We’re live at the very final Battlefield of TechCrunch Disrupt New York, where six finalists are duking it out for $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.
We’ll be maintaining our live notes below — tune in to be the first to know who walks away victorious.
We’re joined by judges Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital, Ron Conway of SV Angel, Marissa Mayer of Google, Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, Fred Wilson of USV, and our own Michael Arrington.
The companies going into the finals: Do@, Billguard, InvoiceASAP, Sonar, Getaround, and CCLoop.
Do@ is an app search aggregator. Searching for “sushi”, for example, will show screens from the Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foodspotting, and Foursquare apps. Developers can submit their own applications to be aggregated into results.
Marissa Mayer: What’s your revenue model?
It’s a sponsored app, though we haven’t turned that feature on yet. There are also ads (admob).
Who picks the apps?
It’s a completely open platform. Anyone can submit their URL, while devs can submit through our API. It’s sorted by a crowdsourced social result system.
Why are you not doing a search box on Do@.com?
The browsers on these mobiles are not powerful enough yet.
Do you have a strategy for getting to the leaderboards on the App Store?
We were on the leaderboard on the first day. We actually don’t want to go too fast.
Billguard has taken the stage. Billguard dubs themselves as “the world’s first anti-virus for bills”. It constantly monitors your credit card statements for reoccuring fees that you may not know are there, or that may be scams. Billguard will also dispute charges for you. The first card that a user monitors is free; if a user wishes to monitor two or more cards, there is a flat fee.
When you look at anti-spam products, a lot of people mark things as spam when they’re not necessarily spam, but things that irritate them. I imagine this will be a problem here; won’t companies be very mad about false positives and requests for refunds that aren’t legitimate?
We’ve solved this by implementing a reliability system. We give users a reputation score — we’ll know who is flagging correctly, and who is simply crying wolf.
The judges ask for a recap of the business model
The first (primary) card for each user is free. Additional cards can be added for a flat membership fee of $4 per month.
Why $4 per month? Why not take a cut of the money that you save users?
We don’t want to be a part of the process of ripping people off — we want to end it. Additionally, something I didn’t get to mention in my presentation: we are in talks with 3 (soon to be 4) of the top US banks toi have them deliver the Billguard system directly to consumers.
You said 90% of AOL customers don’t realize they’re paying for their accounts (Mike interjects: Why do you have to bring AOL into this? AOL provides a valuable service. Audience laughs)… how would that be flagged/classified?
If enough people flagged that they didn’t know they were paying for this, it would show an alert. We don’t indicate that it is fraudulent, but users should know that this is a charge that many people don’t realize they’re paying.
Also, another thing I didn’t get a chance to mention: in addition to banks, we’ll be partnering with the top antivirus companies later this year.
If you pay the $4 a month.. at the end of the year, if you haven’t saved the customer that much money, do they get a refund?
We subscribe to the school of delivering happiness. We weren’t going to announce this yet, but: if someone signs up, and it doesn’t catch anything (and that’s a good thing! If it doesn’t catch anything, its because your cards are clean.).. we’ll give you your money back.
Fred Wilson: Here’s the thing. People are cheap. This feels like Mint. I don’t pay for Mint, why would I pay for this?
There are millions of people each month who pay for social security protection —
Fred Wilson: Those things are scams. The fact that you’re associating yourself with those is no good.
InvoiceASAP is a cloud-based invoice app that allows you to easily create and send professional invoices, estimates, sales orders and receipts. The app provides easy-to-use menus on your mobile phone, and swiftly guides the user through the setup and invoicing process, making your device a powerful tool for business management.
How do you get distribution?
Existing deals. Have an affiliate strategy. In touch with QuickBooks Pro advisors. Will build out quickly for enterprise sales for those QuickBooks Pro advisors.
Can you talk about the market size?
Anyone who is an Angie’s List contractor. That’s the SMB market. From enterprise standpoint, anyone with a mobile presence. App is free itself. Unlimited sending of invoices and estimates. To activate media attachments, payments, archiving, is $7 per month per user. To connect to accounting B2B. Could do volume discounts.
What could sales be in two years?
We’re shooting for, we’d be happy with 100,000 paid users. In 2 years 3-400,000 possible with right marketing.
Are you integrated into QuickBooks?
When you added the cement.. who inputs that into the system?
With InvoiceASAP, add in mobile device, or key it into backend. If connected to Quickbooks etc, can get data from there.
We’re actively looking at POS. To be able to swipe. Key thing, Intuit has GoPay, have all these online accounting platforms. No way to go to POS and look at invoice. We’re hot on this.
Josh: Before investing I’d want to know more about the distribution. You have to think FreshBooks etc moving to HTML5. Worry about what happens when competition realizes.
We’ve had this discussion. Companies we’re partnering with that could build their own thing. We want to be lowest common denominator.
Marissa: Hot space. I think integration points are going to be incredibly important. I also don’t think you’re thinking big enough. I’ve been looking at SMBs lately. Madison WI has 31,000 businesses.
Sonar is a mobile app that helps you connect with people around you. Open the app, and it will show you people in the same venue who have mutual friends with you (using data from Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Once you see someone you know, it lets you send them a message in one click.
Ron Conway: If I were in due diligence, we’d have to look into FB, Foursquare, Twitter to make sure they aren’t going to do this. Foursquare has already done it.
One of verticals people most concerned about is people nearby. I don’t think that’s Foursquare’s mission — I think they’re connecting people with places. Idea is get people on Sonar, then provide more powerful things down the line.
Fred Wilson: I think you’re striking a chord
Marissa: There’s some interesting aspects to it. I’m personally shy so I like new conversation starters. At the same time it feels like a feature. What problem is it trying to solve. For a lot of people, they don’t need to meet more people.
We’re revenue positive.. if I walk into a room I want to meet ruby devs. We’re launching promoted people. In this room, certain people want more visibility.
Do you plan to offer communications inside the service? Over time as more people use Sonar, you’d be more valuable if you have your own communication network..
Yes absolutely. Perhaps if you wanted to send a blast to everyone that’s a journalist, maybe that’s a premium features. Will build profiles for users as well.
Koppelman: To some degree you’re disintermediating Foursquare FB, etc. I can see scenarios where you’re a threat to them
Foursquare down the line will try to own the client. But we do great even if we don’t own the client.
Fred Wilson: think about your brand. There are lots of apps named Sonar.
Google owns Sonar.com. There are other apps called Sonar, but we just started in App Store, we’re now top app named Sonar.
Getaround can be thought of as the “AirBNB for Cars”. Much as AirBNB allows home owners to list their homes for daily rentals, Getaround allows car owner to rent their cars out by the hour. They’ve built a small device which connects to your car, providing keyless entry to the renter through a smartphone app. Renters can also browse for cars, view photos of the available rides, and read reviews through the application. Driver’s insurance is included in the hourly rental rates.
What about regulatory framework? What are the regulations regarding car rental?
Good question. They’re actually quite favorable. It’s legal everywhere (all 50 states).
Who is invested?
We haven’t announced our funding yet — we’re going to soon. There are a few very high profile angels involved.
How does the device work? How is it paired?
It’s running embedded Linux, and a combination of wireless technologies to communicate. Pairing the hardware with the keyless remote app takes about 5 minutes, and is the same process as pairing a new, physical keyless remote that you might buy for your car.
What about ignition?
It works the same way Zipcar does. The App does not handle ignition; keys are left out-of-sight in the car.
What if you trash my car? I don’t mean crash my car — what if you bring it back a mess?
We deal with that by allowing the car owner to limit who they rent to.
Marissa Mayer: I’m super impressed. It’s a regular problem, and an every day problem. I’m also impressed that you’re making hardware so early. Even Google, we were hardware shy for so long. My only question: You said you have 1,600 cars, but that you haven’t “validated them yet”. What is this validation? How does it scale?
Right now we’ve signed it up so that anyone can sign up. There’s no manual validation — we just haven’t activated them yet in the backend.
Then who would own the liability? If you rent a car with no brakes and someone crashes, who takes the blame?
We would — that’s why we have insurance.
ccLoop aims to eliminate messy Reply-Alls and e-mail threads with their vision of ‘Smart Mailing Lists’. ccLoop wants to make it easier for users to create, manage, share, discover, join, and follow lists. Dubbed “Loops”, users can decide for themselves which emails they want to receive in what way, using a cloud-based service. Lists are easy to create (it essentially entails adding an @ccLoop.com address to the CC field of the first email to the group), with no downloads or plugins involved.
So it’s a mailing list?
It’s a mailing list with a bunch of power added to it. If you take this simple idea — I’m working with people, I need to talk to all these people —and make it a Software As A Service, it becomes all the more powerful.
I think this is really smart. It’s almost like Yahoo Groups, done right, 10 years. Will this result in me getting more e-mail, or less e-mail?
This feature, the digests, where you only get daily digests (or weekly digests), reduces how much e-mail you get. If you join these loops, you’ve got control of what you get. If you don’t want it, or don’t want it right now, you can still go get it later.
I think it’s a mistake to pitch this as an enterprise service. I can see this as something that a couple employees within a couple begin to use [personally], and then having it grow into an enterprise use.
How many companies have you sold?
2, and then one IPO.