Scoring financing is one of the hottest topics in entrepreneurship and my new friends @lendio are doing their part to help entrepreneurs find the right funding sources. In addition to their subscription service that boasts 70+% funding rates, they sponsor cool events like this one.
They invited me be on a panel for an innovative event called CrowdPitch. The Chicago version of the event was hosted in partnership with the Northwestern/Kellogg Entrepreneurship Week festivities.
CrowdPitch is a 90 min. event where 5-6 companies are selected to present their ideas to an audience of their peers and a panel of experts. Presenters have just 4 minutes to wow the audience before a brief Q&A from the crowd. Panel feedback follows.
At the conclusion of the pitches, the audience and panel “invest” FUN money with the company that impressed them most. The winner receives a small prize, but more importantly validation, expert feedback, and exposure for their business.
The five companies that pitched at the event were:
AlumSocial: Cool concept, but their live demo crashed, so they didn’t really get to do their thing :-(. The lesson for all of us – use screen shots rather than a live demo (unless the investor specifically asks for a live demo).
Energy Recovery Technologies: Another fantastic energy/green technology. Super competitive marketplace. I told them they needed a rockstar business development team to match the expertise of their R&D team to have a shot at being a market leader.
Socioclean: I was super-impressed with this venture. Sharp CEO, great technology and decent traction already. If you’ve ever worried about an employer (or future employer) finding your not-so-flattering party pictures and obnoxious Facebook posts when they do some checking on you, sign up for Socioclean and they’ll help you fix that pronto! I’m confident they’ll get venture funding soon.
SpotHero: Wouldn’t it be cool to show up to a crowded concert or sporting event to have a reserved parking spot waiting for you? SpotHero is designed to connect parking spot owners (including people who want to rent out their driveway) with spot buyers (people like you and me who don’t want to walk 5 miles from a remote parking lot). They have a stiff uphill climb ahead of them unless they can land a million bucks to leapfrog the competition. It is another crowded marketplace. However, the two founders are sharp, driven, go-getters so I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll stay committed to the project no matter what.
Tix4Cause: Kevin Nemetz at Tix4Cause was super nervous making his pitch, but they have built a very cool company that is really adding tremendous value to both buyer and seller of event tickets. The next time you have some tickets to offload (or if you’re looking for great tickets to an event), check Tix4Cause first. You’ll get great seats and help a great charity in the process. A very fundable business if they can solve a couple of adoption issues on the non-profit company side (they’re working on it as we speak).
Got a great business idea you’re working on? Find a crowdpitch event near you and get on the roster. The insight, candid feedback and “free consulting” is invaluable!
Can’t wait to do it again
(And yes, I am a sucker for an entrepreneur with an idea, so find me in the BOSI Network and I’ll be glad to give you my two cents of input if applicable).