Demo Day's Coolest Ideas
Matt Brimmer, co-founder of General Assembly, the location of last night's 500 Startups Demo Day in New York, couldn't announce how many people showed up for the event. Or not that he couldn't, but that he wouldn't—Brimmer didn't want to get in trouble with the landlord for clearly exceeding the office's maximum capacity.
Once the folding chairs filled up and scores more visitors gathered in the back of room (near the free craft beers and wine, naturally), Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups, venture capitalist, and proud geek, introduced the 20 or so start-ups that would each get five minutes to pitch to the crowd of investors, entrepreneurs, programmers, and reporters.
Here's a look at some of the creative responses to a few of life's problems that last night's entrepreneurs are looking to solve.
E-mail sucks (but can be made much better). That's the gist behind Tout, a Mountain View-based start-up that offers users a better way to e-mail with templates, the ability to track views and clicks of sent e-mails, and the option to schedule e-mail delivery.
YouTube videos are bad at generating sales leads. VidCaster offers small businesses a customized video platform, which match the company's branding. (YouTube, says VidCaster CEO Kieran Farr, can disorient the brand's message.) Airbnb is one of the company's first—and biggest—customers.
"White people need help with making cultural cuisines." Those were the words of Jennifer Lopez (not me!), co-founder of Culture Kitchen, which connects expert chefs with foodies that want to learn how to make their favorite cultural dishes.
The interview process has not changed in 100 years. By creating a video platform on which job applicants submit video interviews online, Ovia saves businesses on its most valuable resource: time.
Planning a wedding is inefficient. Daily Aisle bills itself as the Kayak for weddings, allowing users to plan and book a wedding completely online. Brides and grooms use the service to surf the availability and pricing of venues, bands, and photographers, while Daily Aisle takes a 2 percent cut of any deals made.
Ninety percent of SMB websites have been hacked. Two MIT grads, fresh out of IT security jobs in Washington, D.C., have launched Tinfoil Security, a start-up geared towards small and medium sized businesses looking to beef up on their site's security.
"Launching soon" Web pages are boring. The only thing cooler than Jameson Detweiler’s name (and hair, for that matter), is his very simple idea that a "Launching Soon" page can go viral. With LaunchRock, users create a clever landing page and promote their site's launch, hopefully increasing buzz and chance of virality.