natural introverted personalities, as well as her insecurities about her past.

“We are living in a society that requires us to be extroverted,” Hadous said. Because of the Internet, she said, we all need to be more transparent.

The communications coach found that telling her personal story, although difficult, has made people feel comfortable and actually like her more. Hadous told the group that she grew up in a rough neighborhood in Staten Island and never excelled as a student. She was kicked out of 8th grade and dropped out of high school. At 19 she worked on Wall Street and went on to get degrees from NYU and Columbia and study communication.

She said telling a story is very powerful. To tell it right, you need to take the audience on a journey and have a dip.

When asked how to balance empathy, Hadous said to tell personal stories carefully. She said talking about her past makes people like her more. If it can help people, she said it is worth telling the story.

“Make sure it serves your audience and it’s appropriate,” she said.

Be audience-focused
One of the most key aspects of communicating is being aware of who the audience is, Hadous said. Most presenters think about themselves and what they want to say when it’s important to consider the audience.

Another trick is to think about whether they are more left or right brained and what type of information would interest them. Left-brain people might want to hear more about what, how and the results. A right-brained audience would want more why and who.

“Be a whole brain communicator,” Hadous said.

She suggests checking out the Neethling Brain Assessment.

Read the rest here.

[VIDEO] The writer becomes the pitcher – I try pitching

23 Oct

Since I’ve been writing a lot about pitching and entrepreneurship, I figured it would be a good idea to try pitching for myself. Ok, well James Poots of NewYorkStartups gave me the idea – and the mic. He’s been recording people’s pitches and turning them into nice videos like the one below (see his Faccebook page here). After helping me perfect my pitch in Grand Central, moving locations when the Apple Store manager shooed us from the steps where we had been filming, and staying patient through several takes on the street, James put this together. On a side note, I kind of thought the Apple Store wouldn’t notice since this song about the Genius bar was recorded in an Apple Store: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MYSfbQi_5c.

Anyway, here is the video. At the very least, I think the graphics are really cool and my hair looks pretty good. (Speaking of hair, my second article was published at New Haircut, a creative digital agency!) If you like what I have to say, you know where to reach me. 🙂