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Oct. 5, 2012 11:00 am

Early Stage East: 25 startups pitch at 15th year of regional showcase [VIDEO]

It wasn’t quite ABC’s “Shark Tank,” but it was as close as you could get without the cameras. Moderated by Shark Tank star and FUBU founder Daymond John, 25 companies pitched in front of a room of 120 investors, attorneys and accountants at Early Stage East‘s Club Pitch event at the Downtown Club in Washington […]

Early Stage East founder David Freschman (left) and FUBU founder Daymond John.

It wasn’t quite ABC’s “Shark Tank,” but it was as close as you could get without the cameras.

Moderated by Shark Tank star and FUBU founder Daymond John, 25 companies pitched in front of a room of 120 investors, attorneys and accountants at Early Stage East‘s Club Pitch event at the Downtown Club in Washington Square West yesterday. After the six-minute pitches, a panel of investors from firms like Next Stage Capital, Edison Ventures and Novitas Capital grilled the entrepreneurs. Sometimes even John joined in on the critiquing.

Many of the companies were based in Philly or its suburbs, or New York City, though some came from as far as Barcelona and Barbados.

Blackboard CEO Michael Chasen gives the Keynote Address inside the Downtown Club. Chasen pitched Blackboard at an early Club Pitch, and organizers call the company one of the event’s biggest successes.

Now in its 15th year, the annual Club Pitch aims to connect entrepreneurs with investors and service providers, like accounting and law firms, says Early Stage East organizer Patrick Foley. The event, held in Philly or Wilmington, Del., where Early Stage East is based, is sponsored by these firms. This year, law firms Pepper Hamilton and Morgan Lewis and accounting firm-to-startups Parente Beard were major sponsors.

The startups at the event were either recommended by one of the service providers or applied to the pitch, Foley says. Once the companies are chosen, Early Stage East team members coach the entrepreneurs through the pitching process.

While the handful of pitches we saw were pretty standard, there was one that stood out — for better or for worse (one of the investors on the panel said he was speechless). Check out the tail end of the singing pitch from Delaware-based Lorikeet Learning. The presenters hoped to demonstrate the power of their product by using it on the crowd.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technically Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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