There was only supposed to be one winner of NY Entrepreneur Business Network’s Silicon Alley Battlefield Series 15 pitching event at Chadbourne Parke in Rockefeller Plaza this past Tuesday. But two of the startups were seemed neck and neck: Paperlex, a way for businesses to control their contract workflow, and MightyMeeting, a way to present videos and documents remotely from the web, smart phone or tablet.
Panelist Vic Singh, the founding general partner of ENIAC Ventures, said that he liked Paperlex “a lot,” but although he picked it as a winner, he said he was concerned about the enterprise sales model they had in place. “If I were them I would go rogue – I would just get people using it in the department and follow up with them; get it so they have to have it. Get it up for free right away, get distribution and let it spread like a virus.” His true favorite was actually MightyMeeting, but because as he had already invested in it, he couldn’t vote for it.
Rahul Gandhi, the principal of High Peaks Venture Partners, also picked Paperlex because he thought it was very interesting for the legal doc market.
Brian Cohen, chairman of New York Angels, liked both of the companies, but was critical of all the presentations as a whole. “There was very little in the presentations that said ‘if you invest in me, you’re going to make a lot of money.’ Who doesn’t want to make money? Are they just doing it for fun? You need a user case – make it real to me. Give me an exact user: Who are they, what are they doing, where do they go? How do they get there? What product should they have and how do I give it to them? I have to see it and feel it – I need to know the user is using it.”
Lori Hoberman of Chadbourne Parke also thought founders needed to add more specifics to their pitches. “Lacking in all of the presentations was a true communication of what is the market looking like? And how do you reach that market? But if I had to pick my favorite, I would actually pick two – I really like Paperlex, they have a very good model and I get what you are doing. I also really like MightyMeeting.”
Daphne Kis, managing director of Golden Seeds, said she had to go with MightyMeeting. “I like Paperlex, but there are licensing issues. My advice would be to go really viral with what you have — just give it away and then sell it as a premium model where you could upgrade.”
One company of note that did not get to pitch was Emotish, a social network that connects people through emotion. The founders launched their company on April 13th — too new to get a slot — so instead they came in as a sponsor. Co-founder Matt Hooper explained the company, “We are a re-imaging of the status updates — we’re essentially creating a visual status update. We want users to take photos of themselves and tag the emotion that they feel in that picture and what that emotion pertains to. In that sense they’re able to keep their friends updated as well as the Emotish community at large. You can also share it to Facebook, Twitter.”
Their funniest e-motes? There is a picture of a teddy bear eating teddy grahams, and the emotion is cannibalistic. The weirdest one we’ve gotten so far is a picture of a cartoon that was really hairy and the emotion was ‘hairy’.”