FrontDoorSoftware took home the gold late Thursday night during Round No. 3 at Vator Splash SF, held at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco.
Evergreen, Co.-based FrontDoorSoftware, aka FDS, provides an easy-to-use, theft-prevention and recovery-service for laptops that works on Windows XP, Vista, 7, Apple Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion. The program is already being offered to students at major U.S. universities, including Brown, UCLA, UFL, and others.
FDS came out on top after competing with 173 participants, in a three-round competition.
Carrie Hafeman, Founder and CEO, presented for her team, and did an outstanding job fielding questions from the VC judges Mark Goines of Morgenthaler, Andy Ross of Grant Thornton, Adam Smith of AOL Ventures, Bill Tai of Charles River Ventures and Rob Theis of Scale Venture Partners.
When one of the judges asked Carrie why she chose laptops and why now. She impressed the audience by sharing her 20 years experience selling computer security products that run the gamut, including burglar alarms. She also noted that she conceived of the idea while listening to customers during her time at World Security Corp.
While the market for stolen laptops seems pretty small -- over 600,000 laptops are stolen annually, according to Safeware Insurance Agency -- FDS hopes to get inserted into every laptop, by getting adoption in Universities first. FDS offers the service free to colleges, which then give to their students for free. To date, FDS has 30,000 registered users.
Indeed the FDS solution seems quite attractive to college students. Once a computer is stolen, an owner can actually control the computer to shout out: "Hey you stole my laptop!"
Additionally, it's free to them, in exchange for seeing some advertising. The idea is that the students will graduate and become paying customers one day.
Meanwhile, BuildingLayer, founded by Nick Such and Brian Raney, came in No. 1 for the People's Choice Award. BuildingLayer makes a very slick and cool indoor map. The company has already made significant inroads into the hospital market. Kudos to the team, and CEO Nick Such for being a solid presenter.