TechStars Demo Day from The Cheap Seats


TechStars Demo Day 2010 by Andrew Hyde

Photo by Andrew Hyde

It turns out that my Cheap Seat for yesterday’s TechStars Demo Day was more expensive than the investors’ seats (free), but I’d happily make another donation to the Entrepreneurs’ Foundation of Colorado for a spot next year.

Just about every seat reserved in the balcony of the Boulder Theater for the community at large was filled – more people were there yesterday than last year, if memory serves.   It looks like the word is getting out that this is a great event to attend.  Deservedly so.

The entire first floor was reserved for investors, with many from out of town already in attendance at Boulder’s second Open Angel Forum the previous night.  Laptops and smartphones were everywhere to be seen.  A busy couple of days in Boulder for the investor community.

TechStars co-founders David Cohen, Congressman Jared Polis, and Brad Feld kicked things off with a few updates on TechStars’ alumni, the TechStars Global Affiliate program (expect 5-10 more Global Affiliates to pop up in the next year or so) and the Startup Visa Movement, among other things.  The co-founders continue to have their hands full with developing the startup ecosystem here and abroad.

Once the presentations got going, it was slide deck after slide deck of polished pitches (in this order):

ScriptPad lets doctors write prescriptions safer and easier than traditional handwritten notes, saving lives and saving money.  ScriptPad offers a freemium app to doctors and receives a per prescription fee from pharmacies.

Omniar wants to make the real world clickable, Terminator style.  Find information attached to an object by taking a picture of it with a smartphone, allowing Omniar’s mobile app or apps developed on Omniar’s API to visually recognize it and retrieve any data attached.

StatsMix creates custom dashboards to help businesses aggregate, visualize, and draw insights from a variety of metrics.  Drag-and-drop what you want from Google Analytics, WordPress, MailChimp, and more into a single place.  StatsMix even helps analyze your data for you.

RoundPegg helps companies hire for cultural fit, evaluating job candidates on a variety of traits, comparing them to current employees, and measuring for an overall match.  RoundPegg is built on a process developed by Chief Psychologist Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, putting “The Doc in a box”.

RentMonitor aims to make being a landlord easy by streamlining their Circle of Pain – marketing, tenant screening, rent collection, and property maintenance – into a Circle of Profit, especially for owners of multiple rentals.  RentMonitor also helps come tax time.

GearBox has developed a robotic ball controlled by a smartphone as it rolls across the floor, entering the new “smart toy” market.  GearBox plans to sell the ball and allow developers to create a myriad of games and other apps on its API.

Vacation Rental Partner takes the work out of renting out a second home.  Vacation Rental Partner goes beyond marketing, allowing renters to book your property as easily as they would a hotel room, with online payment processing, booking management, and more.

BlipSnips lets you share a moment of time.  Rather than sending a link to a video with a note “the clip I want you to see starts at 10:24”, BlipSnips lets you tag a particular clip from a longer video and share it with others.

Spot Influence find key influencers across the web based on your keyword search.  Spot Influence grabs data from a variety of sources to calculate the Reach, Relevance, and Impact of individuals, resulting in their overall Influence score for a particular keyword.

ADstruc has created a marketplace for outdoor advertising to make selecting and bidding on billboards as easy as PPC.  ADstruc allows advertisers to view available locations on Google Maps, retrieve valuable data, see their own ads superimposed on a street view of the billboard, and to bid accordingly.

Kapost is a content marketplace connecting writers with publishers.  Kapost lets publishers find strong writing, facilitate payments, manage rights, and plug that content into a variety of popular content management systems.

One of the first things that jumped out at me was that many of the “asks” were for more money this year than last (again, if memory serves).  Four of this year’s 11 teams were raising $500k or more, while none were in 2009.  What didn’t change from last year, however, was the quality of the pitches.

The presentations were strong across the board, with each team refining and rehearsing throughout the TechStars program this summer – an entire summer’s worth of blood, sweat, and tears, distilled into 5 minutes on stage (if you haven’t seen their level of commitment in The Founders yet, you should).  For anybody wanting to learn how a pitch is done, TechStars Demo Day is a great classroom.  I’ll be there again in 2011.

Congratulations to all the TechStars Boulder 2010 teams for surviving the summer – I can’t wait to see what you all do next.  Which of you will be the first to earn a gold shirt for being acquired?

About the Author:
I'm Bing. Not the search engine. Bing Chou, the guy with a passion for entrepreneurship and food, and I've got something cookin'. I spend my days at e-Tutor. Find me: about.me/bingchou

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