:30s feedback on Startup Hoyas Incubator Teams
30 second feedback for the entrepreneurs that presented at the StartupHoyas Incubator event:
Aquicore, Logan Soya, MBA’13: OPower for commercial. Passionate idea, but I don’t understand the business model. How do you make money?
Bookend Technology, Todd Cofer, SCS’12: Early and predictive grade information for students, teachers, and parents. Selling to EDUs is a low margin business. The very best you could hope is being acquired by a larger education platform.
DashBike, Jeff Stefanis, B’13: Electric bikes and commuting. Way too much technology that can go really wrong. Low margins. This is a fun idea and perhaps partnering with new groups that have a foothold in commuting like Bikeshare might work for you.
GiveSocial, Kita McCord, MBA’12; Becky Cranston, MBA’12: This is great at connecting companies and social giving campaigns. There is probably a market, but there will be a future of “green-washing” when company and campaign values do not align.
GuideBreeze, Kyle Miller, B’12; Brian Will, B’12: Hunting and Fishing Yelp. This is a Me2 (yelp) so there is a big threat. The business model is backwards. Instead of going after guides to get paid, go after people who want exclusive experiences and do all the billing, scheduling, and customer care for the guides and you’ll do really well and provide something that Yelp doesn’t.
Local Energy Technologies, Luke Schoenfelder, COL’12; Jamil Poonja, COL’12: Potential game changer in energy. Loved it. Political instability and corruption in emerging markets will be the biggest hurdle.
Millennial Trains Project, Patrick Dowd, SFS’09; Nick Troiano, COL’12; John Gwin, SFS’12: Slightly offensive. Essentially, “old people, give me your money, because young people are optimistic and have the ideas to make the next generation of jobs so we’re putting them together on a train for a week” Other than the Ageism aspect, it looks like it’ll be fun.
Modefy, Lila Wilson, SCS’13: Online Project Runway - it’s cute, but there are already economic signals in the marketplace that gets fashion to people - it’s sales. Consider leveraging Facebook as a platform. I don’t know how this would make money. Is there a need for this?
RealDeal, Maxim Wheatley, COL’13: This is a Me2. Business to Consumer sales/promotion.
Reserved Incorporated, Doug Kilgour, MBA’12; Mitchell Harris, MBA’12: A Me2 for savored, open table. The minute you have people not showing up regularly the sooner you’ll get banned from top restaurants. I think there is a threat for places that require credit cards to reserve. Low margin.
Tevolution, Ian Simpson, MBA’07: They could not present; I’ve had their tea and it was tasty!
TouchDome LLC, Kathleen Wolff, EMBA’12: Watches for seeing impaired. Great niche market. I would do a quick paid iPhone app to get numbers for a model on the potential uptake. How often do people buy watches? This could be a small business but interesting.
Tutors on Campus, Raphael Wertheimer, SFS’12: Me2 - competition will make this one hard to get off the ground.
YellowFlag, Josh Peyton, SCS’14: This is a traffic play for advertising. Low margin and a lot of effort to sell.
YoBucko, Eric Bell, MBA-EP’12: Fun platform; it’s a bit of a me2 and I’m unsure how they make money, but I think there is some passion there that makes sense.
In the “write a check” test - I’d go with Local Energy Technologies, YoBucko for the platform potential, and maybe Guidebreeze if they changed their model.
LET Technologies Incubator
On Thursday, Aug. 2, I went to the StartUpHoyas Incubator Demo Day pitch event at Georgetown University with my friend Jen Dalton.
Seventeen student run teams pitched their businesses. Everyone did an amazing job and I think there are several teams that could make a run at making something real out of their work. There was one that really stood out: Local Energy Technologies and their CEO Luke Schoenfelder. They have the technology and the model to get emerging markets on sustainable energy consumption by working with both the distributor and the existing billing infrastructures. It was clever how they’re thinking about why people tap in to electric grids, what the barriers to payment are, and what companies can do when they partner with systems that work (like pre-paid cell phone networks). The have a really specific cause and a really specific solution that could really change the world. It’s very exciting.
n It’s all about the Customer (“outside-in”) – not all about the Company (“inside-out’)
n First to market sets the rules; second to market changes the rules … “Pioneers” on new / fertile ground – or arrow in back?
n You most likely “May not know what you do not know”
n You need to Plan Your Work … And then Work Your Plan
n You cannot Manage what you cannot Measure … And you cannot Measure what you cannot Manage
n Successful Business Development is direct result of effective Lead Generation and Lead Qualification
n … Successful Business Development also can be direct result of effective Brand & Image as well as Thought Leadership plans and programs
n In Business Development, if you don’t already know who’s the “pigeon” around the poker table – it’s mostly likely YOU!
There is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best idea. Be aware of group distortion and listen to the quiet ones.