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ER Accelerator Demo Day–10 great companies

ER logo This morning, we attended a very high quality demo day hosted by Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, where ten companies pitched their ideas.  (Disclosure: John Frankel and I are mentors.)  This is the first session of the ER Accelerator, and they did a highly professional job.  The companies were very well-coached, hitting all the necessary points.  Impressively, 80% of their companies from this summer have already made revenue.

One attendee, a partner at a Silicon Valley VC, recently attended the demo day of a major Silicon Valley accelerator.  He observed that ER far surpassed “the accelerator who shall not be named” in two areas specifically: the slickness of the pitching companies’ marketing, including some very professional videos; and the focus and thought that had gone into the business models of the companies.
Complimenting a tech startup on marketing is a bit of a backhanded compliment, but they’ll take it.

Thanks to our intern Raffi Sapire for her detailed notes below, with some of my thoughts inserted:

Centzy– comparison-shopping for local services

  • Less than 25% of local businesses post their prices online, so as consumers we are presented with a challenge when trying to find the cheapest place to get a service.
  • On Centzy, you are able to search for a service such as a haircut or oil change, and the results are sortable by price, quality, and distance. Thus, you can find the best and cheapest option within your price range that is near by.
  • Unlike other sites, Centzy focuses on everyday services under $100, which they estimate to be a $350Bn market.
  • There is also an app in beta.
  • Scalable- 15k up front to launch in a new city
  • Revenue: long term is lead gen and booking companies. Immediate is ads and citygrid media.
  • Achieves $0.40 per click, $4 per lead and $10-$25 per booking

Buzztable– mobile CRM

  • Mobile CRM increases customer retention.
  • It’s estimated that 80-90% is spent on customer acquisition. This is 7-10x more costly than keeping current customers.
  • Restaurants pay a fee to use the CRM tool, and they enter customers cell phone information and text them when their table is ready. This way they are able to collect information about their customers and even offer them a free drink for next time via text.
  • They have launched this app at over 4 restaurants and found that 91% give numbers during peak hours.
  • Rev= SaaS platform fee.

Web Thrift Store- Online peer-to-peer market

  • We all have items in our house that we don’t need and would be happy to donate to charity.
  • EBay moves 60Bn but eBay makes it increasingly difficult for people to sell stuff (over 30 steps to posting something on the site!)
  • Seller chooses a charity (they have partnerships with four major charities). The seller posts their items online, and when someone has requested to purchase it the seller receives a box and label in the mail. The money the buyer uses goes to charity.
  • DT: my concern—this is a lot of work for items which many people will just as easily throw away.

Pricing Engine

  • Create free account, import data, receive insights on what they can do to improve
  • They make money off of free users. Cost is <$1 per user. Get $70 LTV. Spend <10 customer acquisition.
  • Pay per click. Content strategy marketing.
  • Raising $750k seed round.

Parking Panda

  • Parking is expensive. Go online and rent your space out.
  • $20B in parking in the US last year. At a single Ravens game, the team collects $750k from parking.
  • 20% transaction fee.
  • Driver is charged no fee beyond cost of parking space
  • 2 weeks, 117 cars.
  • $750k to expand into new cities.

Public Stuff- service request management system

  • When there is a pothole, a fallen tree, how to report these issues? Who do you report it to?
  • NYC spends $25mm to operate 311.
  • Receive, track and assign requests.
  • 92% of cities are not using any mobile systems.
  • Suite hosted online, portal, CRM and mobile. It hits a backend CRM system.
  • License the CRM to customers. The backend system houses all data, which leads to savings.
  • $9 to close a request using cities current phone methods. Using Public Stuff costs $0.44
  • Submitted per account.
  • The system plays for itself within first month of operation.
  • Sales and outreach.
  • On average, 2-4 months to close a deal. All online.
  • In 35+ cities.
  • Addressable market of 3.2b internationally.
  • Also can be used for facility management companies in the US of 5.3bn dollars.
  • Competition charges 210k. They charge 3-40k.
  • DT: Impressive wins, but a long sales cycle.

NumberFire – the next generation sports analytics platform.

  • Sound actionable analytics for fantasy football owners to make the most educated and analytical decisions they can
  • People spend 9hrs/wk on fantasy football.
  • $5Bn market in fantasy sports.
  • Also could sell data to managers
  • The have closed 400k, are raising 750k

LetGive – the first open giving platform.

  • 8% of $212bn were made online for charity.
  • You can donate to a charity online but these are destination sites you must purposefully go to.
  • It provides a platform that connects developers, charities, and consumers.
  • Every day, 560 apps are submitted to app store. Crowded marketplace. Differentiate your app by making it also a fundraising vehicle
  • Revenue derived from 20% fee on all transactions processed through platform
  • 3k downloads and 15k using it.
  • City harvest are releasing a mobile restaurant guide. Leave a tip for city harvest in the process.
  • Raising funding to build 100 additional apps, 50 partnerships with charities

BespokePost – subscription service for products men want

  • Similar to birchbox for men except with “mancessories,” food & drink, and things for home and office
  • Chance to access this targeted market (men aged 20-35 who like nice things but don’t want to go shopping) is very valuable.
  • $40 per box and it has accessories.
  • Scale, increase customer marketing for 500k
  • DT: I’m skeptical of this.  It doesn’t have the low COGS of Birchbox, and then it becomes the low-margin distribution business.

Sitesimon – find the content you’ve been missing.

  • Push content to people to make good recommendations based on where people have been going.
  • 27mm pages shared daily. 60K new websites created daily.
  • The average person views about 85 pages daily. It privately analyzes who you browse.
  • Seamlessly integrates into browser.
  • Content discovery should be effortless and personalized.
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