The Lion’s Den pitch competition returned for the ninth year at the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) annual Mid-Atlantic Capital Conference on Thursday.
Fifty-two companies presented throughout the day and three were chosen to pitch during the “Shark Tank”-style conference closer. The founders of those three companies had up to eight minutes to pitch their companies and 10 minutes to answer questions from the investors, aka lions, then a few minutes to see if the founder and investors could agree to a deal.
This year, five investors made up the panel of lions onstage including David Adelman, founder of Draco Capital and CEO of Campus Apartments; Robert Corrato, founder and managing partner of Devon Hill Capital Partners; Daniel Goldsmith, CEO of Tendo; Paul Graziani, CEO of COMSPOC Corporation; and Ryan Hicke, CEO of SEI Investments.
Josh Mastromatto, cofounder and CEO of Rego, was up first onstage. Mastromatto’s company provides an eco-friendly solution for building owners and tenants who need to get rid of furniture.
Rego’s platform assists building owners and tenants with determining when junk will need to be removed, coordinating pick up and relocating furniture items to local nonprofits or recycling centers to reduce waste in landfills.
“Our software is booking elevators, it’s communicating with tenants and even scheduling the junk removal companies,” Mastromatto said. “All this so that units turn over faster and the property staff can focus on more important work.”
The company is in the middle of a seed round and has raised $285,000 so far, according to Mastromatto. His ask was to raise the rest of the money needed to hit the company’s $750,000 goal. The lions and Mastromatto went back and forth about the valuation of the company, which he set at $5 million, while the lions thought it should be closer to $3 million.
Mastromatto ended up leaving the stage with a deal for $225,000 from Adelman, Graziani and Corrato.
The next founder to pitch was Nina Farran, founder and CEO of FashionKind. Farran’s company is a digital marketplace for luxury fashion items. FashionKind offers “artisans” who make fashion items a place to sell their goods to consumers who are looking for unique and ethically sourced items.
“We are confident that significant growth is realistic as we expand into new geographies, such as Asia, the Middle East and Europe and into new categories such as men’s, children’s, beauty and home,” Farran said. “FashionKind will be the digital marketplace for conscious consumption across all categories and all geographies.”
FashionKind is raising a $2 million seed round and has already raised $700,000, per Farran. She is looking to raise at least another $500,000 before the end of 2023. Much of the funding raised will go toward marketing and hiring additional roles to support marketing, social media and operations, she said.
“I met Nina about two years ago, and she religiously sends me her quarterly update,” Adelman told the other lions. “And she doesn’t give up. She works very hard.”
After the lions asked questions about growth plans and there was some back and forth about valuation of the company, Farran was offered $500,000 from Corrato, Goldsmith and Hicke with a $6 million cap.
Dan Fradin, founder and CEO of Impact Wrap, said the idea for his company came from playing Dance Dance Revolution with his kids in 2010. He is a longtime participant in martial arts and thought it would be cool if there was a way to track his movements on a heavy bag similar to the way the dance game tracked dance moves.
Thus, Fradin founded Impact Warp, a system of software and hardware that tracks athletes’ workouts on a heavy bag.
“We’ve got brain and heart rate monitors and servers. We’ve got apps on iOS and Android video integration. We connect coaches with their members,” Fradin said. “So we actually provide a way to have that engagement, that personalized experience.”
Impact Wrap is raising $250,000 for a seed round. The company has a $3 million convertible note that has been out since 2021 with a 20% discount, $7.5 million value cap and 8% interest. The lions asked questions about the system’s hardware and plans for growth.
Ultimately, none of the lions offered Fradin a deal. Corrato said he liked the idea and Fradin’s passion, but has concerns about the execution of his plans.Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 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 Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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