#VinettaProjectDC crowns first $20K challenge finalist - Technical.ly DC


Mar. 31, 2016 10:27 am

#VinettaProjectDC crowns first $20K challenge finalist

Alex McManus, cofounder of Eyrus, will pitch again for a chance to win $20,000 in September.

Vanessa Dawson, founder and CEO of The Vinetta Project, at the first semifinal pitch night on Tuesday.

(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

The first semifinal round of the Vinetta Project’s $20,000 pitch challenge, held Tuesday night at Social Tables, had a woman’s touch. Which is to say it was beautifully organized. ?

Guests mingled in the open events space, snacking on Naked Pizza and a range of pink macaroons that found their color match in the Social Tables elevator lobby.

The panel of judges, once seated, offered insight into their work and top pieces of (general) advice for entrepreneurs. Our personal favorite came from Penny Lee, the chair of K Street Capital:

Pro tip: “Cut the jargon” is one of our favorite pieces of advice to give startups looking to tell their stories to journalists, too.

And all this before the main event. Lily Cua of Aspire, Hulya Aksu of ListenPort and Alex McManus of Eyrus all delivered streamline pitches for their vastly diverse products, and the panelists followed up with questions and tips, ideas for additional information to include or highlight.

Ultimately, Alex McManus came out on top.

Eyrus aims to increase transparency on construction sites, allowing managers to save money by accurately tracking the labor resources (or, in other words, human workers) that are on site at any one time. At the moment this is done with punch cards and clipboards — Eyrus ups the game with real-time data enabled by RFID tags.

McManus now has until September to perfect her pitch for the finals. Panelist (and Social Tables CEO) Dan Berger’s parting piece of advice? Eyrus clearly saves people money, which is a great start, but customers like to be told they can make money with a product too — see if you can identify how Eyrus can be used to make money. It’ll be interesting to see whether, and how, McManus incorporates this feedback into her presentation in September.

In the mean time, the Vinetta Project will host two more semifinal nights — the next is scheduled for May 24, back at Social Tables.

Companies: Social Tables
People: Dan Berger
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