This was no ordinary graduation.
Their summer over, the 14 companies incubated in DreamIt Ventures no longer have the luxury of seed money, free office space and daily mentorship and must now strike out on their own. Despite the celebratory nature of Demo Day, the work of the 2010 Dreamit Ventures graduates has only just begun (read more about each company in our three-part Demo Day Preview series).
But first, each company was given seven minutes to present its business models, team and funding needs to a packed house of investors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and others with the hopes of netting investment, more customers or advisers. Each company then fielded a small number of questions before handing the microphone over to the company next in line, making the presentations move like DreamIt itself: quickly and efficiently .
If there is a theme to DreamIt’s class of 2010, it’s the use of social media to add transparency to industries that badly need it. Giveloop adds accountability to donations, Vozeeme helps truckers fulfill inventory through an open bidding process and Easel uses the web to connect tutors to students, to name a few.
But with 14 companies, it can be tough to keep track of all of the presentations. So, as per tradition, Technically Philly has a few awards to hand out. After the jump, see who had the face the toughest crowd, which company necessitated “your mom” jokes and, of course, our pick for best company.
Breath of fresh air award: Vozeeme
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See parts of Vozeeme’s presentation, above.
The 2010 DreamIt class is awash will companies built on the social web with most companies heavily relying on Twitter, Facebook and mobile technologies. Vozeeme, however, couldn’t care less who your friends are as the company’s primary audience are truckers with unfilled space in their rigs.
While it’s not the sexy industry that will grab headlines on TechCrunch, Vozeeme is filling a need. Oh, and did we mention Vozeeme is the only DreamIt company comprised entirely of women?
The “that’s what she said” award : AppNowGo
AppNowGo’s pitch of “we make applications so easy, your mom can do it” perfectly conveyed the value of the company’s platform. As we tweeted, someone sitting behind TP remarked “I so need this” halfway through the presentation. Unfortunately, the matriarchal focus also had “your mom” jokes running through our heads for seven minutes.
The “welcome to Philadelphia, it’s a tough crowd” award: Campus Sponsorship
Okay, so “welcome to Philadelphia” is a bit unfair, as most members of Campus Sponsorship are from the Philly area. However, no startup received tougher questions from the audience. While nearly every other company received softballs, the CS crew kept their calm after being asked questions about the viability of the college market that questioned the fundamentals of their business.
Best Tweet: Easel
When TP was wandering around before the presentations began, we noticed that many DreamIt companies were pacing nervously in lobby.
“I’m just glad I’m going second,” said Giveloop’s Todd Spitz when we caught up with him before the event started.
However, it appears no one was more nervous that Easel Founder San Kim who was afraid of his bowels. He didn’t have to worry, though, Easel’s iPad application already has 5000 users and is set to make a play in the lucrative test preparation market.
Biggest upside: Sqoot and Yunno.
An oft-overused phrase in sports is “upside,” typically attributed to a young player who has all of the tools for success but just has to put it together. The guys at Sqoot are agile, give a good presentation and are poised to connect advertisers and consumers in a completely unique manner. They also aren’t asking for much money.
“We’re quite cheap to keep alive,” said co-founder Avand Amiri during Sqoot’s presentation.
Yunno, denied by DreamIt in 2009, is similarly flexible and looking to help companies better connect with consumers through social media using techniques such as contests.
Best company: Adapt.ly. Honorable Mention: MindSnacks.
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See parts of Adapt.ly’s presentation, above.
Whenever Technically Philly asked attendees “Which company do you like?” the answer was almost always Adapt.ly – and we agree. One of the only companies ballsy enough to rock t-shirts to Demo Day, Adapt.ly reminds many in our community of Invite Media, another advertising technology company with Philly roots that has gone on to a strong exit. So far, there’s not much to suggest that Adapt.ly can’t do the same. As we tweeted, we can even see Adapt.ly receiving investment from the same firms that funded Invite Media. (Use the beta code: “technicallyphilly” to sign up for Adapt.ly)
Technically Philly has been hearing all summer that this crop of DreamIt classes is the most polished yet, a characteristic reflected in each company’s perfectly-paced presentation. However, unlike last year’s Demo Day nearly all of the companies were seeking funding, most in the $250,000 to $500,000 range.
And, unlike previous years, a large number of the companies have Philadelphia roots, and many from out of town have expressed interest in sticking around.
We have our fingers crossed.
Later today: More video and photos.
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