Innovate! 2010 London Pitch Slam: So Totally Awesome and Here Is Why

This was a small gathering that really brought back how old school pitches really do work: it’s all about the score, the factual account of what really is feasible rather than the “gut feeling”. Investing in companies should never be a sixth sense exercise. A good trends analyst knows that everything is manageable, that change does not happen overnight and things do hint the future every step of the way. I loved the rating card and I loved the way everything happened throughout the good four plus hours that we were there. If you haven’t signed up to the upcoming Innovate! Amsterdam or Barcelona, get onto it right now.

The jury asked some “understandable” questions. It is difficult to judge sectors that you are clueless about, specially in emerging verticals that are non traditional: avatars, fashion, deliveries, affiliated links. But for every question there is an answer and here are mine:

Little World Gifts
This is a 100% creative business, based entirely on the high quality of the virtual goods produced. It is like the music, film, fashion industries: it can be a winner or a flop at the box office. But these are industries where the best creativity wins and nothing goes unchecked. A jury member asked: “how do you know that people are going to be willing so send virtual gifts from their phones?” “doesn’t Facebook have that already?”. My answer is: 16 years ago a virtual dancing baby went viral around the world ten times over. And these were the days when you only had internet at the office – some lucky people, and there were no websites. Who wanted to see a scary digital baby dance to this? But we all got it and we all send it to friends. Human brains LOVE this kind of irrational stuff. At the Slam Pitch, Little World Gifts showed us a 3D penguin that also squeaked as you swirl it on your screen. How freaky but fun. I loved it. Would I buy it? Yes if priced at “total no fuss prices, for example 10 pence or 15 pence. Would I send it as a gift to a friend? You bet. It was hilarious. Virtual gifts are not just about virtual roses on Valentine or Birthday Cakes and Tiaras on your birthdays. It’s about enjoying a good laugh with something that makes you go “AAhhhh” and “OOooohhh”.
Do I really need another Threadless.com T-shirt? The answer is no but I cannot resist the awesome designs. Yes, good design, 2D or 3D, makes the brain SUPA-HAPPY. Little World Gifts keep up the good work. You are onto a winner if you keep the 3D quality UP.

Catwalk Genius
People think that fashion is for airheads that love to spend crazy money on garments. Well, this $300 billion a year industry would not bill such revenues if it was not driven by MEGA clever people and ULTRA creative geniuses. Believe it or not, Internet sales of fashion items went up even during recession years. Any business exploring how to exploit this opportunity has my attention because well spotted gaps in the market have driven to massive revenues the businesses of companies such as Net-a-porter and Vente Privee. Watch this space.

Bookingbug
Have you tried to fight your 40s middle age crisis by joining the oddest sports or hobbies? And what was the result? You have no idea where to find them. Running clubs, pottery classes, tango lessons. People want to explore and DEMAND that the Internet – which these days is an Oktober Fest of Location Based Services and people obsessed with being the Major of their favourite spot, helps them find Time-based activities. This is the cleverest business I’ve seen in a while and I have high expectations that they’ll do very well.

Datpresenter
Do you have the feeling when you email your powerpoint presentation to a client that it’d be better if you ran her through it? Imagine a browser-based solution where you film yourself explaining on camera, live streaming, your own presentation, which also pops on adjacent window and flips from slide to slide as you go along. Now ask your audience to connect to such webcast and voila! datpresenter turns you into a keynote speaker. Datpresenter is currently used by large corporations like Pricewaterhouse Coopers to address hundreds of clients in one webcast but imagine running your day to day business using this at your convenience. And not downloading ANY software. Technologywise datpresenter has one of the cleverest CTOs in the industry, who was visionary enough to build this product on W3C compliance and totally integrated into other platforms and video formats. Yes, and it will also be part of the happy Jolicloud family.

Shutl
One of the judges asked: “how are you going to make people trust your brand where it comes to delivering to them their online purchases?”. “Elementary, my dear Watson: if shutl becomes a delivery option in a REPUTABLE online retailer, the customer trusts that such retailer has already done the auditing of shutl”. And if this “unknown” brand offers you to have your newly purchased goodie in 15 minutes or half hour slot, you bet many people will give it a shot because nothing beats consumer satisfaction online like receiving your items almost instantaneously. Watch this space.
On a comical note, Shutl’s CEO described the management of the company as a “sausage fest”. Well, guys, go and hire some clever entrepreneurial women. Please balance the team. No good for progress.

Skimlinks
Will the real Affiliated Links please stand up? Slim-skimbits-shady ROCKS. Affiliated links look like a doodle to do. NOT. If it was easy, the big publishers working with skimbits would have done it themselves. Skimbits is hardcore technology disguised as super-friendly tool that has spotted a great gap in the online retail market. It continues to expand its versatility and vision that online e-commerce has still a lot of room to produce revenues for more participants. WATCH THIS SPACE LIKE A HAWK. Follow @skimlinks and you will be witness to a great Internet company on the path to success. Very exciting times.

Brainient
Judge: “how do you know people will not hate watching videos with ads super-imposed?” Where does this judge live? The German online market exploded with this kind of ads in 2008 and brands like Mercedes, Coke and others could not praise higher the amazing results that this interactive form of embedded advertising brought to their sales revenues. Watch this hot space. Brainier is the next generation of embedded ads.

Touch Type
Cambridge University’s geniuses machine has done it again. Mouth-dropping text prediction technology that guesses what you are likely to write. Not what you were beginning to type. Get it???!!! This is hardcore A.I. Totally watch this company.

Decibel
Did I exhaustedly read every word printed on Long Playing albums back in my teens? Absolutely. When did I stop doing this? When I started buying digital music. Would I like to discover music by factoring in other elements like the producers, or the members of the band, or the studio were the tracks were recorded? You bet. Music is passion for many people and any technology that helps them enjoy more and discover more music is GREAT for business. Decibel is currently fund-raising so offer them money!

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