Ideas all over the place at the Mid-Atlantic Venture Capital Association (MAVA) Spring 2015 TechBuzz in DC’s The Sphinx Club. It was as if Elon Musk’s head had exploded.
To get off to a great start, MAVA’s Executive Director, Julia Spicer, introduced Keynote speaker, Amy Wilkinson, author of The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of extraordinary entrepreneurs. The book highlights teachable skills practiced by 200 of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. In addition to spending four years on outstanding research, Amy has held leadership roles with McKinsey & Company and J.P. Morgan, been White House fellow and special assistant to the U.S. Trade Representative, and has lectured at Stanford and Harvard Universities, etc. [Dedicated Creator’s Code post coming soon]
I enjoyed the polished pitch from founder and CEO of Sickweather(r) – See what’s going around(tm), Graham Dodge, a TechStars graduate currently raising $1.5 in seed funding led by my favorite back-in-the-day interviewee, Brad Feld, VC, cofounder, The Foundry.
Feedback and lessons for all
The all-star cast of 20 total entrepreneurs selected by a hands-on investor/entrepreneur committee received feedback two four-person investor panels:
Interesting Presenter Mix
Pitching that day were: Antenna; Arcadia Power; BeHealth Solutions; BiJoTi (panelists cited for its presentation on adapting cybersecurity and generating business risk management intelligence); EquityEats; EventKloud “Audiences Delivered,”; Immersive 3D LLC (i3d), a gaming approach to science, technology, engineering, and math; Maya Health Network (smart-phone doctor consultation app that integrates demographic, medical, and diagnostic data in a patient-centered, cloud-based record with a back-end analytics platform that generates insights for doctors to improve patient care and create a more efficient and profitable practice.:); Medex Spot (Instant Telemedicine Service); Synapsify, Inc., platform allows enterprises to test analytics with a customized machine intelligent system that users can deploy to rank and prioritize content wihtout expensive in-house technical resources or expertise. TidWit Inc.’s Exterprise(r) cloud-based network connects hundreds of organizations in more than 60 countries with their channel partners.
Hard to Ignore
Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more distracted in your car, HeadsUP!, announced the first aftermarket hardware- connected car device of its kind, harnessing the capabilities of smartphones and adding its own functionality to upgrade any car into a “connected car.” Co-founder, Smita Majumder, says it’s less of a distraction to mount your directions, messages, phone call capability onto the windshield edges than to fiddle with your cell phone — you know you do it anyway. I have a hard enough time driving while navigating NPR.
ParkedIn seemed like yet another parking app until co-founder Matt Provo made it sound like AirBNB for precision monitoring capacity, demand and utilization of parking inventory before, during and after an event. The VC sitting next to me perked up when he heard Harvard and Apple used in the same bio. Oh, and SENTEL, Pfizer, Genworth Financial, American INstitutes for Research and UC Berkley. ParkedIn has already got some great event manager and organization partnerships onboard, such as The National Cherry Blossom Festival. Matt had me with his opening confession that when he first moved to DC he had amassed over $2,500 in parking tickets. (Somebody tell him about Bikeshare?)
Panelists Expressed Interest in the following presenters:
- GotMyJobs’s mobile collaboration tool appears to bring the construction industry into the 21st Century and got some positive attention from investor panelists.
- Lineapple Inc., a smartphone app that lets you skip the line, see nearby promotions, and be rewarded for loyalty. Co-founder, Danielle Jones, I could have used this when standing in line at the Gaudi Museum with three kids in the blazing heat.
- MyMuzik. This cloud-based music library platform accesses over 250,000 pieces of sheet music on a purpose-built device. Download fees apply. This Kindle for musicians would save a lot of trees and help spread culture worldwide.
- QuotePie: Agents Competing to Earn Your Business. This web-based insurance marketplace turned some heads with U.S. property and casualty agent penetration covering 94% of the U.S. market.
- Return Logic: Compelling return analytics platform for e-commerce companies to reduce costly returns.
Thanks, Kim Weir, Deputy Executive Director, MAVA for suggesting Routeam, the gang I advise, check this out to hone our pitching skills!
Stay tuned for the story behind another notable presenter that caught the VC panelists eyes: Improvonia. It’s the back story on a promising idea that’s evolved through perseverance and paying attention in class in Georgetown’s MBA program.