INcubes Demo Day INtake02 for all intensive purposes was a glowing success, even though it was up against a blockbuster of all geek events, the Apple iPhone 5 launch. The 200+ private invitees didn’t complain, even with the last minute onslaught of standing room only attendees. Hopefully you were one of the lucky people to be there or watched the live stream via www. INcubes.com/tunein and ITBusiness.ca, where you can still watch the webcast replay.
From 1:00 pm to 1:29 pm within the walls of Toronto Stock Exchange there was a noticeable calm, before the storm that is. At 2:00 pm the mood changed noticeably as each startup founder took the stage to try and woo the crowd of investors. Not the easiest of tasks, especially knowing that their 6 minutes could make or break the future of their company. No pressure.
During the demos, Twitter was flooded with 140 character encouragements, with only a few people ballsy enough to say how they really felt about the startup ideas and pitches. I was lucky enough to be at the helm (as a host) along with Brian Jackson of ITBusiness, so together we dug up some dirt through interviewing and a little antagonizing.
So what was the overall consensus? Hovr.me had the crowd wrapped around its finger at the thought of being able to purchase cool things, as seen on Pinterest. The “how it works” aspect seemed to be a vague mystery to viewers, but the concept was just too tempting to not nibble, as per the crowd surrounding the team after the demos.
Game Day was next and worked hard to woo the seemingly non-sports fan crowd. The Twitter & crowd consensus rated the app idea 3rd out of the four presented. However one VC guest from the US pointed out, “with the right corporate sponsorship, this app could be a real winner. Without it, Its got no legs.”
Event Holler came third to present and had the crowd pumped at their idea; to help promoters sell more tickets and give regular citizens a cut of the deal by sharing using social media (Facebook). An investor from BC pointed out: “With the current user base and traction they have built, they stand the best chance at investment out of all four.”
MyGoodNight was last to present and its founder seemed pretty pumped about it. Unfortunately the crowd couldn’t seem to grasp the technology and competitive difference behind the idea, so his excitement fell upon mostly deaf ears. In his defense, there’s a chance no one at the event knew where to go post-Demo day.
The night wrapped up with a keynote from Kirk Simpson of Wave Accounting. Kirk was able to tie in business common sense with a Mr. Rogers joke, making him an instant favorite. But the real showstoppers behind and in front of the screens were Ben Zlotnick, INcubes founder and Traviss Corry, INcubes managing director. They made the event look seamless, which is not an easy feat based on the crowd of media, investors and mentors.
So what does the end of Demo Day mean for these four startups? Well, for two they had investors lined up at the end of the event raring for due diligence. The rest? Fairytales with no ending…just yet.