It’s that time again! With Dave McClure’s 500 Startups now at 175 startups, sometimes hanging out at its headquarters in Mountain View leaves one a little inundated with promising startups. Especially since motherhen McClure insists that he loves all his little monsters the same.
While each of the 30 startups that presented yesterday at Demo Day is clearly a unique little snowflake, I culled seven of the most interesting (read, that doesn’t mean “will actually be successful”) and interviewed them just like last time.
Key highlights: Learn how the Storytree dudes convinced a retiree to perform in their sappy demo video, watch the heated brogramming vs. proglamming debate between gender-focused startups Manpacks and Snapette and listen to “Startup Jesus” Jameson Detweiler’s gospel on scaling.
Companies that I’m still interested in despite not interviewing here: TinFoil Security (who doesn’t need a service that highlights where your company is vulnerable to hacks?), Kibin (what blogger doesn’t need free and fast online editing?) and Craft Coffee (like a Birchbox for coffee).
Here they are in no particular order. And you can watch everyone’s demo video here.
The most “real life” facing startup of the cohort, Culture Kitchen tries to hook up ethnic cooks with people who want to learn ethnic cooking in their homes. Co-founder by Stanford d.school students Abby Sturges and Jennifer Lopez, the startup already has partnerships with Whole Foods and seven traditional cuisines represented.
A Hotel Tonight for events tickets, WillCall lets people pick up same day tickets for at around 50% (Hotel Tonight CEO Sam Shank is an investor.). Bro-founder Donnie Dinch very notably used Billy Elliot as an example of an event he’d like to go to during his demo, and I’ll never forget that slide with the text “Billy Elliott, bitches.” #Googlebait
Snapette and Manpacks are double interviewed here because their products were so complementary. Manpacks focuses on simplifying the shopping experience for guys, buy automating purchases for man staples like underwear, socks and condoms. Snapette, the “Foodspotting for fashion” does exactly the opposite, giving women even more choices by giving them the option to scan for
shoes high end goods available around them. I personally think the two should merge, or at least offer discounts for couples.
Touted by founder Ray Chan as “YouTube meets Karaoke” Singboard is interesting not so much from a product level as for the fact that the team also runs the incredibly successful image forum 9Gag and Startup Quote. From Hong Kong, the team got an introduction to 500 Startups by “quoting” one of the 500 Startups mentors.
Storytree is an online memoir for families (and groups) with just about the most heart-wrenching demo video ever. And as it turns out that the whole “guy dies at the end” part is fake! Co-founders Matt Sullivan and Zach Weiner convinced a local nursing home resident to take part in the video, as part of an improv class that incorporated Storytree.
Console.fm is no-fuss a web app that streams electronic music. Garnering crazy buzz and some loyal fans (like the three people sent this to me before Demo Fay) the app grabs charting data for songs across the Internet and determines what songs should be included for each genre. The trio was working on a developer recruiting tool called Hello World before this and pivoted to Console.fm because they found other music discovery services like Turntable.fm too distracting.
LaunchRock is a startup that helps other startups um, launch. Having just signed up a million people for its network of startups, one isn’t exactly sure if this is a sign of a bubble or a stroke of genius. In any case, founder Jameson “Startup Jesus” Detweiler is interesting. Also: Surprisingly not from LA.