Tag Archives: demo

iPhone App Makes Coffee, Debuts at Launch Festival 2013

“It only adds 4 inches to your iPhone and gives you 45 seconds of battery life, but makes coffee” explains Jason Calacanis as he gives an impromptu presentation of iCoffee, a new iPhone app he was asked to pitch by Yossi Vardi, one of the participants in the VC Panel at the Launch Festival yesterday.

The joke is part of what makes the Launch Festival a one of a kind event, where 50 companies pitch their products to a panel of judges and 5 thousand attendees.

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First Day Startups
Although the conference started off with a bit of a snafu (45 mins registration line and about 1 hour delay in the program in general), things were quite good once you got inside. This is my third year attending the conference and it has grown both in size and quality.

The event is a great opportunity for startup founders to present their ideas to a panel of judges who will not think twice before coming down hard on you or your idea, and is also a great venue for networking.

Of the statups that presented on stage, the following caught my attention:

Whiplash: Not only this startup is already making money ($500K last year), they are experiencing growth and are providing a much needed service, i.e. the shipping and logistics for eCommerce. This is a huge opportunity that, if done correctly, can transform this company into a major player in the fulfillment business.

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CubeSensor: Robert Scobble said that as he was hearing the live feed of the event on his way up to San Francisco, he stopped his car just to buy a couple of units from this startup. Their whole premise is to improve indoor living, and they do that by giving you a ‘cube’ that sits on a table and monitors the air quality, humidity, noise, etc. If you have ever worked in an office with terrible air quality (so called ‘sick buildings’) you wish you had one of those. The key for them will be figuring out a killer distribution strategy and strategic partnerships.

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Jawfish: a real-time, multiplayer game on iOS. What’s the big deal? The team behind it seems pretty solid (guys from Full Tilt Poker) and their advantage seems to the the architecture behind the games, delivering an awesome gaming experience. If they are really this technologically advanced and can get the right deals in place, they can become a major force in online gaming.

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Triptease: Trip Advisor should have been dead but is still lingering because there is simply not a better option for online travel reviews. Triptease wants to change it with a magazine-like interface that makes reviews easy to create and fun to read. But the most interesting aspect is the leveraging of social networks. As people create beautifully rendered reviews, they will be able to share it with their friends. According to founder Charlie Osmond, hotels have already expressed an interest in using the site and have been emailing customers to place their reviews on Triptease. Going after smart parterships like that is a good move. Now, they have to get critical mass to start moving the needle against Trip Advisor.

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Hubskip: A better way to book travel, because it gives you money back. Not only Hubspkip has a slick interface, it centralizes all booking for your trip (hotel, transportation, etc.) so you don’t have to worry about it. We all know that booking travel sucks, no matter what Expedia, Travelocity, and the other players do to their sites, the whole experience is pretty miserable. If Hubskip can break the mold and give us better travel planning at cheaper prices, you’ve got a winner.

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Next post I will talk about some of the other startups presenting and also about those in the demo pit.

Demo Conference Announces Winners

The Demo Conference 2011 ended yesterday and has announced the winning startups:

Zugara: uses augmented reality to aid in shopping experience. Really cool demo of someone  browsing an online sore and “trying” a dress virtually as if she was at the store.

Nimble: a Social CRM, gives you a tool that combines basic contact management with your social stream and activities (twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc.) in one single location. Great looking product that has potential to become a standard tool in sales organizations.

ecoATM: is your CoinStar for cell phones. Users go to their kiosks and put in their old cell phones in exchange for money. The intelligent kiosk can test your cell phone and determine its working condition, then gives you a price and you decide if you want to cash out. In that case the cell phone is kept in the kiosk for later recycling.

Stratosphere (by V3): Incredibly fast virtual desktops.

Manilla: helps you keep track and pay your bills on time. Is a central online location that consolidates all your payments and pending bills so you never miss the payment deadline again.

eCobe: helps content creators make money by giving back 75% of search engine’s advertising profit to content providers.

And for the people’s choice award: GutCheck, a do-it-yourself qualitative research online tool that helps you do your market research on a dime.

You can catch all startup pitches for the Demo event at their website.

Launch Conference Debuts And Surprises

Today was the first day of the Launch Conference, put together by Jason Calacanis. Over 1,000 attendees watched startups present their products to a panel of judges.

The first to present was no other than Joel Spolsky himself, introducing Careers 2.0, a new career site for the StackOverflow crowd. Different from your typical job hunting site, Careers 2.0 focuses software developers and takes an unique approach to presenting the candidate’s abilities. At the end of the presentation and even at the end of the first day, judges and the grand jury were enthusiastic about the site.

See below a snippet of Joel’s pitch:

And below is a snippet of Joel’s answering questions from the panel:

Internet Connection That Works!

Those who have been to conferences before know that one thing is certain: internet connection sucks. Well, Launch was different. As Jason Calacanis himself explained “We figured out how to make Wi-Fi work at a conference. Make it wired” and so every seat had access to an ethernet cable with high-speed connection. I never had an issue, wish all conferences could offer this.

Angels at Work

As the first day of the conference comes to an end, a few good surprises! Two companies got angels excited enough to make on stage commitments. Green Goose walked away with $100K and Volta got Dave McClure to almost jump out of his seat as he exclaimed “I will write you a f… check!”.

Not bad for a first day huh? I’ll write about some specific startups in more detail later. Let’s see what surprises the second day will bring!

Stay tuned…

UPDATE: The full video of the first day is now on youtube, you can watch a better version of the talk above on Launch Conference official youtube channel.