It's under 30°F outside, the coldest conditions yet for a Vator Splash event, but that shouldn't stop the last Vator Splash finalists of 2010 from elatedly showing off their startups.
In the next hour, the first five of the top 10 finalists will take the stage to deliver their pitches (in under three minutes) to over 200 people in attendance. All 10 companies were chosen mainly based on peer voting held in the Vator Splash competition, where nearly 70 companies participated and over 1,000 votes were cast. Here's a brief rundown of the top 10 startups and what they're here to offer.
Finalists are listed in order of appearance at Vator Splash. All finalists are headquarted in New York unless otherwise stated.
AskTheDoctor is a Q&A site focused on healthcare questions. Users of the free service can ask real doctors any health-related questions. Main categories on the site include Diet & Fitness, Parenting & Pregnancy, and Sex & Beauty, and there is also a full drug directory. The Toronto, Canada-based startup was created by Dr. Suneel Sharman along with entrepreneur Prakash Chand.
AwesomeTouch is a developer of large-format multitouch displays, like those built by Nextwindow. "Think 50-inch smartphone on a wall or window." Simple enough. The Lexington, Kentucky-based startup, headed by CEO Nick Such and COO Brian Raney, says the market for this technology will grow 5x by 2013 and will reach $9 billion by 2015.
Sportaneous, a clever portmanteau of "sport" and "spontaneous," is a site that helps people find pick-up sports games in their area. Through both an iPhone app and website, users can search for specific games that fit their schedule or skill level. Focusing first on New York City and San Diego, Sportaneous is currently aiming to reach 500,000 users before looking into various revenue models, including subscription fees from private facilities, premium membership options and location-based ads.
StyleCaster is a media company focused on fashion and beauty styles for women. Founded in 2008, the startup first raised a Series A round of $4 million last year. With a focus on content, shopping and community, StyleCaster wants to be the number one hub for women's fashion needs.
SkillSlate connects people with local service providers. The startup believes that current venues for service providers, like Google and Craigslist, fall short of what a Web service of this kind could do. Service providers like movers, handymen, and dog walkers create an online business presence on SkillSlate, where potential customers search for them.
Grovo is an online training platform that uses video courses to teach people how to use popular Web sites. Targeting businesses, individuals, educators and non-profits, Grovo ignores no relevant niche of the Internet, with videos that, for example, teach users how to promote on Facebook, bid on eBay, search for jobs on LinkedIn, and monitor Web traffic with Google Analytics.
Winito helps people manage their athletic life. The startup says it helps anyone who needs help tracking personal fitness, training for a marathon, participating in a Friday night poker club, bonding with colleagues in a corporate soccer league, or competing in a premier football program.
Hedgeable wants to help more people participate in popular hedge funds by bringing investment opportunities to investors with as little as $100,000. The startup sees a big market in the 33 million American households with between $100,000 and $1 million in liquid assets. Investors are charged a flat management fee for building a portfolio on Hedgeable.
TigerTrade helps firms manage and grow their businesses in developing countries, particularly in southeast Asia. On the TigerTrade site, which just went live in the past week, buyers, suppliers and service providers can connect with each other through an international business network fleshed out with product information and market data for developing countries.
Event Now makes finding service providers for events and parties easy. Searching through vendor categories like venues (bars, halls), food (bakeries, restaurants) and entertainment (artists, fireworks), consumers can quickly find local professionals for upcoming events. Founded in 2009, Event Now already has a multi-faceted business model that includes subscriptions, advertising and business-to-business marketing campaigns.