Eleven thousand angels and early stage entrepreneurs packed Fort Mason in San Francisco the week of March 2. Launch Festival is where two companies start courting and deals start getting done. The event is packed with entrepreneurs eager to share their forward-thinking ideas and angels looking for the best and the brightest, and features high-profile speakers like Peter Thiel and Chris Sacco. Here are the coolest new companies I saw there.
1. Qlue Quest
We all have fond memories of scavenger hunts as kids, and John Rios-Zertuche resurrected his childhood memory of his parents hiding clues around his neighborhood to find fun treasures through a new app called Qlue Quest. These scavenger hunts however are much cooler and take users through a journey to their favorite places around town. It's a fun adventure that launched at the festival, so watch out for new quests!
2. Spinn Coffee
Coffee has become the lifeblood of Americans who live off caffeine, and a new study recently touted that 4 cups a day can actually be healthy and stave off diabetes. For coffee lovers who love the internet of things, meet Spinn coffee. This new startup combines your high-end coffee maker with an amazing local marketplace that automatically reorders your coffee from nearby brewers when you're low on your favorite brew. No pods, no filters, the freshest beans, its an environmentally friendly and sustainable choice. Co-founders Roderick de Rode, Roland Verbeek, and Serge de Warrimont brought their idea from Amsterdam to the United States just 4 weeks ago, testing with the best baristas in Europe. They patented a centrifugal brewing process in their coffee maker that will be brought to American homes shortly, for one of the best tastes--bar none. Watch out for Spinn.Coffee.
Are you in sales? Do you hate cold calling? Sure, we all do. QuotaDeck removes the painful process of cold calling by crowdsourcing introductions to prospects. Companies first enter their target demographic info and other users can make intros and earn points in the process toward their own intro requests. The best part: These intros are "double opt-in," meaning both parties have explicitly expressed interest in talking to each other. These guys have brought crowdsourcing to B2B sales. Says the founder and Inc. columnist Bubba Page, "My last startup made 6 million cold calls for tech companies...and with a 2% success rate, I knew there had to be a better way. Personal introductions convert 10x better than any cold sales effort."
One of the biggest hassles of any legal system is the time and money it takes to arbitrate. If you're trying to settle a small dispute, the thought of hiring an expensive attorney and trying to reclaim all that lost money for pennies on the dollar is draining. Swiftcourt allows two entities to arbitrate outside of court using a network of attorneys who find a reasonable settlement for both sides. Currently in beta in Europe, this service will soon be available worldwide.
If you travel a lot, sometimes it would be nice to see all your friends from all your social networks integrated into one map so you can see who to connect with. Connect does just that. Winner of last years Launch fest, it's a relationship app operating at a high level. Social media is making people unhappy. This app is reengineered so people can spend more time in the real world.
Four and Me is a new social discovery network that connects people who want to do new activities with new friends. If you want to play a pick-up game of tennis & none of your friends play tennis, post an activity. Biking, hiking, knitting lessons, theater, concerts, even find a handy man. It's also great for finding new friends. "We wanted to have it really personal & found five is the maximum amount of people to have a good time, so one person creates the activity & it's 'four & me'" says co-founder Caner Kaya.
7. Resale Therapy
If you're looking for designer clothes curated at the top resale boutiques in North America, startup Resale Therapy has done the work for you. They've created an easy-to-use mobile app that lets you put in your sizes, favorite designers, and then the app does all the work notifying you when any boutique has your favorite designer products. Shopping couldn't be any easier or more affordable. Resale Therapy will be available at the end of March.
There is a huge need for an app that helps consumers out with Happy Hours. This app does just that. Requested finds not only a restaurant available at off beat hours but even lets you negotiate down the price! You can offer $38 for a $45 tab during slow times, helping both you and restaurant managers, so everyone wins.