Our 7 Favorite Companies From The 500 Startups Batch 15 Demo Day

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Our 7 Favorite Companies From The 500 Startups Batch 15 Demo Day

Despite an investment environment that’s future seems to be growing increasingly cloudy, the 35 accelerator founders who pitched at Tuesday’s 500 Startups Batch 15 Demo Day brought the excitement.

We descended on the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to take a look at the latest #500strong portfolio companies. After the team harkened the event with a cringingly unapologetic rendition of Rihanna’s classic “Pitch better get me money,” founders took to the stage and pitched their hearts out, rattling off figures relating to month-over-month growth, market penetration, run rates and customer acquisition costs. The cash-hungry founders had just two minutes to wow the audience of investors and prove their worth.

Some solve real world problems, some solve “silicon valley” problems, and some left us unsure of what they actually even do. Here are the seven startups we left the demo day most excited about.

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Barn & Willow

You could spend your Saturday at Ikea, head to One King’s Lane, or, for a nominal fee, hire a designer from Laurel and Wolf to make your home appealing. There are many choices, but not all of them are both high-quality and affordable. Barn & Willow aims for this sweet spot by cutting out the showroom and sending drapery and textile samples to you from the stitch factory, instead. Interior decorators and those with an eye for home design might enjoy getting the exact color and cloth shipped to their door. The company is starting out with drapery and says it can customize any order. So far Barn & Willow claims a $40,000 monthly revenue and says it is seeing a 30 percent re-order rate.

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Mejuri

Shopping for an engagement ring or unique piece of jewelry? Mejuri aims to offer up premium jewelry without the typical markups. The company does this with a direct-to-consumer model.

Founder Noura Sakkijha is a third generation jeweler and says by cutting out the middleman and working directly with designers her company has been able to hit a $700,000 run rate. The company also claims 50 percent of customers come back to platform to buy more. It’s a bit like Etsy, offering items from global sources, but with a sole focus on fine jewelry.

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iWaboo

Co-founder Ivan Marandola made a splash onstage at 500’s Demo Day in his yellow vest and a booming accent to tell the audience how he planned to help all the indie makers and gadget creators out there with the gaps in their hardware startup plans. You see, the hard thing about hardware is that it’s hard to make and then sell. iWABOO is a weird name but with the tagline “You make it. We sell it” the company aims to ease the struggles many hardware startups face when getting themselves from prototype to finished product in the marketplace. It does this by helping all the IOT’ers of the world into marketplaces like Amazon, Barney’s and Net-A-Porter. iWaboo has hit a $1.2 million annual revenue run rate and claims a Q1 $500,000 sales pipeline.

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Piper

Nerdy science-loving kids who have interests in how electronic components work may also love games similar to Minecraft. Combine the two and you get Piper, a gamified PC assembly kit that allows users to navigate a video game and in doing so construct a PC.

The company boasts over $500k in revenue after selling over 2100 of the devices to buyers like Elon Musk who purchased several of the devices for his kids and their school.

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Sqoop

Sifting through loads of public data can be a tedious process. That’s why Sqoop aims to make it dead-simple for journalists to quickly search through court documents, SEC filings, patent filings and grants and other public data sites. Down the road, it will add tools for searching  trademarks, as well as FCC and FDA information.

One in three business reporters use Sqoop, its CEO said on stage at demo day. Month over month, Sqoop has seen 52% growth of registered reporters, with 80% of them using it once a week or more. Its business model: selling access to PR people looking to get their news in front of reporters.

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CodeUpStart

There seems to be a consensus that coding is a skill all young people should have. CodeUpStart teaches people how to code by building real products, like Kickstarter, Tinder, Pinterest and Product Hunt from concept to launch.

Since launching CodeUpStart, the company has seen 69% month over month growth in revenue, and is profitable, CodeUpStart Gillian Tee said on stage. This month, CodeUpStart hit $43,000 in revenue with just three courses offered. This year, the company plans to offer a total of 20 courses.

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RapChat

For those looking to unabashedly share their freestyle rapping skills with friends, RapChat offers the #mostdope avenue.

Co-founder Pat Gibson a.k.a. “P-Holla” came to the stage and pitched his rap creation and discovery platform with a particularly chill flow. The app, which already boasts 50 thousand monthly active users, allows users to send and receive freestyle raps that they’ve made with the app’s curated beats. Gibson said that over 2.5 million raps have been created through the app.

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