Mobile Startups Pitch Showdown at NYC Mobile Apps

By Tuesday, December 4, 2012 1 , Permalink

NYC Mobile Apps hosted an App Pitch Showdown at Alley NYC where early stage mobile startups pitched to a panel of judges and 100+ attendees. The goal of the showdown is to inform the community of what’s happening in the mobile startup scene and to help the mobile developers refine their pitches and business models through real time feedback. Last night’s event was co-hosted by AppStori, a crowdsourcing and funding platform for mobile apps.

The mobile panel consisted of:

Charlie O’Donnell, VC at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
Chieh Huang, Director at Zynga
Nihal Mehta, Founding General Partner at ENIAC Ventures
Heather Hromoho, Director of Global Monetization at Millennial Media
Sim Blaustein, Principal Partner at Bertelsmann Venture Capital

The mobile startups were judged on their product, presentation, and business viability. Startups that presented were:

Grafighters

A booth at last year’s SXSW that didn’t have thousands of dollars of merchandise and booth babes in tight clothing, Grafighters attracted a tremendous crowd of enthusiastic young gamers posting their paper drawings on their booth’s wall. And earned them this video interview with CNN. Self-described as “Draw Something meets Pokemon”, Grafighters is a personalized gaming platform where u can bring your drawings to life. They raised seed round funding last year and are about to receive a second round. Currently they have 20K users and want to expand into sports genre and story telling apps. Business model: Sell drawings to users who don’t want to draw their own, merchandizing t-shirts, etc.

Feedback from panel:
Chieh: Suggested to aim for mid-core audience and give more depth to its games.

PsyQic

Keisuke Inoue, Founder of the social gaming app explained their product crosses news media, data analytics, and mobile gaming by allowing users to ask questions to the community and make predictions on sports, politics, TV shows, business forecasts, etc. Each user is assigned a ‘Qi’ value based on their prediction history. PsyQic aims to inform its users of important upcoming events and issues that affect the community through crowdsourcing information and predictions. Its current revenue model is through affiliate programs, premium accounts, and promoted questions (pay per prediction).

Feedback from panel:
Nihal: Made general comment that new apps should avoid having the “ghost town” experience by having content ready in app when a new user signs in.
Sim: Suggested to show curated content on first screen besides asking the user to log into FB. Give something before asking for user credentials.

NiteEvo

No doubt you had a fantastic night out but wish you could remember it? NiteEvo is here to the rescue. The startup is founded by 4 lively young men, one whom chartered his own Fraternity in school. The app creates a timeline for you and friends that pulls in locations, pictures, comments, conversations, etc. from a night and lets you relive it the next day. There is a “map view” slider which shows a time lapse of where everyone had been the night before. Currently they are operating on a freemium model, looking into incorporating ads, events, and merchandizing.

Feedback from panel:
Charlie
: NiteEvo reminded him of the About Last Night app from TechCrunch Disrupt. General comment for all new apps is a need for business development distribution strategy.
Chieh: Asked how do you handle privacy?
Heather: Asked have you thought of ad placements? Response: Venue ad placement on the map view to unlock deals

Room Hints

This app was described as Google Glasses meets Amazon for finding furniture. The product aims to save you countless hours of looking for furniture on multiple websites and not being sure what fits best for the space you’re furnishing. Here’s how it works: you take a picture of a room, select what type of furniture you’re looking for: Chair, Sofa, Desk, etc. Room Hints then taps into their community of interior designers mixed with computer vision technology to recommend best items for your room within seconds. Room Hints is a lead gen platform and will highlight their designers more prominently in the app by including their pictures next to suggested items in the next app release.

Feedback from panel:
Nihal
: Suggested exist strategy to be acquired by someone like IKEA once there is a big enough user base
Charlie: Expressed that he was surprised the designers were not more on the forefront in the furniture suggestion process
Sim: Suggested to have seeding content/inspiration content in the app for users, similar to when you signup for Pinterest

FindYourLobster

The original idea was 3Degrees, a service that connects you with friends of friends’ to do activities with. This organically grew into a way people looking for friends’ single friends to go on dates with. How it woks: you sign in with Facebook, everyday you’ll get 9 “lobsters” who are single people in New York and most likely whom you share mutual friends with. You select the ones you like and you’ll show up as one of their lobsters the next day. If there’s mutual interest, you get introduced and FindYourLobster suggests 3 first date spots in New York for you to checkout.

Feedback from panel:
Sim: Asked there are a lot of location based products, what makes this a mobile product?
Chieh: What API do you plug into to know friends graph? Response: Basic
Audience Question: How is this app different from Coffee Meets Bagel? Response: FindYourLobster shows you 9 lobsters each day, mutual friends, and suggests first date venues.

StickyHead

Developed by APP a GOGO, StickyHead turned the popular summer camp/house party game where you stick a famous name on each others’ foreheads into a mobile game. Aside from the traditional categories of celebs to choose from: movies, TV shows, singers, etc. since StickyHead plans to utilize Facebook’s Social Graph, there is a “Mutual Friend” category. For early marketing boost, there is also a “Tech” category, which consists of well-known characters in the startup scene.

Feedback from panel:
Sim: Emphasized the usage of Facebook social graph and suggested to think about how to promote the “fun” factor to make StickyHead more than just a quiz app.
Carlie: Asked how long can this go before selling to Zynga?

TwentyTwo

Inspired by a recording artist friend, TwentyTwo provides a Twitter/Facebook alternative for artists to connect with their fans. The mobile app lets artists record up to 22 seconds of audio clips of their new songs, leave voice messages and shout outs for fans to respond to, also in 22 seconds of audio. TwentyTwo is currently targeting the music industry, specifically Indie bands to start and hopes to expand its acyncronous communication app customers to actors, inspirational speakers, or any business that has an audience.

Feedback from panel:
Charlie: Asked who’s going to pay? Response: The music industry, artists who uses TwentyTwo as a platform to test new songs.
Nihal: How do you see yourself different from Sound Cloud? Response: We create more communication back and forth with users, not just posting your music out there.

 

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