A local software firm offered startup founders and investors space to connect last week.
Baltimore software product agency TechSlice invited three companies to participate in its Demo Day. Held downtown at Spark Baltimore on October 7, the event was an opportunity for local companies to pitch, get advice and make connections to local investors in a close-knit setting.
The three local companies pitching at this event were:
- SueChef, an autonomous cooking device.
- The Difference, a shoe product with proprietary design benefitting health.
- Mindstand, an AI tool for divesity, equity inclusion efforts in teams and online communities.
With Demo Day, TechSlice aimed to give startup CEOs a chance to meet investors, present their pitch and get feedback from investors about what they look for in companies that they end up funding. This feedback will allow the CEOs to hone in on what they need to change and improve about their current business strategy in order to raise funds.
“The way to growth is failing fast and getting some of that brutal feedback,” said TechSlice CEO Juliana Buonanno. “Getting that early on allows you to excel that much faster.”
The questions after the pitches were pointed and varied. For Olguy Songolo founder of The Difference, a shoe company that wants to eliminate heel strike and fundamentally change how people run with heel-less shoes, the questions ranged from the science to preventing IP theft and product licensing.
For SueChef cofonder Max Wieder, investors dug into the company’s supply chain for the AI-powered appliance that contains both freezer and oven. They also talked logistics for involving packaging and food delivery with the accompanying app marketplace for the frozen meals that will be used with the device.
MindStand CEO Michael Ogunsanya illustrated how a digital tool can be used to curb analog relationships and habits. Ogunsanya also announced new partnerships with diversity recruitment platforms and education providers during his pitch to showcase how Mindstand wasn’t just an identifier of culture problems, but a solution to them.
TechSlice is currently looking for its next batch of companies to pitch and demo for investors at the next Demo Day in February, with a preference for health tech companies. The date in February is to be determined.
“We’re very real and direct but it’s a very supportive environment,” said Buonanno. “Everyone in this room has been where those presenters are at. Everyone in this room that is invited has built something from nothing. They’ve had to raise funds. They’ve had to start from a product idea. They know where you’re coming from so don’t ever be apologetic about where you are in your process.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.