Ultra Light Startups' Investor Feedback Forum


On Thursday, August 9th, OLC attended Ultra Light Startups’ Investor Feedback Forum featuring the following panelists: David Aronoff of Flybridge Capital Partners, Jim Estill of CanRock Ventures, Weston Gaddy of Bain Capital Ventures and Bill Reinisch of Paladin Capital.  Eight (8) companies pitched, here is our commentary:

Winning presentation Fantasy Buzzer was presented by Founder Pritesh Damani.  Fantasy Buzzer is a platform for the fantasy sports enthusiast with ULS estimating the market size at $62.0 million.  There are 32 million participants in fantasy sports and Fantasy Buzzer has a $2/user per season revenue model.  Despite this, Aronoff and the other investors felt that this was not a venture-backable company.  Reinisch recommended that FB partner with a larger player such as Yahoo and look for an exit via acquisition.  Estill recommended going viral via a PR campaign.  Gaddy suggested positioning the product appropriately within the competitive landscape, again geared towards a potential exit via acquisition.  www.fantasybuzzer.com

Runner-Up Launch.it was presented by Trace Cohen, President and Co-Founder.  Launch.it is a PR Platform for new product launches and ULS estimates the market size at $30 million.  The company is one of first father-son startup teams, as Trace’s father, Brian, is the head of NY Angels.  Their motto is “No new product should get left behind” and they are targeting the trade show market.  They feel that conferences are a $1 billion market with the technology conference market alone worth over $300 million.  www.launch.it

Third-Place Finisher (tie) LinkingSport was presented by Founder Antonio Tembleque.  LinkingSport is a platform that organizes an amateur athlete’s sports activities, competing with the likes of iSport and TriSport.  ULS estimates the potential market here at $1.06 billion.  Tembleque and his team of seven have a strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated and currently have 1,200 users averaging eight minutes on the site each visit.  www.linkingsport.com

Third-Place Finisher (tie) Gabble On was presented by Founder Ethan Shen.  Gabble On is a language learning tool for busy people with a ULS estimated market size of $1.743 billion.  Gabble On’s interface displays content with translation side by side.  Aronoff and the other VC’s felt that when motivated, a novice can learn a new language within six months and Reinisch added that speech, not just written text is equally important to learning a language.  www.gabbleon.com

Talent Surfers was presented by Founder, Santiago Jaramillo. Talent Surfers is similar to Skillshare, but with face-to-face (one on one) classes.  ULS estimates the market size at $30.6 million.  Aronoff commented that online education is huge, growing market and Reinisch recommended  anchoring one side of this two-sided market.  www.talentsurfers.com

Categorical Technology was presented by Founder, Jamie Hamilton. Categorical Technology is an enterprise content curation platform designed to empower the end user.  ULS estimates the market size at $35.5 million.  Investors include Owen Davis of NYC Seed and competitors include PublishThis.  Aronoff felt that content marketing is huge potential market.  www.categoricaltech.com

HomeSwap was presented by Founder Gabriel Yarra.  HomeSwap is a home swapping site similar to AirBnb.  ULS estimates the size of this potential market at $200 million per year. Currently, 150,000 users currently paying for home swapping sites and Yarra identified his defensible domain site, HomeSwap.com with over 500,000 Google searches as a competitive advantage.  Still, Estill advised him not to underestimate competition while Aronoff conceded once again that home swapping is huge potential market.  www.homeswap.com

CareerSonar was presented by Founder Asaf Katzur. Career Sonar is an online job site who have partnered with Indeed.com.  ULS estimates the size of this market at $4.3 billion, but Katzur was quick to point out that the online job board market alone is $4 billion while the entire recruiting market is $140 billion in the US alone.  Gaddy and the other investors were not certain where the market and specific value-add were for this product.  www.careersonar.com