Launchpad is a startup incubation programme which culminated in an event last week hosted at Google’s London office where the three teams that survived the four month mentoring programme gave presentations to a roomful of mentors, startups, investors and other interested parties.
The programme was run by Launch48 who did not take a stake in the businesses. There were originally 4 teams but only 3 made it to the end. The criteria for acceptance into the programme were: talented teams who were technically capable, would benefit from the program, had a product under development and who had an understanding of their market.
Several mentoring sessions were held over four months, each focussing on a particular area: mentoring, marketing, legal review, branding, sales, investment, and term sheet review. These sessions were mentored by folk from the likes of Microsoft, Google and Dennis Publishing.
Last Thursday night’s event was also sponsored by Bootlaw. Co-founder Danvers Baillieur said that more programs like this were needed as the space for programmes supporting startups was not at the point of saturation. He also commented on 42Voices, the team that did not make it to the end of the program. Not surviving was a valid outcome for this sort of programme – better to try and then ditch at this point rather than after consuming huge amounts of investment cash.
Now to the presentations!
Who’s pain are they trying to ameliorate? Organisers of amateur soccer games experiencing the non-response problem. Getting player availability and getting players to pay to be involved is a time and money intensive process, as well as a cumbersome one e.g. you might send out emails, then text everyone and then make follow up calls etc. Bluefields is targeting managers, not players.
Surely the problem isn’t that bad? Well, Andrew was copied into 1082 pre-season game emails…and those were just ones he was copied into! Shouldn’t there be a decent space to accommodate the need for all this communication?
Where do they offer their solution? On the web, on mobile and as an app.
What figures do they have to lean on? There are 600 million soccer players worldwide. It’s the most popular recreational sport in the US. There are 4.5million weekly 5-a-side players in the UK
What do they want? £100K please; actually they’ve got £25K of that so they only need the difference.
Show me the money! Revenue will come from subs payments (they’ll take 10%), from players who respond to SMS msgs sent out by managers, and from the Club shop.
Any other comment? I thought he gave a good, polished, professional presentation.
Hipsnip – Phil Woodward @hipsnip
What’s their solution? To use social networks as a purchase research channel i.e let HipSnip make it easy for your friends and followers to inform your purchasing decisions
How does HipSnip work? A bit like Foursquare in that you check in and say “I’m looking for a TV” and this is posted on your social network sites – if I understand this correctly. Then you add product info (image, notes or anything else) to show up on the snip feed. The idea is that people from your social network will respond by sharing their product experience and reviews with you.
Have they established demand for this service? During a trial, HipSnip got 16,000 downloads.
These are the conversion rates they achieved:
20% page views converted to downloads
11% downloads converted to registration
13% registered users were active users.
What do they want? £300K funding please; they’ve got about a third of that pledged already
Any other comment? According to Woodward, social commerce is fragmented at the moment but Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) says it will be the next big thing.
What’s the problem? Meetings are a necessary evil. But sometimes people are unprepared, sometimes too many or the wrong people turn up, dealing with minutes can be an inefficient and uncoordinated affair. These problems are played out 25million times a day!
And their solution? Minutebase helps you run your meetings and provides project management. There are loads of project mgnt apps out there “and probably two more since this presentation began” they quip. Their software offers agendas, proj mgnt, rich media and search.
What makes this product useful? Ability to provide differnet views on the same document. A built in a search system allows you to find a specific phrase within the minutes, and results are categorised by meetings, people and docments.
Show me the money! Monthly plans start at $29 dollars a month but this increases with the number of projects being managed or people using the software. They have a Freemium model for individuals but only one person can take minutes or organise mtgs; beyond this payment is required.
What are they looking for? They are bootstrapping so aren’t looking for investment but are looking for mentors, advisors, collaborations.
Any other comment? The guys seemed a bit nervous though they had no need to be so their presentation was not as slick or confident as the previous two but it was very much funnier, and for all the right reasons!
I’ll be interested to see how these teams progress – GOOD LUCK TO THEM ALL!
WARNING: Don’t read this last bit if you’re easily offended at and highly critical of mentions of pooh!
A moment that made me chuckle:
Someone from one of the teams said he was advised that even when a product is not perfect, the important thing is to get it out there. When he told a teammate that the advice was to ‘SHIT IT OUT’’ he was met with the response “Mate, that’s a mighty big turd!”
My thought: Yeah, but just think how satisfied and relaxed you’ll be after its release! (the product I mean…hehe)
(I know, I’m disgusting!)