Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) held its 5th demo day in New York yesterday where 10 companies from its summer program presented in front of ~700 attendees. The ERA program provides accepted companies with $40K initial investment, co-working space, and access to its resident experts and 200+ mentors from the New York City startup community. In Murat Aktihanoglu’s opening remarks, he talked about ERA’s co-working space, he asked, “What are the two most important things to startups? Coffee and beer.” Which I’ve verified both are supplied consistently in the kitchen of their main offices in Chelsea.
All the presentations were upbeat, humorous, and generally adopted the pitch format of problem statement, market size, product/solution, current and projected company growth, and founding members backgrounds. The presentations were fluid and to the point. One of my favorite parts is the unique “entrance music” assigned to each presenter as they entered the stage.
Admitted.ly is like a CareerBuilder + matchmaker for high school students looking for colleges. They provide personality quizzes to help match students to schools based on their interests, activities and goals. It then provides advice and guidance to improve students’ chances for acceptance. Founder, and former admissions counselor, Jessica Brondo, announced they had recently secured a partnership with a school district to onboard 75,000 students on Admitted.ly’s platform.
Tapbactive is a service that provides unlimited personal training sessions, whenever and where ever you are. Members can mix different types of activities: yoga, boxing, weight training, etc. as many times as you like for a flat rate of $495 a month. Their Founder, Robert Victor expressed enthusiastically its business model is aimed to disrupt the fitness industry, an $18 billion market. ERA’s Manager Director, Charles Kemper says the market size is equivalent to that of home entertainment. Tapactive currently has 315 trainers in New York and are expanding to other major cities in the U.S.
Millions of tweets and Facebook posts come and go quickly everyday, but how much of this data is actually relevant to you? Founded by a team of data scientists, Agolo mines real-time social data to bring actionable and timely information when you need it. Agolo uses natural language processing to recommend restaurants, concerts, etc. via Twitter to users. Sage Wohns, Founder and CEO explains Agolo is able to do so by breaking down a user’s question (tweet) with semantic analysis, and using adaptive learning from magnitudes of query string exchanges, to make responses more personable and relevant to each user. You can try it out by tweeting “#agolo best steak in NYC?”
ClosetDash opened on stage with a dance routine to Beyonce’s Who Run the World (Girls) song, as a lead-in to their female founder’s presentation. ClosetDash lets members swap “high quality pre-loved clothing”. For swappers, you receive a swap kit, send in your items, if determined good enough quality to be listed on the website, you receive credits that could be used to swap for other members’ items. Founder Jennifer Lee believes this green way of shopping can help all of us who suffer from “over-shopping-itus”. ClosetDash has swapped 10,000 items to date.
Not what most would expect to hear at an NYC startup pitch, but Machinio’s Founder, Demitriy Rokhfeld says they are making buying secondhand forklifts and similar heavy machinery sexy. Machinio built a search site on top of the $200 billion market for users to search for bulldozers, benders, tractors, etc. in metalworking, construction, farming, and industrial works. The website recently exceeded 250K monthly unique visitors in 4 months of its launch.
Other startsups who presented include: Piiku, Metropolist, Gigzolo, Rockerbox, and Nutmeg Education. ERA is currently accepting winter session applications, deadline is 11/15/13.