On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, OLC attended VentureOut New York’s Canadian Demo Night. Terry Kawaja, Founder and CEO of Luna Partners, was the keynote speaker. The panelists present at the event were Habib Kairouz, Managing Partner of Rho Capital Partners; Kelly Hoey, Co-Founder of Women Innovate Mobile; Thatcher Bell, Managing Director of Gotham Ventures; and Gil Beyda, Founder and Managing Partner of Genacast Ventures. The startups were: Needle, HealthWave, SqueezeCMM, Candid, FameBit, ExecNote, Jump2Spot, and Guestful.
Terry Kawaja: I want to speak about tech startups with the goal of providing an insight. Remember that the world is not always as advertised. You need to ask for the order, buy low and sell high. You also need to look for and seize opportunity, but remember that your schooling is a sunk cost! One thing I learned was that you are your best—and sometimes only—advocate. I also learned that failure is not the end of the world, to reinvent myself constantly, take rational risks and to think different. If you take unconventional approaches, you have more chances to succeed. Above all, you need to be authentic and be funny.
The tech community in New York is very exciting. That’s why we’re here. We’re pleased to see that activities of startups are increasing in Canada!
Michael Cheng of Needle presented first. Needle is a platform for hiring designers. “It’s difficult the right designer, and so, Needle is the visual solution for that. The world spends $6 billion on services. Needle takes just 15% of the transaction fees. We’re doing $250,000 and have $120,000 committed,” Cheng said.
FameBit was shown by David Kierzkowski. FameBit is a marketplace that makes video influence marketing simpler. They give businesses tools to organically reach their growth by leveraging video creators. The platform connects user influencers with business solution—by creating self-serve influencers. They’ve raised $1.5 million on their marketplace.
Dominic Gignac presented Candid. “The inability to try-before-you-buy on online shopping is a major roadblock,” Gignac said. Candid can convert 30% of users by showing real products. Candid is a visual online platform that fully curates and increases convention rates for online commerce. They are harnessing the power of the visual connection.
Chung Wong of Jump2Spot explained that there are 25 million geotagged locations without any information. Jump2Spot works to add historical stories to geotags. They want to start doing this on Instagram. Jump2Spot wants to tell stories using geotagging.
Brent Diefenbacher presented Execnote, a social, outbound sales platform. “Enterprise buyers are going online,” he said. “And they’ll find out that Execnote helps to start a conversation through social mediums and delivery over a personal microsite. Their goal is to penetrate relevant spaces.
Healthwave creates a platform for health professions to dispense medication. It calls itself the “Smart Dispensary” where thousands of professional-grade products can be purchased from the marketplace and users can control who can access and purchase from their own dispensary. The best part is that Healthwave is free.
Guestful’s Richard Btaiche explained that 85% of diners go online to find restaurants, and in doing so, restaurants lose engagement with customers—diners especially. Through Guestful’s API, anyone can find seats without calling or using OpenTable to reserve a reservation.
Jen Evans presented SqueezeCMM, a startup launched in July. They are solving a problem for the enterprise. Content marketing is how people are reaching out to customers. “That’s not a great solution on market,” Evans said. She worked with enterprise businesses to find that out. “Every platform has content metrics, but Squeeze adds metadata on top of CMM to contextualize them,” she said.