Today Dayn Wilberding and Becky Engel attended the PIE PDX Demo Day (#piedemo), where eight companies shared their business pitches with an audience of about 300 (according to our guesstimates and the PR folks at PIE). What a fantastic opportunity to see the Portland startup community alive and kicking! From the vibe in the room, it feels like our region’s venture community is awakening, ready to fuel the immense creative thinking and entrepreneurism in Portland. We couldn’t be more glad about this.
A couple cloud-based companies presented, including Cloudability, which helps companies monitor and manage their cloud spending; and Revisu, which facilitates digital review cycles via the cloud for creative work. Grady Britton has actually been a mentor to Revisu in parallel to their PIE experience, and today we were introduced as Revisu’s first agency customer. We’re proud to be a part of this company’s early product development — especially because we see huge potential in how we can plug Revisu into Basecamp to more easily facilitate approvals and revisions on our work (internally and with clients).
Becky’s drooling over next week’s launch of Spotsi, an app that curates travel stories, reviews and recommendations from experts and the socialsphere about a specific destination. Imagine visiting New York or London in the future and getting an insider’s guide to the city, curated by people who have similar interests to you. For example: check out their curated guide for Portland’s salt stores. Ah Portland.
Two other presenting companies are hoping to capitalize on a couple audience niches very popular in the city: athletes and pet owners. Athletepath is supported by W+K and has developed a digital platform to provide race results, sign-ups, and social interactions around a racing event. No more standing in the rain waiting for times to be posted on paper – nice. Stayhound is the AirBnB of pet sitters — through their service you can find people in your social circle who are trusted candidates to take care of your kitteh or dog while you’re away.
Mopix is hoping to capitalize on the demise of DVDs by creating a new app store for film and videos. If we understood it correctly, they are targeting both content creators and distributors to package up video, photos, directors’ cuts and any other multimedia that is associated with a piece of content and merchandize these apps to consumers. It was somewhat complicated model to grasp in the brief preso, but they definitely are poised to influence how we consume entertainment content.
If you’re one of those people who need something new to learn every day, you’re going to want to check out DailyPath. They’re riding the wave of personal development with their product that will build a community of people around you who have similar goals and objectives.
Arguably the most successful company presenting today was VendScreen. This is the most traditional product pitched today (they even had hardware!), but perhaps the most timely and smart. Here’s their deal: All those vending machines located around the country are going to have to start sharing nutritional information in the next year. VendScreen installs small displays on vending machines so this info can be displayed digitally. They can also share allergy info about products in the machine, ads for vendors, product details and other info on the screen. AND they allow payment via your PHONE. The product also allows operators to receive inventory and service alerts via the Android interface, thus reducing unnecessary service calls. Tight product, smart business plan, clear and timely audience need, highly relevant. No wonder they’ve already secured $12M in funding, and have already booked orders with two of the 100ish vending companies. We’re impressed.
Congrats to PIE GM Rick Turoczy and the other PIE folks on such a successful day. GB is so excited about what you’re doing, and can’t wait to support the efforts of your next class of startups.
UPDATE: if you’re interested in seeing the presentations from PIE Demo Day, check out their YouTube channel. Highly recommend. Enjoy!
ANOTHER UPDATE: today the founder of VendScreen published a fun/ inspiring story about how their impressive $12M round came to be. Love the friendly competition and motivation from their fellow PIE members. Butterfly effect indeed.