It’s been a while since my last NYEBN event. The group has grown a lot larger and has a good following led by Andrew Wong, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in 2011 when he invited my colleagues and I from Audible to speak at NYEBN’s mobile apps showcase event.
Last night’s mobile startups demo included startups from Y-Combinator, TechStars and DreamIt Ventures, some looking to raise another round (500K – 750K), others looking to build out their core staff. Panelists include Nihal Mehta, David Beatty, James Haft, Lori Hoberman, and Aamer Abdullah.
Before I talk about the startups, some takeaways I have from the demo event:
When building a company, depending on what it is, think what prevents a Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. from including what you build in the next feature release and making you irrelevant?
One of the biggest and most expensive challenge for apps is acquiring users, would be great to build that into the app experience itself – advise from James Haft
Of the 8 startups, ones that stood out most to me were:
A Y-Combinator startup that makes it easier and more affordable for you to connect with a lawyer. You can browse lawyer profiles, experience, service charges, and call one up directly from the site. Nikhil Nirmel, Founder of Lawdingo, says they verify that every lawyer listed on the website is in good standing with the State Bar and provide user reviews to upkeep standards. This is similar to ZocDoc for lawyers, which is great since many people don’t know how to find a good lawyer besides asking a close friend.
Currently the service is free for users, Lawdingo charges lawyers a monthly subscription starting at $100. There are 1,300 lawyers listed and 15,000 users have used the site. They see an average of 40 calls a day and 25% of calls turn into business transactions. Nikhil sees himself possibly expanding the service into other fragmented industries such as accounting and medicine.
Nikhil took a semi humorous approach to the demo, this “non-tech, non-law degree, easy-going approach to finding a lawyer” attitude is shown off in this video on their website: https://www.lawdingo.com/about
Probably the most impressive in user acquisition I’ve seen in a while, Klooff is a social network for your pets. At first I wasn’t so excited about the idea since there are existing ones that people don’t use. But the way Klooff gets people to use their platform and have them keep coming back resulted in 1 million Facebook fans in just 10 days (Buzzfeed has 890K), that got me interested in wanting to know what they’ve done differently.
Alejandro Russo, Founder of Klooff, is a Chile native, and brought Klooff through TechStars 2013. He says distribution is their secret sauce. They have mapped out a “community driven creation process” where all content is user generated and user curated through engagement (likes, shares and comments), and the team takes the best ones selected by the community to post on Facebook, which builds momentum for the brand and ammo for users to continue using the platform as their pets become celebs online. Their Facebook page had 6M page views in last 30 days.
Alejandro said they took a Bonsai approach to user testing, which means they cut out everything people don’t use. Their demographics are mostly women, teens, some empty nesters (age 60+) and 20% men. Klooff is currently available as an iPhone app and is set to launch on all platforms in December.
AdhereTech creates smart pill bottles designed to improve medication adherence. The bottles have been designed to track the amount of medication inside them in real-time, wirelessly send this HIPAA-compliant data into the cloud, and remind patients to take their prescribed dosage via automated phone call or text message. Josh Stein, Co-Founder of AdhereTech demoed how the bottle lights up when it’s time to take medication. There is a Verizon wireless chip in the bottle, which is how data gets transmitted. For patients, it’s great because this bottle can text you to remind you to take your pill; for doctors, it’s great because you know if your patients are skipping their pills.
Josh says the estimated adherence improvement is at 60% – 90% based on what’s observed with Vitality-GlowCaps. Since these bottles go for $30 – $50 each, their target buyers are large pharmaceutical companies that carry expensive medicine. Josh says what sets AdhereTech aside from competitors is that the bottles do not require any patient behavior changes.
Other startups demoed last night were: Locket, nextSociety, WeDidIt, Inbox, and AppArchitect. I was inspired by each of them in different ways and look forward to checking in on their progress in a few months.