500 Startups Brings Its Latest Grads to New York
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a prior stab at entrepreneurship. “My last business failed because we didn’t have that many users,” he said. That provided the inspiration beyond Detweiler’s new Mountain View-based startup, LaunchRock, which helps build up the audience for other startups such as Ashton Kutcher-backed Zaarly. LaunchRock lets users create their own landing pages in advance of their formal launches and promote their announcements.
Other New York demo presenters included Skipola and Relevant Mobile. Skipola creates white label mobile apps for restaurants that let customers order food and make table reservations. DailyGobble, which is rebranding itself as Relevant Mobile, also serves the restaurant market. Relevant Mobile lets chain restaurants create private label loyalty programs that use photos of receipts, shot by customers using their camera phones, to offer cash back.
One startup new to town wants to stick around. Snapette plans to relocate from Mountain View to fashion hub New York in three months. Furthermore, co-founder Sarah Paiji declared during her presentation that she dropped out of Harvard’s MBA program on Tuesday to focus on the startup.
Snapette is an app for viewing user-generated photos of handbags and shoes available at local retailers. The app also provides such information as pricing and directions to the stores. Retailers can also inform users of discounts and special offers. Paiji said the Snapette app builds on the already existing trend of fashion lovers sharing photos of merchandise that appeals to them. “But there is no dominant mobile app for this,” she said.
Paiji’s decision to halt her academic career echoed an announcement at August’s DreamIt Ventures demo day by fellow Harvard Business School dropout Danielle Weinblatt, CEO of Take the Interview. Paiji said she and Weinblatt are good friends who “spent most of our first year at [Harvard Business School] focused on our startups instead of classes.” Weinblatt’s company, Take the Interview, hosts online video pre-interviews to screen employee prospects. Weinblatt attended last night’s event with Paiji.
In addition to finding investors, demo day also gave the presenters the chance to meet potential collaborators and even their competition. Rodrigo Martinez, another of this summer’s graduates from 500 Startups, pitched his company OVIA (the acronym stands for Online Video Interview Application), which allows employers to choose whom to contact for in-person interviews. During a break after his presentation he chatted with Weinblatt of Take the Interview, which has a somewhat similar goal for streamlining the hiring process. “The market for most startups is big enough to have a few players, and you never know when you can work together with your biggest competitor,” Martinez said.
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