For those who're not familiar with Vator Box, it's our version of Siskel & Ebert meets American Idol. We take one company's video pitch and put it in front of a guest host and our VB regular Ezra Roizen, digital media investment banker, and myself. The three of us then analyze the company's prospects. And, in some cases, the guest host gets very excited about the company.
That's what happened in this latest episode with our guest host, Raj Kapoor, managing director at Mayfield Fund, a high-profile Silicon Valley venture firm. The company we looked at? QLess, a line-management software system that eliminates standing in lines by letting people use their cell phones to get on virtual lines. With QLess, consumers use kiosks or the Web to get in line for a number of services, such as restaurants, tables at casinos, doctor's offices, rides at theme parks, the DMV, and even places that can alert you to the H1N1 flu shots.
QLess was also one of the 10 finalist in the JuicePitcher competition, hosted by Vator and TheFunded.
Here are some highlights:
- Excellent pitch. CEO and founder Alex Backer does a great job identifying the problem, the solution and the value proposition for investors, clients and consumers. He also provides great ROI (return on investment) figures and other stats that make his product compelling.
- A great informative pitch notwithstanding, Alex could use a zinger of an opening line, or more gusto when he delivers his pitch.
- The novelty of the service is that QLess is leveraging the cell phone, rather than creating new gadgets. The service also becomes a Trojan Horse for getting phone numbers. Between 80% and 90% of people who use the service provide their phone numbers.
- Alex has an impressive background. He came from MIT, Caltech and McKinsey & Sandia National Labs.
- QLess can bring targeted advertising closer to a reality. Not only does QLess know its customers' phone numbers, it knows if the customer has down-time (since they're waiting in line), and what the customer is interested in.
- Big challenge for QLess is having a big enough sales team to sell the line-management solution. After all, how many places have a line item in their budget for line-management software?
- Advice: QLess can't bootstrap this service. It's too big an idea. QLess will likely have to raise some venture funding and give the product away to get adoption. QLess should follow in the footsteps of Open Table by becoming a source of information. For instance, people should be able to use QLess to find the shortest line for a certain restaurant.
Be sure to stay updated on QLess by clicking the link below.