And the Vator Splash SF finalists are...

Faith Merino · September 29, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1f9b

The top 10 finalists for #VatorSplash San Francisco

Drum roll plesae. Here they are: the belles of the ball have arrived!  Vator Splash San Francisco kicks off tonight and the voting has narrowed the competitors down to 10 finalists (from 173) who will be presenting on stage in front of a panel of VC judges

Tonight these 10 startups will take the stage in front of an audience of some 400 high-tech influencers in Silicon Valley. The judges will vote for the overall Splash winner. The audience will vote for the winner of the People's Choice Award.

They are, in no particular order:

Nooch: a peer-to-peer money transfer system that allows you to send money to anyone with your smartphone.  No banking information required—you simply look up the recipient’s name and send your cash.  There are no maintenance fees or monthly fees, you simply pay a fifty cent transfer fee for each payment.

 

 

BuildingLayer: a map-making solution for indoor spaces.  Using BuildingLayer, anyone can locate a target building, upload custom floorplan graphics, add points of interest, and map out pedestrian routes so that people can find their way around your building.

 

Social Annex: a social media platform for e-commerce sites.  Social Annex enables businesses to drive up referral sales by connecting with its customers via social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Capseo: an online marketing solution that utilizes crowdsourcing to help a website build its influence.  Capseo’s algorithms analyze a website, identify its flaws, and find the right people to improve the site’s Web influence.

StÜdill.com: bills itself as the “first nationwide online college textbook exchange service,” StÜdill will allow college students to transfer used textbooks directly to other students without going through the university system at all, thereby getting more value for their books than campus bookstores are usually willing to pay.

Froomz: an “OpenTable for venues,” Froomz’s online marketplace allows event planners to locate, compare, and book venues in real-time. Froomz helps users find venues for large and small gatherings, from small meetings and dance rehearsals to fundraisers and large-scale celebrations.

BilNeur: a “collaborative consumption” venture that allows businesses to offer up resources such as services, equipment, space, or even staff during slow periods in order to help keep up with overhead costs.

 

MOEO: a mobile game developer that creates sports-based games that are simple enough to be played with “one thumb after three beers.”  MOEO’s first game, Hit-no-Hit, allows baseball fans to compete against their friends while watching a live MLB game.

 

 

FrontDoorSoftware: a laptop tracking and recovery program 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.

 

MindGames: A developer of online trivia and knowledge-based games for people interested in music, sports, politics, and more. MindGames’ first product was a suite of sports-themed trivia games, and it partnered with the NFL Players Association to launch MindSports Football on Facebook.

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Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs

Bilneur Inc

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

BilNeur.com is the first-of-its-kind business model based on the growing collaborative consumption trend that allows new opportunities for businesses to offer their resources – whether it’s office equipment, office space, services, or staff – during less productive times in order to keep up with overhead costs and maintain salaries for employees who might otherwise be facing cuts in hours or layoffs.

Founder Rohit Balaji’s vision of embracing a collaborative consumption business model came in 2005, two years before the term had even been coined, when he owned a wholesale trading business that was busy half of the week, but idle the other half. Manpower and resources were costing the company huge sums of money during those down times; Balaji saw an opportunity to lease his trucks and office equipment when they were otherwise sitting unused, and to bring in outside work for his staff to maintain their full time hours. His ideas, at the time, were met with skepticism.

Balaji’s foresight caught up with him in early 2011, when the collaborative consumption trend found its “perfect storm” for success: The housing bust and economic crash, increased concern for environmental issues, a scaled-down approach to living and making purchases, and technologic advances that forced businesses to rethink strategies that no longer served the nation’s immediate needs. With growing legions of individuals and home-based Internet businesses looking for short term or temporary use of office equipment, office space, and even staff, brick and mortars are discovering that they have something to offer beyond the scope of their primary business.

Now that businesses are struggling simply to keep their doors open and pay staff, a new collaborative approach to doing business and creating jobs means that success lies in an entrepreneurial movement toward embracing the growing preference for access over ownership.

BilNeur will serve as the effective clearinghouse businesses need to match their resources with others who need them on a short term or temporary basis, increasing revenues and spurring job growth.


How it works:

 For instance, BilNeur  will help a home-based or small web-based business owner in Seattle rent a conference room for a few hours from a nearby business in order to conduct a meeting or presentation in a professional setting, instead of a makeshift alternative like Starbucks. The individual contractor or small company has the luxury of finding a suitable conference room to meet with a potential or existing client, while the business with an empty conference room can cover the cost to heat or cool it for a week just by renting it out for a few hours during down time. 

A business can offer the services of an otherwise idle administrative assistant to field someone's calls, prepare an Excel spreadsheet, proof read documents, make copies on their idle copier or a million other things.

In fact, this type of collaborative venture will allow any company or individual to reserve a conference room, office space, warehouse space, equipment and other resources for a few hours, or a few days from a participating business in any U.S. city, through BilNeur.

BilNeur will also help businesses sell idle inventory easily and quickly through group selling and volume pricing features.

Most importantly, according to Balaji, BilNeur offers a viable solution to the dismal state of employment in the U.S.

 Companies struggling to maintain payroll can contract to take in part-time or short-term work from outside companies to keep staff busy when there isn’t enough internal work to go around.  Business owners benefit by bringing in extra money to maintain staff and keep in-house operations running effectively. Employees benefit by maintaining the security of ongoing employment and maximum hours. Outside contractors benefit by having the competent, supervised staff they need on hand when they need it.

The BilNeur team plans to roll out a beta version of the fee-based BilNeur sell-rent-share platform exclusively for businesses by November 2011. By November 2012, Balaji expects BilNeur to be a multi-million dollar company, coordinating almost unlimited revenue opportunities and jobs for businesses all over the U.S.

The name BilNeur was derived from two words: Billion Entrepreneurs. The idea for the name came from the book Billions of Entrepreneurs: How India & China are Reshaping the World with Billions of Entrepreneurs.

Vision & Approach:

BilNeur sees itself as the Airbnb for business resources, and when BilNeur is talking resources, that includes staff.
Utilizing the new “what’s mine is yours” collaborative consumption model that is the basis for Airbnb, Getaround.com, and a growing list of Internet-based companies looking to match goods and services with the people who need them (with just a short-term commitment).

BilNeur.com is designed to address the new economic theory that business will need to rethink the way they operate as more people accept that consumption and ownership is likely to have a new meaning in the future.

In January, 2011, TIME Magazine named collaborative consumption “One of the “10 Ideas That Will Change The World,” declaring that “Ownership hadn't made the U.S. vital; it had just about ruined the country.”
 

The collaborative consumption (aka “peer-to-peer”) business model has transformed outdated business models with online giants like Groupon and Netflix, and found a niche called social lending (Zopa), new ventures like Swap.com, Zimeide, TaskRabbit, Zilok and more, enabling “peer-to-peer” to become the default way people do business — whether it’s renting space, purchasing goods, borrowing money or contracting services, welcome to the new model of 21st-century commerce.

Market Size:
  • Total number of small/micro businesses in the US: 21.5 million.
  • On an average every business spends at least a few hundred dollars every month just to maintain their idle resources.
  • Annually, businesses in the United States alone spend more than $30 billion just maintaining their idle resources.
  • Globally, all businesses combined together spend more than one trillion dollars annually to maintain their idle resources.


FrontDoorSoftware

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

FrontDoorSoftware is a leading provider of laptop recovery services in major universities. The patent pending product is already offered to hundreds of thousands of students in major US universities such as Brown, UCLA, UFL, etc and is protecting laptops in over 100 countries. Our laptop tracking and recovery program is combined with one of the most powerful targeted opt-in page view delivery capabilities online today. The program has 2 revenue sources- a paid licensing model, and a free model For customers who do not pay, there is a great opportuntity for a targeted ad model. By moving delivery out to the computer ON button, every 15,000 users automatically generate over 1 million page views @ month (as users log in 2-3 times a day). and over 50 million page views @ user license lifetime!. Ultimate customer capture with little to no attrition!
 
Other laptop tracking products are often stealth, pretending there is nothing protecting the laptop, and then they try to recover it after it is already gone. FrontDoorSoftware's patent pending product is unique and is designed to be visible to prevent the theft in the first place.
 
The program works with Windows XP, Vista, 7, Apple Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion. The Android beta, iPad, and HP WebOS betas are due out soon. In addition to the university markets, the program is also used by consumers, corporate customers, K12 customers, healthcare customers, government customers, nonprofits are more.
The program can easily be set up to protect single users, multi-user accounts, and imaged for mass installs. The program is packed with features, like remote lockdown, Google Maps, Wi-Fi geo-location, changing recovery screens, and customizable yell for help features. The product is patent pending in the US and Europe.
The company is revenue producing and is self funded. The company is currently interested in outside investment and/or strategic partnerships.  

MindGames, Inc.

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

The first MindGames product is a suite of sports-specific casual social games. These free, quick-to-play games allow fans to compete for their favorite teams and against their archrivals. The game is a single-player experience, allowing fans to play trivia and knowledge-based challenges such as player image identification and ordering/stacking puzzles. Fans compete for fun, team pride, status and sports memorabilia prizes.

MindSports Baseball; MindSports Football prizes page

MindGames has partnered with the NFL Players Association to launch MindSports Football on Facebook. We use licensed player photos as virtual trading cards: collectible cards used to unlock bonuses and special features. We generate revenue by selling these cards, and through advertising and sponsorship. A demo of our baseball trivia game was also developed on Facebook in 2010.

MindSports Football trivia question; MindSports Football question result

The appeal of trivia gaming is acutely strong for sports fans, for whom having a deep knowledge of the game is ingrained in the culture. Yet this large audience, with more than 30MM playing fantasy games, is currently being underserved by both the sports media sites and casual game developers. This audience doesn't want CityVille dressed up as CollegeTown - they want content and formats that are native to them.

We are currently in terms negotiation on a unique opportunity to license content from the NBA to develop MindSports NBA Basketball, leveraging team logos and retired player images. In parallel we are speaking with the NHL and the NHL Players Association about development of MindSports Hockey. And we are exploring other relationships both domestic and internationally.

MindSports Basketball; MindSports Hockey

In the long term, we see our gaming platform as a leverageable asset that can be used to colonize new content verticals such as music, entertainment and politics, and also extended into the skill-gaming space.

We are seeking incremental investment to (1) develop seven additional casual sports games, (2) develop eight head-to-head sports skill games, enabling fans to legally wager on their knowledge, and (3) develop a massively multiplayer trivia and knowledge gaming tournament platform based on online poker.

Froomz Inc.

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Froomz Vator Header


Executive Summary


The Unmet Market Need:
Today, there is no centralized marketplace that connects individuals /event planners and venues in real-time. Finding and booking a venue is a referral based manual process. Many under-utilized venues are in need to generate additional revenues. On the other hand, growth in social media is leading to demand to meet up in the real world. 

Why isn't there a 1-stop shop today? 

The complex scheduling, pricing schemes for different venues makes real time on-line transactions difficult.  Many vairables make it hard to treat venues as standardized commodities. 

The Opportunity:
Annual spending for events is sized at $500 billion globally; Based on a bottom up marketing study, event venue market for 8 major US states including California estimated to be in excess of $7 billion annually.

Our Solution:
Froomz provides the first fully integrated, real-time, cloud-based booking platform for venues and individuals/event planners. Our survey concluded that Froomz will address over 90% of the major headaches that venue owners and managers are facing today. Froomz will fundmentally transform the way consumers find and book venues and enable online interest groups to rapidly find space and meet up. 

Our Vision:
Froomz is THE marketplace for venues, creating/enabling a new market for underutilized space

Our Team:
Passionate, experienced and ready

Current Status:
Customer beta; Web design and end to end infrastructure complete;
Early customers and go-to-market partners ready to launch

__________________________


What We Do


For Users:
Simply put, Froomz helps you find rooms. Just tell us What, Where and When, and we provide you with a list of venues that fit your needs. From meetings and meet-ups to fundraisers and milestone celebrations, project and rehearsal spaces for art, music or photography sessions, Froomz enables you to search, sort and compare venues based on availability, price, location and amenities.

Book instantly using your credit card and share your confirmed reservations with colleagues, family and friends. Best of all, it's free to sign up!

 

For Venues:
Froomz offers venues a two-fold solution: a robust listing in our online venue marketplace at Froomz.com to help boost your rental revenue, coupled with a powerful web-based venue management system that automates, organizes, and tracks room reservations, customer relationships and transaction history, saving you time and money.

Our dynamic patent-pending system enables you to maintain full control of your venue - from flexible pricing packages to listing visibility and exposure, as well as reservation requests and online booking options. Pick and choose the Froomz features most relevant for your business.

 

The Froomz beta site is now live! Check us out online at Froomz.com

 

 

 


Social Annex

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Social Annex has built the most comprehensive and customizable Social Platform for eCommerce sites. 

We have solutions around Social Sharing, Social Merchandising, Social Engagement and Social Analytics all geared towards eCommerce. These tools help socialize the eCommerce experience improving conversion for existing visitors and driving trusted recommendations for friends and followers.

Social Annex Modules

 

 

 

BuildingLayer

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

BuildingLayer is a collaborative map of the indoor world. We enable organizations to more effectively navigate spaces, track inventory, manage facilities, and visualize other indoor data layers. We're making "lost" obsolete.


BuildingLayer is a...

  Betaspring 2011 Alumni (top 15 startup accelerator)

MOEO

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

MOEO identifies, develops, and markets a variety of super simple and contagious interactive sports gaming applications for the tablet and mobile markets.

What sets us apart from our competitors is that all of our games are made to be so simple and contagious that you can play them with one thumb after drinking three beers. This makes our games even more fun for sports enthusiasts but opens up our reach to a much larger casual audience.  As opposed to fantasy sports, where you need to be technically savvy on the given sport in order to compete, our games are much simpler and allow someone who is just becoming acquainted with the sport to jump in on the fun and begin playing with their friends.

Our first game Hit-no-Hit allows Baseball fans to compete against their friends while following a live MLB Baseball game.  Games that we are already working on include PGA Tee Box Challenge, NASCAR Follow the Leader, NBA And One, NFL, MLS, and Cricket.

All of our games run on top of the same scalable proprietary platform that we built to enable streamlined gameplay to millions of users across Apple iOS and Android mobile platforms.  This allows us to produce future titles with very little technical development needed! This also makes all of our games easily duplicable for other leagues and countries.

Nooch

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Nooch Logo

No Wallet? No Problem!

  • Ever get to the front of the line for a bar, reach for a $10 bill and realize you forgot your wallet? 
  • Ever had a mooching friend beg you to let them borrow "just 10 bucks" when they forgot their cash?
  • Ever had to find an ATM in the middle of the night... AND pay the $4 ATM fee?

Sick of the high fees and inconvenience of PayPal, Western Union, and the Big Banks?

Then Nooch is for you.

 

Nooch is a revolutionary Peer-to-Peer money transfer system that is the simplest, quickest and easiest way to send money to friends!

Nooch Mobile Payments

 

Mobile Payments for College Students - Generation-M

Nooch is needed all the time on college campuses.  20 Million US college students live with their friends, eat with their frat-mates and attend events/parties together.  Every day there are cash-only situations where Nooch would save time, money and stress.  

Moocher McGeeThis is not a "split-the-bill" app... Nooch is for anyone  who needs cash immediately but doesn't have any.  Paying back bets, buying a roommates sofa, fantasy  sports, bar tabs, and IOU's are all perfect situations for  Nooch!

Our technology and interface include features that were not possible even 5 years ago.  Mobile computing power, social networks and Gen-M have created a perfect storm of demand for more efficient mobile commerce solutions.

Since recipients don't need an account to receive money, Nooch is viral! Senders just need their recipient's name.  That's it.

Capseo

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Capseo was part of the Plug and Play Tech Center Startup Camp 2011

Problem :

Any website needs to be visible to reach a qualified audience. It is hard to find the perfect solution, on one hand Webmarketing Agencies are not international and not multi-channel. They are not reactive and not scalable. On the other hand, Market Places are not secured, finding the right available skills is a nightmare, and freelancers are waiting for projects in vain.

Below are some issues that you may encounter on marketplaces if you are looking for freelancers :

  • Finding skills: how can I be sure that this person has the right skills?
  • Security: how do I secure the payments, copyrights and confidentiality?
  • Cultural misunderstanding: Does my freelancer mean yes or no?
  • Time difference: why should I be awake at 4 AM to have a meeting?
  • Project Management: I outsource the job, why would I end up managing?

... And if you are a freelancer :

  • Sales: I am not a salesman, why do I have to sell my skills?
  • Skills required: why should I do tasks I cannot handle?
  • Security: how can I be sure that I will receive my payments?
  • Rating system: how someone who is not an expert able to rate it my work?
  • Delay: I want to work only when I have enough time to complete the work.

Solution :

Capseo is able to determine the weaknesses of a website, finding out what has to be done and who are the best people to do it.

For each campaign, Capseo sets up a unique team of influencers to promote brands, products and services all over the web without any advertising or consulting. Those influencers are chosen regarding their abilities to achieve tasks, their social graph and expertise (SEO, Social Media, Blogs, Forums etc.).They can manage their assignments and earnings on their interface.

Clients pay on a Price Per Visitor basis and can monitor the campaign through a dedicated platform (stats, invoices, report etc.). Clients don't have to care about paying or managing freelancers and have no direct relation with them.

Market Opportunity :

  • Search Engine Marketing world expenses by 2015 : $51B
  • Social Media Optimization world expenses by 2013 : $5B

Firms are having more propensity (+40 % in 2010) to spend on SEO since prices for Search Advertizing are saturating. Social Media Optimization is the fastest growing  budget due to the significant expansion of Social Networks : +400% for viral marketing in 2010.

Marketplaces such as Odesk, Freelancer etc. are having an increasing number of registered workers, however the percentage of those who activelly work is not growing up. 

Milestones :

  • + $350K in 16 months
  • + 80 clients (e.g : Kaspersky, Axa, Renault)
  • 10 agencies partnership (e.g : Publicis)
  • + 1400 "ready to work" influencers