Thursday, January 8

NY Tech - UltraLight Startups

It has been a bit of time since I visited UltraLight Startups - and kind of fun to watch/see that there are a lot of tech companies here in NY that have been building up in the shadow of the economic events that have seemed to chill other parts of the economy.

What I am in awe of is the creative energy that is found here - specifically, this event reminds me of what I remember of the first few NYTech Meetups back three years ago. The same kind of scrappiness and community.

Introductions

At the opening, all of the "pitchers" get to give 60 seconds on their businesses and take up to two questions.

At UltraLight, there are a lot of people that I have not normally met (lots of Aussies and other ex-pats) - Graham and Ronald do a very nice play of introducing all of the entrepreneurs - each pitching their business model and websites for people to see and become aware of.

[When I get the list, I will post the sites I thought were really cool.]

I will admit that I see a lot of Wordpress-driven websites and a number of content driven sites. But I remember the embrionic stage of companies when I saw the companies back in February 2006 - this is a lot better, the sites are fresher and more mature.
  • Proper Cloth - was here three months ago and launched a great site
  • 21Causes.org - technology that will grow charitible giving by 10 to 20x
  • The Contractor Office - a small business CRM play for service providers
  • Groupable - group sponsorship marketplace - ultra-targeted consumers without focus groups, mailing lists and surveys
  • InsiteNY - Investments from Student Interaction with Technology and Entrepreneurs
  • Veblogs - one stop shop for blog
  • New Work City - a coworking space in New York City (yes, I am part of it)
The introductions took a bit under an hour - somewhat an exercise in lasting - but the presentations were quite good.

The Immodest Proposal - STOP CREATING AD INVENTORY!

Derek Lee from 21causes.org says:
  • The long tail is dead.
  • You will not feed your family or pay the mortgage with google Ad Words
  • Figure out your economic value per customer instead of ad impressions
  • Remember the difference between branded advertising and direct response - note that Lawn Doctor was on the prime time CNN show
  • Sell something - unlimited ad inventory is nothing
  • West Coast Model is what everyone is chasing - build a big community of 4M members and then monetize it. The darlings of the current economic world will disappear.
  • East Coast Model is making money - figure out your revenue model - $ for one customer, $$ for more than one, then $$$$ for lots. Pick a revenue model and build it.
  • Don't get a job now - we are in a recession. In 20 years from now, look at the Fortune 100 then and see how many got started in 2009.

Revenue Model Panel

Five entrepreneurs pitching - 5 to 7 minutes with slides/demos. Comments from the panel - looking for the problem that is solved by the tool/offering and how tdo they plan on monetizing their business. Feedback will be based on metrics (e.g. users, transactions, etc) and creative thinking on alternative models.

Panel:

  • Steve Adler - CEO of Financial Summit Ventures
  • David Sherman - President of Law Line and Founder of TrueNYC.com, NYU Entrepreneurship Conference
  • Jay Levy - Zelkova Ventures
  • Martin Breslin - Managing Director of The Hatchery

Companies:

  • seodrop - automated SEO testing and deriving effort (I have seen a site like this at Website Grader and WebCEO for a lower price)
  • RezRedo - source of clarifying job descriptions by using large resume databases. Monetizing via advertising, white label, B2B or B2C, monthly newsletter, lead capture from recruiters
  • ProCompare -product, service and experts listing - using community of IT consultants to determine the best product
[I had to leave at this point....]

3 comments:

lawlorg said...

Hey Sanford,

Thank you so much for attending and for writing such a great post. It's a thrill to hear we remind you of the 'good old days' and that the positive energy and scrappiness survive. Hope to see you at many more of these in the future.

Graham.

Joshua 'The Red' Russak said...

Great write up. Great job analyzing the event and taking notes. I look forward to trying out New Work City. -Red

Laurent Kretz said...

Sandford, thanks for the notes! You left too early, you missed me and CabEasy!!! But be reassured, I uploaded my slides ;))

laurentk.com/2009/01/back-on-track-cabeasy-revenue-model-and-new-bike