Three months ago, INcubes opened their doors to seven new companies for incubation in Toronto. INcubes evaluated the market potential of these startup ideas, and then off the startups went into a three-month qualifying curriculum program.
In the third month - after business plan refinement, expert advice, market research and development facilitation, resource procurement, third party qualification, and product plan refinement - five of the seven selected startups created an investor package presentation and practiced their pitch before going live Tuesday at the Royal Ontario Museum before an audience of interested parties.
The companies that pitched to the room full of interested parties were Gossipz, 23press, Empower, Spidvid, and 2.5, followed by Dragon Bruce Croxon's short keynote the day Techvibes announced his $100 million that he's raising towards digital startups at Round13.
Jeremy Wright, Terry Smith, and Jack Read are the team behind 23Press, a company that wants to make blogging management easier for “regular humans." Smith is one of the top WordPress developers in the world and Jeremy Wright has over a decade of experience in the tech world and has even written a book on some of his experiences in his short yet storied career.
The company says that bloggers need to do less managing, which on average eats up 30% of their time, so that they can fully get back to blogging. Having founded WordPress products in the past, the team is in the process of developing new products such as Movethatblog and Backuppress to lessen the resource drain on consumer and enterprise bloggers if they want to shift away from WordPress. They are seeking funding for a sophisticated revenue model over a period of the next 24 months or so where 50% of the money would go into development, 30% into marketing and 20% for general and administrative costs.
Garin Kilpatrick has built a FBPower information product for business owners and entrepreneurs that he’ll sell for $97. He says there are 172.8 million North American Facebook users and 37 million pages!
So he’s built a social media grader which captures your profile, identifies where you could improve with your social media profile followed by your grade. Kilpatrick also has built a software-as-service called “SMO Mastermind” that shows your likes and followers while you’re able to set and track goals.
The product will sell for 99 cents for the first month and he will charge $19.99 for each successive product. Kilpatrick has 65,000 followers on Twitter and 105,000 have subscribed to his content over the last number of years - so any interested venture capitalist will be investing in his reputation also. He’s seeking $300,000 to help sell and distribute FBPower but also build LINKEDPower and TWEETPower as well which are to come with investor interest.
Gossipz believes that the problem with social networking today is that anonymity is abolished on the Internet and that there's now a demand for safe & fun freedom of expression on popular social networking sites like Facebook. The company says their product which is set to launch on April 15 will allow you to "gossip" anonymously.
They say users will be able to use Facebook credits and perhaps Google Wallet to see how many people actually viewed the gossip said about them. Users will also be able to choose which friends they want to gossip to rather than all of their Facebook friends. The company is seeking $1 million for research and development, user-based growth, management and production of provocative anonymous apps in new verticals like the web and mobile. You can try the private beta here.
Jeremy Campbell’s creation Spidvid which launched in 2010 is a place where people can connect, collaborate and create video entertainment. Campbell has managed to sign up 4,000 users to his site since launch in January 2010 and 25% are currently active.He currently charges 5% for each transaction made on the site towards online video collaboration/production, $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year and takes 20% from partners.
He’s willing to give up 25% of his company in order to target a 5 million person market in the English speaking world that he believes would be interested in Spidvid. He believes he would break even by late 2013 with 250,000 users. Other suggested revenue models include sponsoring unique films and more. You can check out a YouTube video of what Spidvid’s all about here.
Theoretically launching in January 2013, 2.5 is trying to guide people on a roadmap through the world of big data which they say is currently cumbersome and boring. They want it to be entertaining, and comprehensive much like infographics. However, they also want it to be responsive to change. It’s a 3D agile development project that will analyze text using a powerful engine with rapid delivery and generate a thematic signature based on the subject of the content.
They say it will rapidly uncover new insight and serve as a SaaS 3D viral looking tool for not only data visualization but the value of such insights as well. They are seeking $740,000 to help build the sophisticated 3D SaaS and would be targeting social tech entrepreneurs, digital publications, and professors and students.