Above: the view you see from the office of 500 Startups, located in the heart of Silicon Valley (image courtesy of Anthony Singhavong on Instagram). Below: one or two-line pitches from the 31 startups strutting their stuff in front of investors this Tuesday afternoon at 500 Startups Demo Day.
When we originally presented this list of startups in early June, we only got a glimpse into what they were working on. Today, I'll be adding any interesting tidbits from their live pitches directly below, so keep checking back to see what 500 Startups founder Dave McClure and the rest of his team have been incubating the past couple months.
To date, 500 Startups has invested in 175 companies. Here are the newest:
AppGrooves is a feedback platform for developers to optimize app discoverability.
--Of two similar apps you already have, which do you like better? Based on your answer, AppGrooves recommends an app.
--80,000 downloads in 6 days. 10+ votes in a single session.
--A/B testing for icons. Optimization for name and description keywords.
--$510K of $800K seed round already committed.
BugHerd is the visual issue tracker for the Web.
--Simple issue tracking for Web teams and clients. Working toward feedback widget for general traffic and integration with help desk systems (ZenDesk), support for mobile HTML apps and more.
--Grabs session data, browser, operating system
--1400+ registered users to date, some are paid subscribers.
--Raising $245K of $500K.
Cardinal Blue makes Pic Collage, a Top 10 Photo App for the iPad and iPhone.
--Over 400,000 installs in its first month.
--Intuitive application for building collages of photos on your mobile device.
--Team has experience selling virtual goods on Facebook.
ChirpMe: Connecting people through amazing dates!
--Flips the traditional online dating model: start with the date idea first, then connect with someone who wants to do what you want to do.
--Test drive sports cars, mini golfing, wine tasting, cooking class...
--45 percent of U.S. singles have tried online dating.
--$400K raised from Matt Ocko (Zynga angel investor), Mark Pincus (Zynga CEO and founder), Karl Jacob (early Facebook investor and advisor), Dave McClure and more. Looking to raise $500K more.
Console.fm: Awesome music, without the hassle.
--Pandora recommendations still aren't good enough. Turntable.fm you have to babysit. iTunes doesn't fulfill either.
--Console scours the Web for fresh tracks and delivers them to you quickly.
--Launched four weeks ago, now 40,000 listeners turned into 10,000 users. In last week, 70 percent of users are active.
--Raising $500K seed round.
Culture Kitchen: Ethnic cooking classes taught by the grandmas you wish you had.
--Work with people who have immigrated from other countries with passion and knowledge of culture and cooking from their homelands.
--30 million foodies in the U.S. alone, including regular people who want to cook authentic cuisines.
--Hosts public, private and corporate cooking experiences.
--Partnered with Whole Foods Los Altos, sponsoring classes.
Daily Aisle is the easiest place for brides to plan and book your wedding. (Expedia or Kayak for Weddings Vendors).
--2 million weddings per year, $28K spent per wedding, $56 billion market
--Search venues by location, see price, see calendar availability.
--10 percent reservation fee taken by Daily Aisle, the rest given to venue.
--After venues, Daily Aisle wants to start coordinating photography and entertainment for weddings.
--Raising $500K, already has Lightspeed on board.
From.Us crowdsources the gift selection and gift purchasing process.
--Finding gifts is hard work and effort doesn't necessarily mean you get somebody anything they actually want. Gift cards show no effort.
--Users crowdsource list of potential gifts for their friend while contributing money, the gift recipient picks the one they want.
Kibin is the easiest way to get feedback and editing on your writing.
--Friends and family are too busy, online services too expensive or not transparent enough.
--User uploads paper, purchases or earns credits, has paper proofread by another user, ends with admin quality review.
--Users and papers proofread both growing over 40 percent week-over-week.
--930 million papers written per year.
LaunchBit: Ad network for email.
--"You can have an email newsletter of high-quality, both content and design."
--Focused initially on software/SaaS vertical, marketplace already online.
--Newsletter can choose to accept or reject ad campaign.
--Small closed beta with advertisers and publishers. Four-week closed beta: 10 percent is highest conversion rate, average CPM is $75.
LaunchRock: We GET users.
--Getting users is hard.
--Over a miillion users signed up for 3,000 clients. More than 50,000 in line to use LaunchRock. (Clothing line, private airline, hair products, entertainment, on and on.)
--Easy to sign up for new services, easy to share with friends too.
--Platform for user acquisition and understanding, actionable insights, engaging experiences.
OVIA is a video interviewing platform that allows companies to screen people not resumes.
--Evaluate motivation and personality of candidates.
--OVIA interview doesn't happen in real-time.
--Hasbro reduced time to interview from four weeks to two weeks. Reduced number of candidates invited to in-person interview from seven to three.
--Recruitment expenses: $1.7B on recruiting tools. $5.4B on travel expenses related to recruitment. $48.7B spent on hiring agencies.
--Raised $150K of $500K.
SingBoard is where YouTube meets karaoke.
--Eight of top 10 videos on YouTube are music videos.
--Sidebar with the latest, most popular videos. Record your own version.
--Earn badges and points, party with friends, compete, have fun, read lyrics.
Skipola saves restaurants money on online ordering fees by providing them with the tools to distribute their own white-label mobile apps.
--Loyalty programs, push specials and place orders at no additional transactional fee.
--Register app that visualizes order and places them on a screen.
--Case study: 61 percent users come back more often, 22 percent increase in ticket size and 14 percent more upsells.
Snapette: Discover and share great fashion in stores around you.
--See products trending and see which are actually available in stores around you.
--Users snap a photo of items, which other users can see. Users can also follow each other, especially when they share style preferences.
--These communities already exist online, but no clear leader in mobile.
--Already raised $100K advisory round, raising $500K more.
StoryTree helps you capture and share your family stories.
--A platform for family members to share experiences with each other through stories.
--Families already have that one person obsessed with archiving all the photo memories and knowing everyone's relationships. That's the power user, who other family members help to build a whole family story.
Tinfoil Security is the simplest way to protect your website from outside hackers.
--Many small businesses, even Airbnb, have serious security vulnerabilities.
--Survey of 700 SMBs, 90 percent have been hacked.
--Crawls sites for bugs and vulnerabilities in the code, shows how to patch the bugs.
--Currently in Alpha with several paying customers lined up.
ToutApp: Are you tired of re-writing the same emails over and over? ToutApp helps you send and respond to emails faster with the power of Templates and Email Tracking.
--Click a template (pitch deck, thank you) and the content fills in automatically. Track whether someone has viewed or clicked an email. Trying to save users two minutes per email (that will add up quite a bit).
--Over 6,000 users attained organically.
--Processing 1,000 emails per day.
--Over 250 paid accounts generating $6,000 in revenue.
Vayable is a social marketplace for experiences.
--For travelers that want authentic experiences in new places and for locals who want to help provide those experiences.
--18 percent fee off each transaction goes to Vayable (15 percent from seller, three from buyer).
VidCaster is an easy way to create a video site on your own domain name.
--Airbnb, Hackers & Founders, Twilio and Zendesk are already VidCaster customers.
--Airbnb created tv.airbnb.com so they can track viewership and more easily convert viewers.
--"Free video sites are not ideal environments," says co-founder Kieran Farr. Branded environments are ideal.
--Looking to raise $500K, some of which has already been committed.
Welcu is the best way to manage high-end, unique events.
--They've been putting on events for four years.
--Working with multiple tools (Eventbrite, MailChimp, etc.) is inefficient.
--Coca-Cola, Xerox and several others are already customers.
--$10,000 revenue per month
--Already raised funding from Eric Schmidt's TomorrowVentures, three Groupon executives and Dave McClure.
--Looking for $600K seed round.
WillCall is the Hotel Tonight for live music and theater.
--Catch a last show at the last minute.
--40 percent of tickets go unsold.
--Partnered with promoters and venues to make a list of shows you can only go to tonight, no advance planning at all.
--In San Francisco next, New York and Los Angeles next.
Zerply: Professional networking done right.
--LinkedIn is not social, restrictive, complicated and ugly.
--Communicate freely, be found through search (based on location, experience and other parameters).
--18,000 users today.
--Positioned as more open and social professional network.
Appetizer makes it dead simple for small businesses to engage their customers with a useful mobile app.
--Beautiful HTML5 and native apps, frictionless setup (less than five minutes).
--Create app with already available information (like on Facebook, other social graphs) plus customized themes, and present the (90 percent complete) app to prospective customers.
--Loyalty and engagement: let them create deals and run their business.
CoderBuddy is a next-generation Odesk meets Heroku.
--Move software development into the cloud. It's a social, collaborative environment.
--Solid private beta metrics.
--Starting with Python on Google Apps engine, expansion to other platforms and APIs planned.
CraftCoffee is a monthly subscription service for amazing coffee experiences.
--Monthly tasting box, hand-selected coffee from around the country.
--After four months of bootstrapping, shipped boxes to over 300 subscribers in 41 states. Organic, international demand in the UK, Japan and more. In last month, 3.5 percent of unique visitors purchased subscription at average of $80.
--Americans spend $4 billion on whole bean and ground coffee just for drinking at home.
--Over $200K of $300K round already committed.
DailyGobble powers 1-to-1 marketing and yield management for restaurants.
--Already serving 500 restaurants.
--No software or hardware setup, so there's no staff training.
--Targeting chains primarily, closing 70 percents of sales meetings.
--Have restaurants know their customers, know the best ones and push offers to them.
--Charging $100 per month.
Loku: Living local starts here - Big Data for local.
--Most people are even tourists in their own community.
--Loku surfaces real-time, geo-located bits from an area you search, like news, restaurant recommendations.
--Raising $1.5 million Series A.
Manpacks makes purchasing men's essentials like underwear, socks, shirts, shaving products and condoms simple, fast, and fun.
--Limited time offers (bundles of items sold at discount), product discovery (via email newsletter).
--15 percent of customers are women setting up accounts for men.
--Over 1,700 paying subscribers paying $40 per order (on average).
--70 percent of $500K round committed.
Volta is a cross-device, always-in-sync, call queue management solution for businesses.
--Replacing spreadsheets, sticky notes, it's CRM for call queues.
--API to trigger phone calls (from smartphone, computer, server, wherever).
--Single-click plugins with Zendesk and many others.
--Charging per user and per minute.
WakeMate is a mobile accessory that helps you get better sleep.
...and one to grow:
Though not techically part of today's batch of startups, Edulender presented a short pitch, as it is a 500 Startups portfolio company and has shared the incubator's office space for a few weeks. The startup consolidates everything related to student loans--from forms to deadlines--into one interface to simplify the painful process of applying for and accepting financial aid.