Down by the frigid waterfront in Chelsea this morning, investors, engineers and entrepreneurs convened on IAC Headquarters to listen to the latest batch of startup superstars pitch their companies at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator’s Demo Day.
The startups of ERA’s Winter 2014 class presented their services and business plans to a crowd of over 800. Each company spent about fifteen minutes on stage giving their pitches — prepared for with the help of presentation coaches — to a packed room of techies and potential investors.
Here’s a quick look at the startups from the morning:
Bookalokal – This ‘Airbnb of dining’ lets budding chefs host travelers for home cooked meals at a price. Think of it as the inverse of Kitchensurfing, which lets you book a personal chef to come to your home or party — with Bookalokal, you search for what kind of dinner you want, pull up a potential host’s menu and book yourself a dinner in the chef’s home. Bookalokal wants to be in 100 cities in the next five years, and Betabeat will be home to all your coverage of how New York City feels about people running restaurants out of their sublets.
Farmivore – Juicing is delicious, nutritious and paralyzingly messy and labor-intensive. You have to keep recipe books, find fresh produce, and clean the juicer — or you can buy the juice for the low, low price of your entire disposable income. Farmivore designs juicing recipes, does the shopping, portions the ingredients out into little bags and ships it all to your front door so you don’t have to experiment with buying piles of kale repeatedly only to realize that it will always taste like a kick in the head, no matter how much apple you add.
Cups – Cups helps independent coffee shops compete with big chains by equipping them with an app for their customers. Customers choose a coffee shop, choose their drink and hand the phone over to pay with the app. For $45 dollars a month, subscribers get unlimited coffee from every shop that uses Cups. Cups has signed up 50 NYC locations, making them the third largest coffee “chain” in the city behind Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.
Dashride – Taxi and limo companies are spending $1 billion annually to keep clunky old radios systems that dispatch drivers. With the rise of servives like Uber and Lyft, there’s more pressure for taxi companies to modernize, and Dashride gives car services an app that lets them schedule hires and dispatch drivers without legacy hardware.
OwnOut – Ownout “helps brands steal customers” by asking that you willfully give up your personal data in exchange for sweet deals on retail goods. OwnOut helps brands who might think you’re a valuable customer target you directly with big promotions to try and win your loyalty. Convincing people to give up their data sounds absurd at first, but OwnOut says that it’s not just brands who want to steal customers — customers want to be stolen as well.
Lingo Live – Learning foreign languages poses a huge problem for any business that’s trying to expand globally. With live tutors, you can’t schedule a lesson on your own time, and software isn’t always as effective as working one on one with one of those tutors. Lingo Live uses Google Hangouts and a huge network of tutors to help businesses get their employees fluent and ready to take on the global marketplace.
CommonKey – CommonKey is a web app that allows you to keep one password for every service you use. For businesses that use dozens of online services, they can give their employees one common account that lets them access every service without having to circulate dozens of logins.
Retsku – Retail brands in America spend $400 billion on promotions a year, but also spend $32 billion trying to figure out if any of those promotions are worthwhile. Retsku collects retail data, cranks it through an analysis engine, and spits out alerts and insights brands can use to get the most out of their promotions. Retsku could tell you when your competitor is out of stock, or when to time your next sale. Honeywell , Ninja and Vicks are all running pilots for Retsku, with companies like Purell and Keurig waiting in line to sign up.
Shopalytic – Shopalytic is a platform that processes ecommerce data and turns it into plain-English insights that anyone can understand. Where many competitors can charge thousands for ecommerce analytics, Shopalytic starts at $99 dollars a month as a service. It has a less robust look than other ecommerce analytics platforms, but what good are metrics you don’t understand?
Mezzobit – Mezzobit is a software system and firewall for digital publishers to speed up their websites, protect their data, and make sure that their ads are more secure and efficient.