There was a time when every other tech event was a pitching competition. While their popularity has declined in favor of tech’s innovative event of choice –hackathons – Entrepreneurs Roundtable just had their 77th iteration, and they’re still going strong.
Having done this for six years and having launched their own accelerator Entrepreneurs Roundtable can easily be counted as one of the best pitching events relatively new entrepreneurs looking for a seed round can attend or participate in looking to get an edge in immersing themselves in the business.
Svrluga spoke about his years of experience at first working with a firm, and then starting his own, High Peak, which invests at the seed stage in SaaS, e-commerce, and enterprise companies. High Peak’s TXVIA’s sold to Google in 2012 and was one of the firm’s many successes.
We view our job not as an oracle but as general practitioner. Our job is to be a diagnostician and build a network of resources in the form of deep domain experts,” said the investor.
After he spoke, Svrluga took questions from the audience. One audience member asked what’s the biggest difference between the firm he runs now and the one he worked for in the 90s? Brutally honest and funny, Svrluga answered “I have a fucking clue versus I didn’t.” He also revealed that, through the years, he learned the importance of investing in the entrepreneur rather than the product. His firm evaluates whether a founder is incredibly smart, as well as humble. He asks if they are incredible learners, self-reflective and honest with themselves.
Beauty box subscriptions have exploded in recent years, with companies like Birchbox, CurlBox and others springing up to satiate the everyone’s inner beauty junkie and every grooming habit. As much as women and – increasingly – men love testing items at minimal risk, there comes that time when not everyone is going to love everything they receive. eDivv seeks to capitalize on an already underground market where beauty box customers trade their unwanted items. According to cofounder Casey Casterline, roughly 10,000 people were trading the beauty products they didn’t want. Beauty items is just the beginning, as the company is looking to expand into gift card subscriptions and other unwanted items. They’re already in talks with brands such as Sephora to make it even easier to extend the life of beauty items so that they never go to waste.
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Key Supreme is the company behind a biometric wearable that would do away with passwords altogether. With it, you could open your garage, your car – the list goes on. With three patents under their belt, the device has no USB ports, and a small screen interface. While the idea is to make the general public’s lives easier – and more secure – Key Supreme intends to be an enterprise level means of security for big companies who put a high value on security to share with their customers.
TaskRabbit restructured their job matching process, going from a broad range of micro work to more specific niches, and Handy is all about home improvement micro jobs. Looking to prove that broader is better, JobRunners believes that there is still a need for random work, citing the success of similar outfits in Australia, a market that’s similar to the US, as an example. They’re looking for $750k in seed funding.
Human Condition Global
Hands down, the most engaging pitch came from Human Condition Global whose presentation was equal parts show and tell. The company is looking to make construction sites safer through a device embedded in workers’ vests that indicates the worker’s physical status. The small device alerts a connected tablet – ergo site managers – to the possible adverse health effects of improper precautions, such as lifting too much weight or bending improperly. “Safety equals dollars in the construction business,” said Human Condition’s Chief Strategy Officer Oliver Rothauser.
Stock Battle wants to bring elements of fantasy football and the stock market into one addictive platform. Users are given $1 million in virtual money to use in competitive stock predictions. Based on performances, users get cash prizes. Still in beta, they have 400 test users and are looking to acquire $500k in seed funding to create a more robust site.
- “Always bring your hardware to a pitch.”
- “Many startups count brand partnerships as a mode of revenue when in fact the ad agencies in charge of those advertising dollars want to be able to invest in three of four channels, and that’s it. In order for your startup to attract their attention, it’s best if you have a lot of traffic.”
- “You’ll never be done building when you’re tackling big issues.”
- “Entrepreneurs are becoming smarter and smarter.”