Posted on Thursday, Jul 19th 2012
During today’s roundtable, we held the finals of the A&N Media-Elance contest co-hosted by King’s College, London. This was perhaps one of the absolute best sets of pitches at a contest final this year.
First, Dr. Dele Omotosho and Michela Menting from London pitched Happerture, a vertical ad network for healthcare mobile apps. As a concept, vertical ad networks have been quite successful, with companies like Glam Media, Travel Ad Network and Adify leading the pack. Happerture’s presentation, however, had other elements of a review site and a storefront for mobile healthcare apps, which confused the pitch somewhat.
Then Victor Alexiev from Sofia, Bulgaria, pitched PoolTalent, a site for IT recruitment with a special focus on personalized matching against specific criteria. Of course, online recruitment is a tried and true concept and we often see niches and variations on the subject. In this case, the questions were largely around differentiation and competitive positioning.
Next Brian Pietras from London pitched SpareSquare, a marketplace through which consumers can rent out storage space to students and professionals. This is a concept that we have seen before as well, and in fact, we’re seeing quite a trend in the domain of ‘marketplace for sharing.’ The success of Airbnb in renting to travelers has created variations of the concept in domains such as storage. It is definitely a reasonable and viable concept with many early players vying for market adoption.
Yetunde Murphy from London pitched Appsy, an outsourced mobile app development company. Now, speaking of a competitive space, this one is not competitive; it is hyper competitive. It is, obviously, a viable business, but one with not hundreds but thousands of competitors in it.
Then Timothy Armoo from London pitched Doodlar, a marketplace for urban designers to sell their T-shirts and other fashion merchandise to consumers. The closest comparable company to the concept is likely Etsy, although Doodlar’s focus is not on fashion. The judges found the idea compelling.
Fashion Forward Maternity
Erin Lewis from Colorado pitched Fashion Forward Maternity, an e-commerce business for renting high quality, well designed maternity clothing. It’s an excellent concept and has already seen adoption elsewhere (e.g. baby clothing, toys, etc.). Erin already has some customers and is doing about $3,500 a month in business.
Next John Hazell from London pitched Netcopy, a service through which publishers with significant paper archives can turn those archives into digitized, subject-specific articles that can be published online to harness additional search traffic. The A&N Media judges validated the concept on the spot saying that they have a similar effort under way, although not exactly the same.
Then Dana Hostage from Massachusetts pitched Artimus Art, a service for parents to turn their children’s art into museum-quality photo books. Massachusetts entrepreneur Dana Hostage has so far sold $250 books to 1,000 customers. It is not a stretch to think that Hostage can recruit 4,000 customers, which will get her to the prized $1 million mark in short order.
Parker Holcomb from Massachusetts pitched eHighLighter, an OCR-based iPhone app for digital note-taking from physical books. The app includes annotation, highlighting and other features that sound quite useful. I happen to be of the opinion that the app should offer limited usage for free, and then switch to paid (~$5) as soon as the consumer has experienced value. There is potentially a second app here, which is a marketplace for notes from other people.
Last up, Ali Ahmed from London pitched Lutebox, a social shopping site with a special emphasis on video-based collaborative discussions and screen sharing capabilities. Ali has gathered a good number of retailers and has started monetizing through an affiliate model whereby retailers receiving traffic through the site fulfill the orders. Again, an interesting concept targeted towards women 22-44 to begin with.
Finally, the winners of today’s contest are: Victor Alexiev, PoolTalent; Brian Pietras, SpareSquare; Timothy Armoo, Doodlar; Erin Lewis, Fashion Forward Maternity; John Hazell, Netcopy; Dana Hostage, Artimus Art; Parker Holcomb, eHighLighter; and Ali Ahmed, Lutebox.
Please note, we gave out a very large number of scholarships today, a testament to the quality of the pitches, and even the two that did not win, we believe, are viable businesses. It’s just that they have more work to do.
Also, we saw a number of companies today with strong alignment with the segments in which A&N Media has significant presence. Of course, they own Mail Online, the largest site focused on women, but they also have a strong presence in urban and career demographics. It would be interesting to see if any of the scholarship winners from today’s session actually mature to a degree where they gain access to the channel.
And of course, ALL the winners will receive 100 Elance credits each!
You can listen to the recording of today’s roundtable here.
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This segment is a part in the series : Roundtable Recap
. July 17 - Avoid Pipe Dreams, Look for Pragmatic Solutions . July 10 - Beware of Free Loaders! . June 26 - USA Qualifies in 2014 World Cup Soccer . June 19 - Please Articulate Your Investment Thesis . June 12 - Celebrating Freshdesk’s $31M Series D Funding . May 29 - Get A Diagnostic On Fundability . May 22 - Homework Is Key . May 8 - Discussion On UltraLight Startups . May 1 - Women, Children and Entrepreneurship . April 10 - Chisel Your Raw Ideas To Find a Viable PositioningMore »» . April 24 - Series A Pitch Needs Clarity On Hard Numbers . March 27 - Bootstrapping Using a Paycheck Trend . March 20 - Spotlight on Penn Students . March 6 - You’re Never Too Old To Startup . February 27 - Confidentiality is Overrated . February 20 - In The Wake of WhatsApp . February 6 - First Time, From Barbados . January 30 - Value Proposition Needs To Be Laser Sharp . January 23 - All Emerging Market Ventures . January 16 - Investors Fund Businesses, Not Concepts . January 9 - Startup Mentoring Takes Patience . December 19 - Final One For 2013 . December 12 - Spotlight on Kae Capital, India . December 5 - Seed India Book Launch . November 14 - Do Your Competitive Analysis . October 31 - Book Launch – Feminine Feminism . October 24 - Bootstrapping Strategies . October 10 - Try To Minimize Capital Risk . October 3 - Devil Lies In The Details . September 26 - Launch Of A New Book . September 19 - SMB Focused Offerings . September 12 - Peer Validation Is Irrelevant . September 5 - Mentoring Networks Do Not Work . August 29 - Window Into Pakistan . August 22 - All Indian Affair . July 25 - Equity Financing From Customers . July 18 - Awake in Australia . July 11 - A Romp Through Some Global Entrepreneurship Hubs . June 20 - Three Indians . June 6 - Fashion Apps . May 30 - Rackspace Cloud - 1M/1M Startup Challenge Finals . May 23 - Turning Dreams Into Cash . May 16 - Calculate Your TAM Accurately . May 9 - Promising Portfolio From India . May 2 - Tech Recruitment in Bulgaria; Custom Fashion in India; Incubator-in-a-Box . April 25 - IT For Cleantech IN, Cleantech OUT . April 18 - From Singapore To Israel . April 11 - India’s Startup Industry Has A Major Gap – Product Marketing . April 4 - Don’t Waste Your Time . March 28 - Positioning And Focus Create Fast Sales Cycles . March 21 - Differentiation Is Key . March 14 - Spotlight On ProductNation, India . March 7 - The Diabetics Epidemic . February 21 - Damsels In Distress . February 14 - Stealth Is Overrated . February 7 - Joint Session with Startup Weekend . January 31 - Return On Investment . January 24 - Meet The One Million Club . January 17 - Winners Of The Second New Year Challenge 2013 Final . January 10 - Winners of the New Year Challenge 2013 First Final . January 3 - Last Few Hours To Vote For 1M/1M New Year Challenge 2013 . December 20 - New Year Challenge Voting Round Begins . December 13 - Focus On Artificial Intelligence . December 11 - IBM SmartCamp Barcelona . December 6 - New Year Challenge 2013 . November 29 - An Inside View Into Mentoring 2.0 . November 15 - Democratization Of Startup Financing . November 8 - Never Too Old To Startup . Kolkata MUST Clinch This Time . October 26 - Emerging Kerala . October 18 - Carbon Trading In Bulgaria . October 11 - Don’t Wait For Someone To Fund Your Alpha . October 4 - Kolkata 1M/1M Pitch-Fest . September 13 - Five 1M/1M Ambassadors Win Scholarships . September 6 - OrangeScape Launches KiSSFLOW . August 30 - Hybrid Business Models . August 23 - Attention, FinTech Entrepreneurs! . August 2 - The Free Rider Problem . July 26 - Date First, Don’t Rush Into A Marriage . July 19 - Winners Of A&N Media-Elance Contest With Kings College, London . July 12 - Spotlight On Western Massachusetts . July 5 - The Challenge Of Navigating Long Sales Cycles . June 21 - Spotlight On Colorado . June 19 - Winners Of The A&N Media-Elance Contest With London School Of Economics SU Entrepreneurs & European Student Startups . June 14 - Winners Of The A&N Media-Elance Contest With Imperial College, London . June 7 - Winners Of Second BlueSnap-Elance Finals . June 4 - Winners Of First BlueSnap-Elance Finals . May 31 - Go, Kolkata! . May 22 - Winners Of TechHub-A&N Media Battle Of The Startups Contest In London Win 1M/1M Scholarships . May 10 - BlueSnap-Elance Contest Applications Deadline This Weekend . May 3 - Some Wonderful Opportunities With Corporate Partners . April 26 - A Rare Women-Only Session . April 19 - Tyranny Of The TAM . April 12 - More From Indian Entrepreneurs . April 3 - Rendezvous In Bangalore . March 15 - Spotlight On 3 Day Startup Tel-Aviv . March 12 - Winners Of Microsoft Israel Scholarships . March 1 - Strategy Gaps Need To Be Plugged . February 23 - Microsoft Israel To Offer 1M/1M Scholarships . February 16 - What’s Happening In Turkey? . February 9 - Are You Fundable? . February 2 - YCombinator vs. 1M/1M . January 26th - Spotlight On Jacksonville, Florida . January 19 - Are Media Sites Fundable? . January 12-13 - Spotlight On IIT Kharagpur, India . January 5 - ERP Galore . December 22 - Free Apps, Ad-Supported Business Models => Dangerous! . December 15 - Web 3.0 And Social Dancing; Romania Emerging . December 8 - Three Open Opportunities For 2012 . December 1 - 1M/1M Premium Company Freshdesk Wins Funding From Accel Partners . November 17 - Business Schools And Early Stage Entrepreneurship . November 3 - VCs Are Not Always Right . October 27 - Check Out Stanzr . October 20 - Non-profits And For-profits . October 13 - FREE Is Not A Business Model . October 6 - Dedicated To Steve Jobs, Reinforcing Mission To Restructure Capitalism . September 29 - From Poland To Argentina . September 22 - How Do You Catalyze A Region’s Entrepreneurship? . September 15 - Do Your Homework First . September 8 - A View Into Israeli Start-ups . September 1 - Fall Call To Action . August 25 - How To Use Twitter For Lead Generation . August 11 - Menlo Park And The Silicon Valley Renaissance . August 4 - How Do You Bootstrap Freemium Ventures? . July 28 - Investors And Incubators Need To Look At Pre-Incubation . July 21 - Crowd Sourced Funding Exchanges - An Emerging Trend . June 30 - Continued International Participation . June 23 - New Assessment Tool For Entrepreneurs . June 16 - Exciting Companies Lined Up For Microsoft Startup Grant Finals . June 9 - Silicon Valley . June 2 - 1M/1M And Incubators - What We Have Learned . May 26 - Twitter, LinkedIn - Why Not Affiliates? . May 19, Making Money From Blogs . May 12 - Two Really Cool Companies . May 5 - Ownership Matters . April 28 - Guerrilla P.R. & SEO Most Profitable Customer Acquisition Strategies . April 21- Incubators Are Reaching Out To 1M/1M . April 17 - High-Octane Energy In Pune . April 16 - 1M/1M Partners With Indian Angel Network Incubator . April 9 - 1M/1M Announces Partnership With TiE Chennai . April 6 - 1M/1M Announces Important Partnership With MAD Incubator, Malaysia . March 31 - Microsoft’s $100,000 India Startup Challenge Grant . March 24 - 75th Session Spotlights The Midwest . March 17 - Spotlight On Latin And Central America . March 10 - Spotlight On India . March 3 - Spotlight On The Northwest . February 24 - VCs, Angels, Incubators, Accelerators – What Are You Doing With Your Rejects? . February 17 - Indian Company Plugs Gap In Google’s Enterprise Solution . February 10 - When Keywords Are Competitive . February 3 - Indian Entrepreneurs Are Maturing . January 27 - Non-Dilutive Financing Through Revenue Sharing . January 20 - Personalization Remains An Open Problem . January 13 - Top 10 Online Advertising Trends For The Decade . January 6 - Top 10 Vertical and Social Web Trends For The Decade . December 16 - Top 10 Tech Trends To Watch . December 9 - Where Should You Raise Money? . December 2 - Niche Marketplace Businesses Can Be Interesting . November 18 - Not Coming To The Rescue Of Victory . November 11 - African Tech Entrepreneurs Emerging . November 4 - Premium Lounge Sneak Preview . October 28 – Convert Potential Competitors To Partners . October 21 - Bootstrapping Comes In Many Flavors . October 14 - Professional Investors Do Not Invest In $20 Million Markets . October 7 - Try To Get At Least $2M Pre-Money In Seed Round Valuation . September 30 - Investors Don't Fund Broad Ideas . September 23 - Do Not Spray And Pray . September 16 – 5 Cloud Computing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs . September 9 - Open Opportunities In Cloud Computing And Rural BPO . September 2 - Find High Velocity Channels . August 26 - 85%-90% Of Search Traffic Comes From Organic Search . August 19 - Niche E-Commerce Is Great For Bootstrapping . August 5 - Paying Customers =>Validation =>Valuation . July 29 - Startups In Malaysia . July 22 - Bootstrap Using Services . July 15 - A Market Of Late Adopters . July 8 - The EJ Methodology . July 1 - Get Your Pricing Model Validated . June 24 – Three Startups That Can Hit One Million Dollars . June 17 – Online Education Startups . June 10 – Efficient Targeting . June 3 – Defining Market Segments . May 27 – Is The Venture Worth Your Time? . May 20 – Validation, Validation, Validation . May 6 – Defining Value Proposition . April 29 – Finding The Right Direction . April 22 – The Original Runners . April 15 – Small Is OK; The Goal Is Profitability . April 8 – A Focus On E-Commerce . April 1 – Bootstrapping Tips . March 25 – A Mixed Bag Of Advice