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Friday September 19, 2014

NY Convergence ORIGINAL

#UltraLight Startups Hosts Investor Feedback Forum

Last week, Ultra Light Startups hosted its Investor Feedback Forums for budding startups and entrepreneurs in NY. Multiple groups premiered their concepts to a panel of judges, which included Avi Chen of Majorlee Investments, Rahul Ghandi of High Peaks Ventures Partners, and others. The feedback is focused on giving actionable advice and providing valuable insight on what investors want from startups. Blogger Al Chen summarized the pitches and panel responses from the night.
MeebleMail, market leader in personalized e-mail stationary, has competitors such as IncrediMail and Paperless Post. However, MeebleMail offers its users customization, and gains a majority of its reach through viral means. The startup boasts 40 partners, like HBO and the NBA. Feedback from investors centered around the defensibility of the product and asking why other players have not yet duplicated the product.
Focusing on the event sector were Flavorpill Gel and Fiestah. Flavorpill currently exists as a digital publisher for cultural events and news, but is now moving into the events space with Flavorpill Gel, its beta product that aims to create a worldwide social calendar. In the future, Gel hopes to be viewed as a technology platform for events and UGC content. The investors suggested not separating Flavorpill from Gel since the it could cause unwanted confusion. Fiestah created a platform that connects party planners to party vendors. Users, free of charge, post items needed for an event, and vendors repsond with various bids. Panelists noted the heavily focus on local, and encouraged a national plan for the future.

Two other startups, NestEgg and ACE group, were concentrated on the financial sector. NestEgg sells online wealth management tools to financial institutions. Their tools are used to automate a lot of the duties of a wealth manager, and can handle a larger amount of clients than one individual. NestEgg’s back-end is customizable and uses algorithms to compute strategies. Feedback from the panelists suggested making the product less confusing and tweaking the pitch. ACE Group, online marketplace for issuances of private securities. The startup is run by four ex-investment bankers and targets four constituencies: investors, placement agents, issuers, and regulatory authorities.

Then, news conversation site, Delve, presented next. The startup has a goal of being a one-stop-shop for professionals to find their news. Its tools allow users to filter news. Revenue is raised on a seat-per-company basis. Also, Jamplify presented its social marketing platform, which turns a fan base into a large marketing sector. For example, a music artists can drive fan traffic to a music video and then the fan with the highest number of shares is awarded by the artist. Target media includes grassroots artists with a committed fan base.

FreetheFrame, image-to-print company, has a target audience of college students who want custom prints. The company’s current focus is on the growing world of Internet memes. Any uploaded image on the site can be customized as a meme. One panelist mentioned that the largest issues facing these types of upload sites are the margins. Lastly, Grafighters is a gaming platform that lets users create a gaming character from scratch. They currently have over 20,000 users and are profiting from the trend of people paying to customize characters with upgrades and accessories.