October 09, 2013

On Tuesday five start-ups from all walks pitched their ideas to a panel of investors for the chance to win $2,500 and the blessings of famed panelist, infomercial legend, and Season 1 guest Shark, Kevin Harrington.

It was more than a little exciting.

Kevin Harrington walked into the crowd following a video highlighting his career and accolades. He spoke about the key factors of success (Please & seize, publish, productize, build a profile, partnership) and the reality of stumbles (he's had a few). When asking for a loan, he said, "Don't sell your concept to the bank. Sell your ability to pay back the loan." He concluded with a slide of 10 thing he looks for in a product (pay attention, hopeful entrepreneurs). At last, 5 presenters boldly took to the stage, pitching to Kevin and the other panelists their small companies and big ideas.

The Runner Ups:

Presenters included Chris Rooney of Get Health, a health management program that makes getting healthier social and fun. It is adopted by corporate HR and wellness divisions to track and measure the success of their employees so they can assess progress and measure ROI. In pilots, Rooney said more engagement has been marked with tangible improvement.

Lacquerous, a monthly nail polish subscription service and discovery platform (A hybrid model of Rent the Runway and Birchbox) showed promise with a sleek presentation and trendy concept that boasted 200 subscribers and over 4,000 on the waiting list.

Sohin Shah, co-founder of iFunding spoke about his private real estate investment platform. On the website members can select and make direct investments in pre-vetted portfolio of institutional quality real estate assets. Members can invest as little as $1,000. Shah boasts that neither competitors, Realty Mobile and Fundrise have done as much business transactions in 6 and 12 months as they had to date (including $2.5 million in the first 30 days).

Thread is an application that modernizes caller ID on mobile. When a friend calls, the app takes up unused real estate on your screen with the contact's latest Facebook and Twitter posts, giving more context for the call. The bread and butter of the app is advertised content from their favorite mobile apps. Per their example, a New York Knicks app might make you aware of available tickets for tonight's game. "It benefits users who are able to get mobile exclusives. And in our focus groups we found that people not only want this, but are willing to pay for it. For application publishers, they're able to increase engagement and build a closer connection to fans."

And the Winner is:

The first presenter of the evening, and the ultimate winner of the prize was Aaron Price, co-founder of Livecube.

Price has a plan to gamify social media to amplify reach at events. Attendees have difficult time finding best ideas, he argues, and maximizing their coverage can be challenging for event coordinators. Livecube can help make sense of the chatter and drive the conversation.

Using game-engine incentives like points, badges, and discounts to future events (read: building up a loyal customer base) Livecube works at all kinds of events on all mobile devices to leverage social apps like Twitter and Yammer.

Initial results have been promising. At one summit, of the 450 attendees, 40% used Livecube and averaged 20 tweets per attendee. At another, 100% of the 183 attendees used Livecube for an average 33 tweets per attendee and generated 13,303 reposts and 2,382 session check-ins.

As far as scalability goes, a question asked by the panel, Aaron says, "Event organizers are not exactly price sensitive. We're not interested in meetups and small events." Instead Livecube targets large events that repeat, opening the door to yearly licensing agreements, which "ramps up quickly because they see the value."

Before joining UBM Becca served as Editor-In-Chief at Kapitall Wire, the sister site to an online brokerage firm that combines the challenges of the stock market with the thrill of ...