During today's roundtable, we turned the spotlight on Colorado and got a very nice view into what's happening in that region. Co-hosting the roundtable with us was Innovation Pavilion in Denver, Colorado. Innovation Pavilion focuses on creating an eco-system for ideas and entrepreneurs to come together to evolve and grow.
First, Ben Buie pitched Happy Freebie, a concept for engaging net-savvy moms to buy or win interesting products from merchants who are trying to promote such products. Ben wants to create a community of consumers that would subscribe to his service. However, his customer acquisition strategy is decidedly expensive (with Adwords and Facebook advertising), which would simply never fly with investors.
Then Kelly Peterson pitched ReviewRocket, a neat concept to create a pool of willing reviewers for restaurants and other local services. Say a restaurant has only three reviews on Yelp. ReviewRocket could have 20 reviewers visit the restaurant and provide objective reviews on it. In addition, the reviews would be distributed all across social media, on Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. It's a promising idea and applies to many categories, including books, music, independent movies, etc., aside from local merchants. Focus is good, and local merchants is a fine category.
Next Kim Bishop pitched Spaats – an online debate platform of sorts. Kim, however, sees huge challenges in monetization models. My recommendation was to focus on becoming a production service for political advertising agencies that may be interested is exploring innovative digital marketing methods. A B-to-C network just won't be viable financially.
Crystal Clear Rx
Tim Thomas pitched Crystal Clear Rx, an impressive software-as-a-service solution for healthcare IT. Essentially, corporations with 1000+ employees pay a lot for prescription drugs as part of their benefits programs. Crystal Clear Rx can shave $250,000 to $400,000 off by setting the right policy and negotiating the right contracts in the companies' benefit programs. The company is already at break even, and looking for some expansion capital.
Then, Chris Simoneaux pitched iBert Systems, a testing ASIC for high performance communication systems. Chris is clearly a domain expert in the system testing domain, especially in communication, and his solution appears well thought through. Chris estimates about $125 million TAM for 2013 and needs $4.5 million to get to break even. My assessment is that the business would need to be either financed by customer advances against contracts, or by corporate investors like Agilent, Verigy, etc.
Last up, Daniel Sullivan pitched CLEANtricity Power, a wind-power system that instead of focusing on the high-wind assumption, can generate power from lower-wind scenarios as well. This is important because most of the wind patterns of the world are in a low-wind mode, which vastly expands the market scope of wind power. As in most clean tech ventures, getting to proof-of-concept is an uphill task. There is hardly any angel capital available. Government grants are a slow path.
You can listen to the recording of today's roundtable here.
As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8:00 a.m. PDT on:
-Thursday, June 28, 1M/1M Roundtable With Boulder, Colorado Entrepreneurs: Register Here.
-Thursday, July 5, Register Here.
Thursday, July 12, Register Here.
Thursday, July 19, Register Here.
Thursday, July 26, Register Here.
Thursday, August 2, Register Here.
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Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.