Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Grateful Deed: Lessons from the Startupalooza Tour Out West

--> Startupalooza arrived in L.A. with quite a following. People traveled miles to participate. The winner came from the Philippines and some even followed us up the next day to Menlo Park for our Silicon Valley debut.
Great Landing in Silicon Valley

If it felt a little like a rock tour, it was kind of deserved. A little New York attitude and access to our capital is much appreciated and Startups relished the chance to win an appearance at the National Business Investor Forum in NY worth $3500.

The point of our tour is that entrepreneurship may now be everywhere but not so with financing. Startups need all kinds of help and while there ideas that certain areas favor there may not be funding. More commonly, the ideas are better appreciated elsewhere. New York doesn't love deep tech as much as Silicon Valley or Boston and they don’t care that much for media or ecommerce platforms either. No one likes government plays as much as DC does, and so on…..

The winner in L.A. was a LoyalCoin, a cryptocurrency supporting a loyalty marketing program. The founders and company are from the Philippines where it has gained traction, already raising $2 million.
Most dapper pitcher in L.A.

It was only in L.A. that they could launch big time.

In Silicon Valley the winner was Orion Span, a company that could only have been taken seriously in Silicon Valley because it was raising $14 million to launch - Space Hotels. Yet it turned out to be a very credible pitch by a company laden with former NASA engineers. Turns out everyone is talking about rockets for space tourists but not about a comfortable place to stay once they get there! Enter Orion Span.

These guest rooms don’t come cheap – about a half million a day - but that didn’t stop our investors from wanting to help find just the right billionaires to fund this….

As for DC, the winner was TruGenomix which has a genomic blood test that that
DC Winners: TruGenomix
predict PTSD in soldiers. Since the execs have strong ties to the military, getting some type of sale is a shoo-in. But, as skeptical New Yorkers we still have to ask, does the military really want to know? After all it would limit their pool of potential soldiers.

What a cliffhanger!

Yet, it all illustrates what makes Startupalooza so interesting as we go about finding the terroire in startups. What make certain startups come from certain regions and how does that map to the inefficiencies in funding? Our biggest deals like Nomi Beauty and Alyce were form investors outside of their home towns.

To paraphrase an old saying, profits (OK, prophets) are not always honored in their home towns.

As a national funding network, we are out to solve that problem!

Thanks to all our partners, Brian MacMahon and ExpertDojo in L.A., Maryanne Morrow and Spaces Menlo Park and The Yard in DC for making this all possible!
DC Judges at work
L.A. Pitching

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Judges at Work
Sachin Narode of Xeniapp


L.A.  LoyalCoin
Franco Dagelet,

LoyalCoin is the cryptocurrency that redefines customer loyalty programs by replacing traditional rewards points with a dynamic digital currency that can be used to redeem rewards, trade for other currencies, and more. LoyalCoin is the token that serves as the official virtual currency of the new “Loyalty Economy” Appsolutely is building. The goal is for consumers to be able to earn and spend LoyalCoin whenever and wherever they prefer to buy goods and services, from merchants who participate in Appsolutely’s loyalty ecosystem. This creates an open loyalty ecosystem where the consumer decides where and how they’d like to redeem the rewards they’ve earned. 

Comment: This is a good example of a preferred player in a hot new area. However, this is an experienced team with an Initial Coin Offering that has laready taken hold in the Philippines an in this case looks like it could fly in the US.

Silicon Valley

Orion Span, Inc.  
Frank Bunger, Founder & CEO 415-430-5154           
Orion Span's mission is to build & sustain human communities in space. We're building a low cost, turnkey, modular, and scalable space station in low earth orbit (LEO) for astronauts, space tourists, and space research.

Comment: If things work out,, we can help get you past the space race – and into a nice place in space. For an extended vacation, that is. This was credible, slightly awesome pitch to finance the space Marriott in outer space. Cool!

Washington, DC

Yusuf Henriques, Chief Executive Officer  3019156472
Trugenomix Health is developing the first genomic blood test to accurately diagnose PTSD. This objective genomic blood test for PTSD will result in early diagnosis, early intervention, improved clinical decisions, and improved patient outcomes.

Comment: This is a breakthrough idea – predicting PTSD vulnerability though genomic test. The big plus is that the founders are insiders with deep contacts in the first customers – government and the military. The big questions are whether the money is really there for these tests and can they can scale their prediction model for other kinds of behavioural issues.

Runners Up
6 Ft Tall Men
Comment: This defines a targeted audience. What sold it is they don’t just sell longer clothing to longer people but apparel like shirts are actually structurally different - and so they make their own structurally different shirt.

Silicon Valley

Esther Elkouss, CMO                917-588-7420

Comment: In the ever-searching quest to shop without going into a store or even trying anything on this is the solution for precisely measuring your body. Ideal for lingerie and swimwear, it requires the one time use of a low-cost tracking garment. The question is whether the public will adopt it and who will pay for it?                                                                                                                                                               

Washington, DC

Joseph Terpstra, Cofounder 703-408-3236
Namedrop: The word of mouth market. An app for independent professionals and gig workers to turn their friends and clients into personal booking agents for their business and side hustle.