Hearing startup pitches is usually the domain of venture capitalists and tech reporters. It’s rare the rest of us get to see how hopeful entrepreneurs are positioning their products and grandiose visions behind closed doors. Luckily, we have demo events to fill that gap. Wednesday night in San Francisco played host to one such event, which featured a liberal range of mostly early-stage companies—from enterprise marketing software to recruiting tech. The event was the first demo night sponsored by Tech In Motion, a year-old meetup catering to San Francisco tech professionals and enthusiasts.
What the event lacked in industry focus, it made up for in enthusiasm as six startups showcased their wares to a packed room in the heart of downtown.
Here’s a roundup of the startups the crowd heard from:
Thismoment helps brands deliver “dynamic brand experiences” across channels—from social media, to web, to mobile. Brands are now producing more content than ever but getting it to play nicely across platforms and social sites, not to mention measure its impact, is easier said than done. Thismoment wants to fix that and be the connective content distribution and measurement tissue for the Fortune 500 marketing crowd.
While Thismoment is less known than many of its counterparts in the marketing/ad tech space, it appears to be doing quite well. The company has offices in four U.S. cities, and international presences in London and Latin America. It also raised a $22M in Series C last year from Trident Capital, and calls IBM and P&G customers.
Not bad traction for a company that only launched in 2010.
San Francisco-based Givkwik offers a way for companies to get customers involved in their corporate philanthropy programs. With Givkwik, companies can essentially crowdsource who they should give their money to. Customers vote from a select group of charities, and can also donate themselves. Givkwik then dispenses the money to the winning charity, which the company charges a small fee to process.
CEO Jason Rosado said the company started off by building a B2C donation platform, but realized the real need was in B2B.
While corporate philanthropy is unarguably a good thing, we wonder if turning it into a public game of sorts has enough appeal to gain widespread traction. For everyone’s sake, we hope it does.
Ever thought about applying for a job but passed because the company looked, well, boring?
Zoomforth aims to change that with its embeddable “Lenses” that help companies visually communicate via photos and videos why talent should join their crew. Think of it as digital storytelling for company recruiting pages.
Zoomforth also allows administrators to easily have employees record videos about their experiences at a company. According to cofounder Guru Khalsa, ensuring those videos are high quality is one of the main areas his team is focusing on.
Recruiting technology startups sure have been receiving a lot of attention lately, especially around using big data to identify worthy candidates. Zoomforth differentiates itself from the pack by focusing on getting candidates already interested to actually apply. Whether or not Zoomforth succeeds, one thing is certain: every company can benefit from attracting the candidates most likely to be a culture fit.
Just 11 weeks old, DocSend was the youngest of the demoing companies. Currently in closed beta, DocSend allows you to share documents and—here’s the differentiating point—view analytics on how people interact with the documents. You can even tell how long people are looking at certain pages. For example, did your prospect actually look at that RFP and if so, did they spend an irregular amount of time on the budget page?
It’s no surprise that cofounder Dave Koslow said the company sees sales teams as a potential primary target for the product. Koslow added that DocSend differentiates itself from larger sales-specific products such as ClearSlide through its lower price point and that it doesn’t require a contract or other long-term commitment.
Three-month-old Sqwiggle wants to crack down on the communication problems common among remote teams. While in-person teams enjoy sporadic brainstorms, personal bonding and inside jokes, those benefits are often lost in space across distance and time zones. This can result in a less engaging work experience and diminished trust among coworkers.
Sqwiggle describes its software as a “persistent online workplace” where everyone can work together and communicate throughout the day. Cofounder Eric Bieller explained the primary features are text chat, video chat, drag-and-drop files and also continuous photo taking. Yes, Squiggle will actually take a photo of your team members at their desks every 8 seconds or so. In theory, this means feeling more connected to your team in real-time. In practice, it could mean forgetting about hiding that nagging Diet Coke addiction.
The payments space is hot. Between Square, PayPal founder Max Levchin’s startup Affirm, and backend solutions like Stripe, payments is one of the more lucrative—if not technically challenging—areas for a startup to tackle.
Ribbon takes a unique approach by making it super simple for anyone to sell a digital or physical product online. The company also provides a way for users to easily promote their products through social channels like Twitter and Facebook. A quick test of the site proved the service to be speedy. It’s clear the founders are putting a lot of effort into making the process as seamless as possible for both the seller and the buyer.
So if it’s time to sell those old LPs, Ribbon may be just the answer.