These are my rough notes on the Day One pitches at the Launch Festival 2015.
Opinions are my own, ill-informed and probably ignorant.
They allow customers to offer to pay a tab before going to restaurant, selecting multiple restaurants to shop around. The restaurant bids for the customer based on the tab and +/- discount. They pitched as allowing the customer to get a discount which gave it a GroupOn race-to-the-bottom feel, rather than pitching the ability to get other benefits like good tables or service. Definitely stands well apart from GroupOn, but perhaps is a feature of another app. I’d use it to get good reservations as my GF and I spend too much on wine. They need to get very good inventory and users fast, which is hard and expensive.
Clever. Asian food delivered on-demand. The food is prepared in their own kitchen and packaged to order by the car driver, achieving very quick deliveries. There’s very interesting operational challenges as they grow. I like the concept of refactoring the supply chain and product for fast delivery. It actually reminds my of the early days of pizza delivery (where the product and process adapted to fast delivery) but that ended up as a race towards low-margin cheap crap. The future of delivered food will optimise the paddock-to-plate process for on-demand and it’ll take a stand-out product and operations company to do it.
Crowdfunding social recurring payments. It’s potentially useful as they removed most friction in making micro-recurring-payments to anyone via their social networks. Right now I felt it was a two-sided market without a specific focus on either side yet.
Geo-located photo sharing. Brings up other photos of the area or event you’re at. It’s not something I’d personally use as I’d just use google to find photos of a location I’m interested in in the rare occasion that happens (as I’m not a social-photo-kind-of-person), but this app was popular with some of the expert judges.
Geo-located group chat targeted to college students. Interesting that they pitched it as having the feel of a dating app but not for dating. I like that concept. For me it would replace a whatsapp group or Facebook group, with the benefit of discovery of who else was at the location (afterwards via “missed connections)”. They also spoke of the “M/F ratio check” coming soon. I feel there’s a creep factor.
The judge from Ten Cent liked Monument and Huckle the most, while the others were spread between Bento and Recurrency.
Diamond in the Rough Winner
Demonstrated live video stitching of six streams from Go-Pros arranged to provide a real-time 3D feed for a Oculus Rift. It’s cool and it’s going to happen. The judges picked up that the biggest constraint right now is the broadcast of the stream rather than the compute power to stitch in real-time. This pitch was purely a technology play.
Monthly subscription to curated arts events. Events are free to subscribers. The company curates surplus tickets 1-7 days before events and offers them to subscribers. This seems a legitimate business model, it reminds me of booking.com but for the arts. It benefits the suppliers by filling empty seats and (I assume) accessing different demographics. RushTixs need a good inventory, but presumably good events at good times will have the least available tickets. Still, I know people that would use it because they like discovering little gems of entertainment.
This was a version 2.0 pitch of a marketplace for parents to find activities for their children. They currently have a content play for parents recommending events, so have both sides of the market already and are moving to transaction processing. Targeting parents is a good category if you understand them.
Effectively an automated personal assistant for your travel plans, combined with ability to find and book the best fare/price. The user records their intent and the system gets them the best outcome. It was interesting they target airlines as their customer. Impressive tech, hard to imagine myself using it.
A wearable ceramic ring and accompanying app. A ring is apparently more more accurate than a wrist band. It provides sleep and exercise tracking and then recommendations for improvement from the via the app. The ring is big. I feel like the winners in this category need to create their own wafers and sensors. Off-the-shelf components lag in performance and size. Better to be learning something that not though.
Red Tricyle was generally most popular with the judges, followed by RushTix.
Version 2.0 winner
Connect to an expert over video chat on-demand (Micro Consulting). Pay through the app (15 minute price is fixed). Actually pretty good for certain verticals and allows experts outside big cities to provide services in other markets. Long-term, this on-demand tele-presence access to expertise is definitely going to happen and going to be huge.
International Startup Winner
A SaaS vulnerability scanning app. I’ve wanted this to exist for years as it’s expensive to get good PT teams in (~$9k for 3 days hands-on work). The experts will usually run a suite of vulnerability scanning first, then focus in on the potential problems by hand (which remains important). The open-source solutions are very good, but you need current expertise to use them properly. Automated vulnerability scanning also produces a lot of false-alarms that experts know how to dismiss. The challenge for Detectify is having credibility within the security community as the follow-up investigation and fix of vulnerabilities is the important service of the experts.
Use your mobile device as part of a compute grid to make a little money. This is going to happen. The devices are very powerful and almost continually connected to the internet. In 5 or 10 years the compute power of these devices is going to be phenomenal and deploying compute power across them when not in use makes sense. I saw this discussed in a bitcoin mining forum where there was a lot of concern about the hidden cost of shorting the life of the devices but running them hot.
I didn’t take notes on the 3 demo-pit demos, but Rise Robotics really impressed in the Q&A. (Rise Robotics won best Hardware Award)
See next Launch Festival Day Two