At the iBreakfast/iEvening event in midtown Thursday, entrepreneurs pitched their companies and investing trends were predicted. Investors favored apps that modernize and make the social media space more efficient. Gamification innovations that bring relationships to advertising and garner loyalty were discussed. In digital media, the trends include fashion, retail and food. Lastly, there was talk about healthcare, a newly emerging area because it’s just getting digitized.
Alan Brody, founder of iBreakfast/iEvening, thinks people want better and more information. He is seeing social startups that are relevant to professionals. “Somebody that has a job — has work — as opposed to just following Lady Gaga celebrity stuff or kid’s dates and where they ate last night. Adults are not that interested in this and it’s not at their workplace, so the stuff that makes it better, more efficient and usable at work is what is gaining traction.”
In mobile, he is seeing shovelware – where developers take something in one medium and shovel it into a new medium — even if it’s not really meant for that medium. “A lot of mobile stuff is just a sawn off version of a big site, but mobile has its own reality and own media specialty. You’re seeing breakthroughs like Summly for example – a site that reads the newspaper for you and breaks it down to 400 characters.”
Brody sees good pitches in the digital media space, “But what is interesting is that I am seeing some investors becoming seduced by other kinds of areas that they wouldn’t have done before, just because they see a social media angle in a food idea or a social media angle in a healthcare idea. So there is some cross fertilization in quite a few areas.”
A diverse group of entrepreneurs pitched at the event.The winning pitch came from Santhosh Kumaran of Cassia Enterprises, an e-market place for Indian cities that brings shops together in a community setting. “My business is in India, but I am based in the U.S. The problem we’re facing in India is that there is a lot of traffic congestion and pollution. It’s really hard for people to do everyday shopping. What we do is partner with local merchant on all kinds of things so the people can order online.”
Another interesting pitch came from Codex Therapeutics, a biotech startup developing a novel protein drug that treats chronic skin ulcers. “We are seeing mass critical need – there are 6.5 million patients in the U.S. with chronic wounds that need to be treated,” said Wenshan Hao.
Then there was Arsen Pereymer of Smarcle Inc who has developed 100 iPhone apps. He came to pitch his rewards app network which reward users for playing games. “We feel it’s time that everyone gets rewarded for playing games, not just downloading them, but actually using them. Every minute you play the game you earn reward points for actual monetary rewards like gift cards, iPads and Androids.”
Smalldeals is a startup following the mobile trend. It’s an open mobile advertising platform for grocery and personal care items. “Everybody has groceries, said Nikolai Kozarowsky. “They’re becoming a bigger part of daily budget so we’re very heavily invested into the circular that you get in your mailbox everyday user can very easily build a shopping list of products that are closest at the best price.”