I am making up for being dead to the world during most of August and September! Although Startcon’s Pitch for $1 Million wasn’t on my to go list. Until, Little Tokyo Two gave me a chance to get free tickets on Thursday night, for the Friday event. When life gives you these opportunities, it’s foolish not to take them. So I took it and was treated to a great day of interesting pitches, insightful talk and delicious food!
Normally, I do a detailed analysis of the pitches, but with 27 pitches at a duration of 2 minutes plus 3 minutes of questions, it’s simply too many to cover. So let’s start with the winner: Conpago!
As I am working as a consultant CTO for two QUT Foundry based startups dealing with aged care, I had heard Conpago mentioned a few times. But this was the first time I heard them pitch. It was a very well done pitch. They got across clearly the pain point they were addressing, the benefits they were bringing, and they finished with seconds to spare! Two minutes is not a long time, and some of the other pitches failed to get across clearly the why and what of their existence. Conpago on the other hand, had a clear story, that they communicated well. I felt my speech points going up just listening to them!
Second place went to Monarc Global, who want to be Uber of private air travel. As far as the pitch went, there were better presenters then Monarc, but they certainly had the sexiest business idea. Also, while they struggled to fit everything into the two minutes, they still got across their why and what. It was also very clear that the business had some real traction. So while I think they need to practice more before the finals, I think they have a solid shot at winning the $1 million prize!
Becon Health took out third place. I missed the initial pitch for Becon Health and Parent TV. But luckily, both were selected to be the six semifinalists. So I got to hear Becon’s pitch, and Parent TV’s too of course. It was a good pitch, and I know they why and what of their existence. Becon Health is also something that I am surprised doesn’t exist already. But I suppose, like Monarc, Becon Health needed the economy in a certain place to be viable. We do live in a gig economy, a sharing economy and an on-demand economy. So it makes sense for the market to be ripe for Becon Health.
As I mentioned, the initial 27 pitches were paired down to six semi-finalists. These six founders pitched again, and from there ranks the three winners were chosen. Parent TV was one of them. They are an online content factory that provides tailored educational content for parents. It’s a good business idea that was pitched with clarity.
Kids Wantu was another semi-finalist. Way back in February 2017, I wrote about attending a Meetup on how to market apps. The post isn’t very detailed, and the meet-up no longer exists. But the in the post I did mention that one of the meet-up members had presented her app. That member was Anne-Marie Walton, and at the time, she was just getting ready to launch Kids Wantu to the general public. It was amazing to see how far Kids Wantu had come in the almost two years since the Meetup. Kids Wantu didn’t place this time, but I think the app is set for big things to come!
The sixth finalist was WatchYourTalk and I was a bit surprised they got in. The pitch was good but I am very sceptical of the idea. The startup wants to build an app that monitors speech to detect signs of depression. The founder assured the audience the app was based on sound science. But I would need to see the research behind it to be convinced.
I personally wouldn’t have chosen UPTEK in the place of WatchYourTalk. The founder was wearing the air bands while pitching. The product also seemed ready for Kickstarter. I certainly would back the product should it ever come on Kickstarter. That’s not to say that there was more evidence in the pitch that UPTEK AirBands had more solid science behind it then WatchYourTalk. I think that a band that helps you build more muscles by restricting airflow in short bursts is more likely then an app that detects if you are at risk of suicide based on your speech pattern.
From the other pitches, the ones that didn’t make it out of their group, there was World's Biggest Garage Sale whose full pitch I got to hear at Creative 3. I also got to see the 2-minute version of Space Y’s pitch from last Tuesday’s iLab event.
Finally, I wanted to take note of Amber, the only crypto-startup to pitch. The founder of Amber, Aleksandar Svetski, is on the opposite side of the Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash debate to my good friend Brendan Lee. They even debated each other recently! If you are wondering what the hell I am talking about, let me refer you to the video of the debate.
Overall, it was a good day. I did learn a few things from the invited speakers. Maybe I’ll do another post to delve a bit more into what I learnt. I am glad I went. Thank you again to Little Tokyo Two for the tickets!