What Happened at a NYC Pitch Competition
Here’s an overview of the 4th Annual Guangzhou Youth Innovation & Entrepreneurship Global Pitch on the 8 April 2017
10 companies, 4 judges, and 3 winners. The 4th Annual Guangzhou Youth Innovation & Entrepreneurship Global Pitch is an international competition for seed stage tech startups in multiple countries (China, Israel, USA). And they’re on the last leg of the competition at NYC.
Held at Lair East, a New York-based co-working community that helps startups grow by leveraging resources from our collective network between China and the US, the event kicks off with lunch buffet and networking. Located in SoHo, they offer a convenient, cozy and tech-savvy office space for entrepreneurs and startups to achieve their goals and make real impacts on the world around them.
Thanks to Kenneth where we met during a TechStar talk previously, also the co-founder of Ingest.ai, we could attend this pitch event. We have also talked to many people from different background such as Venture Capitals, Startup co-founders, Angel Investors and even MBA students during the networking session.
Introducing The 10 Pitches
- Merlin Guides — Charles, CEO & Founder of the Tech company, shared that the problem of training employees is difficult. He’s solution: To take out the pain for new employees by building a browser extension which helps to train employees. Their target customers are HR and the type of roles that suits their service are White Collar workers.
- BusBot — The first automated revenue management solution for the city-to-city bus industry. The problem: These operators lose $15B every year by hiring and training revenue managers who still use pen and paper to make suboptimal decisions. Their software combines artificial intelligence with revenue optimization theory to tell them how many buses to schedule each day, how to allocate them throughout the day, and how to adjust ticket prices to maximize profits.
- Science.ai — Provides publishers with everything needed to publish scholarly journals on the web from submission to online sales. The problem: Print first publishing hurts the advancement of science. Their solution: Launch a journal in seconds and to provide an unrivaled web experience for publishing and accessing the world’s scientific research.
- Vinumenu — An interactive iPad wine list. The problem: Wine list always have intimidating prices and information. There are too many choices which you do not know. Their solution: An iPad with detailed information of each individual wines for restaurant guests.
- Boston Biomotion — A personalized fitness and rehabilitation technology that measures and optimizes performance through robotics and data analytics. The problem: Wearable and training equipment cannot measure muscle strength for real life motions. Their Solution: A physical assessment and strength training tool, in a single smart device to train and recover efficiently and to resist future injury.
- Ingest.ai — Kenneth Kuo, CEO and co-founder, pitched about Artificial Intelligence for restaurants. The Problem: Restaurant operations uses complicated systems. Their solution: An Artificial Intelligence platform that provides restaurants with everything needed to run efficiently and effectively such as: Easy data integration, predictive forecasting and inventory automation.
- AirZaar — The problem: Mining safety. Deaths in Daxing Coal mine. Infrastructure Construction (Project delays, Cost over-runs). Their solution: 70% Cost saving compared to traditional methods. Provides accurate solutions. All parameters can be analyzed. They have customers worldwide (with current customers and channel partners) and an addressable market including china of about $3B.
- ALIShealth — Democratizing personalized medicine. The problem: Physician do not know about genetic medicine. Recruitment, training, management and empowerment of an outsourced women-led sales force are not optimized. Their solution: A marketplace and tools to accelerate sales, using a sales team that is connected, compliant, and collaborative.
- Bucket Technologies — A $20 dollar bill or a $20 worth bucket of coins? The problem: There are 99% coins transactions and merchants dislike coins. 30% of US retails still uses cash transactions. Their solution: Cloud base piggy bank and to capture all coin value at retail point of sale. Works like a utility to bucket your change. Their Market Opportunity: lots of coins in the world. They want to accelerate humanity to digital.
- Frogger — Problem: Sourcing for manufacturers is complicated. The traditional ways are Alibaba, sourcing agents and trade shows. Clients: overwhelming number of potential factories to sift through. Their solution: Making it simple. Automates and streamlines the entire process from RFQ. One-stop shop. Curated bids from high-quality manufacturers. Support an entire ecosystem of experts. Massive opportunity. $12 trillion manufacturing industry.
Take every single pitch as a performance in which refinement is the goal, not applause.
3 Takeaways We Learn from this Pitch Competition
- The Structure of a Pitch. Get to the point straight. What is the problem/opportunity? Explain clearly how your product can solve the problem and what are the value propositions. Show the magic behind your product with diagrams, flowcharts and pictures. Describe your business model and go-to market plan. Exhibit the analysis of your competitors. Introduce your team and their expertise. Lastly, present your financial projections and key metrics with a bottom-up forecast.
- It’s the size of the wave, not the motion of the ocean. Venture Capital cares about market size. They invest in big markets with ambitious teams. In almost every Q&A, the judges will question about how the company can scale further with the current market size. Never talk about early exits, quick flips and tuck-in acquisitions during the Q&A.
- Networking. Yes, networking is important in events like this. Communication and strong presence in the entrepreneurial ecosystem are productive approaches which will help you along your way to building strong relationships with other entrepreneurs from different age groups, nationality and fields of interest.
Nevertheless, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Kenneth Kuo from Ingest.ai once again for the invite to this pitch competition. The afternoon’s event ended as we gained key insights, a list of networks and not forgetting the delicious lunch and drinks provided!