It was a packed house in there and the vibe inside the place was nothing short of epic. Nashville is definitely on it’s way up and soon to be on the map for a great place for tech startups. If not, already.
There were many great people in there and ranged from: lots of angel investors, venture capitalists, mentors, other startup entrepreneurs, a few Vandy MBA students, programmers, marketing folks, business execs, etc.
The venue was an excellent choice: spacious enough to fit 300+ people, food/drinks/snacks, and good production and sound. Agenda was organized and timed just about perfect from beginning to end.
The pitches were solid. Amazing job and hats off to the 6 companies for perfecting them. They effectively let us know what problem they were solving, how they plan to fix it, competitors, financial forecasts, teams/qualifications, and marketing plans of attack.
Here’s the 6 companies that presented and my first thoughts on them:
My favorite out the bunch. Great URL and brand name and nicely designed site. The timing for an idea like this is right, and people are willing to use online platforms to meet/exchange in real world without thinking it’s crazy weird anymore. This idea really has potential to strike it big, possibly AirBnB big if marketing and acquisition of customers is executed right. The thing with platforms is the age old chicken/egg problem. A couple big blog mentions isn’t going to take this startup to success or break-even; it needs some sort of creative scalable internet marketing method to gain users organically and exponentially. I have a few ideas but I’ll keep them to myself unless they approach me and I’ll be more than happy to share.
I don’t know too much about the packaging industry, but from what they showed in their pitches; it has some good potential. It’s a huge industry and if they hustle their butts off enough to get seen in front of many big customers, I think they have a promising idea and plan.
Loved the slick design and user experience in how this thing is going to work on the computer. Would like to see how this thing works in person.
Love the industry they are going after. It’s a hot one right now and the mobile/tablet market will only grow huge in the upcoming years. They say during the Gold Rush, the people who got rich weren’t the ones who found gold, but the ones selling the shovels and jeans. Everybody and their mama are looking to make a mobile app, and if they can work hard to get in front of and penetrate the right crowds; they have a good chance on grabbing a ton of users.
This is very close second to my favorite. This thing has the potential to take over the world; like Facebook style, seriously. I don’t think the technology curve has quite caught up, but it’s coming. And if they can get their complex app working great and out in the many hands of first adopters, they may have a chance to strike it HUGE. When I say ‘technology curve hasn’t caught up’, I am meaning the majority mass of people using it for every day use. Facebook is now massively adopted, and the majority of people finally made social networking a normal thing and the word Facebook is now a verb. Same with Google, Google was created before the technology curve and the mass finally caught up and now it’s a verb as well. FourSquare (which Kahootzz is better than) is growing steady as more and more are getting more comfortable with being ‘social’ via their mobile phones. If they add a few more features in the future to include a social kick/interaction to it along with their complex algorithms; and can work hard and be patient for about 3-5 years, man oh man.
A solid idea and plan. It’s going to take a “hit the streets” mentality to get their first slow and steady flow of users, but I think the app is very useful and definitely more than a fair share of companies would be interested in using something like this. Finding and filtering through their target company’s politics and chain of commands to find the HR software decision makers is always fun.
Those were just some quick opinions on what I initially thought from their pitches. I definitely think all 6 are viable ideas and have very talented and strong teams behind them. It’ll be interesting to see how they acquire their first 100 and 1,000 users because I strongly believe that startup success is 90% marketing, 10% product; at least in the first few years. Anyways, again; a big congratulations to JumpStart Foundry and the 6 companies. Best of wishes for the upcoming years!!