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  • David Vogt 3:23 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: Mingle,   

    A venture in global language learning;  

    Continue reading Mingle Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Jonathan 7:53 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. It isn’t clear what is unique about Mingle or how it would change the world.

      After watching the CEO’s pitch, I am uncertain as to what the exact product that Mingle is selling. It appears to be a global language learning tool that allows students to learn online, but it fails to distinguish itself from other language products (ie. Rosetta Stone). It appears that the CEO is competent and mature and that there is some vision but it isn’t obvious in this short pitch.

      It is clear that Mingle is targeting the global market but they were unable to describe who their target market was. In addition, no innovative advantages were provided over traditional programs that may be offline in nature. There was no request for specific funding nor how much return an investor would.

      There is a vision in this product but it wasn’t clear to me as an EVA what it was.

    • adi 2:51 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. The CEO fails to convey the exact nature of
      what she is selling. Is it an e-commerce course or a language course? She does not describe the problem she is addressing, and as a result the solution is not clear. In addition, there’s no mention of how this product is different from what is out there, nor what the market size and share is, or how potential consumers will be reached. In short, her venture concept is not clear. As an EVA, I would not invest in it.

    • joeltremblay 2:53 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I agree with Jonathan. She needs to make it clear exactly what makes her service better than the hundreds, if not thousands of translation services already in existence. After all Translation is one of the oldest skills in existence and her idea is novel, but she doesn’t take pains to differentiate herself from the crowd.

      They don’t describe the target market beyond the idea that all people could use help understanding different languages, and unfortunately as mentioned before, don’t explain how they intend their service to be different and more successful than other services. Because heavyweights like Google play in that arena, it might behoove her to attempt any differentiation.

    • joeltremblay 6:16 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      NO, I would not invest in this venture

    • Mike Rae 12:01 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture.
      Joel, jon and adel, I agree with you as you have covered most of my criticisms. She even asks the question ‘what makes myngle different?’ and her answer was that it brings something traditional (education) to the masses. This seems like the first minute of a longer pitch rather than an elevator pitch. It also feels like it is about 10 years too late.

    • C. Ranson 4:16 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. I agree that it is unclear as to what the venture represents. The founder does mention that Mingle will represent global language learning and that her venture concept is the next step in commerce and targeting the global market, how? It is also unclear how Mingle will make a difference in the world as stated by the founder. Not sure how her venture differs from others and what makes it unique from others ventures and successful.

    • Ranvir 11:10 am on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture as it is not clear what Mingle is (product or service) and how and it blends languages and commerce to ‘make the difference’. She briefly mentions that Mingle would bring traditional education to the masses and allow students to study anytime, anywhere. Seems to align with the generic definition if eLearning and sound a bit vague. The pitch fails to clarify the problem area or market gap and advise how the product/ service will resolve that.

    • coralk 3:02 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Although the presenter is passionate about what she is presenting, I was not moved to invest in her venture for the following reasons:
      • The pitch was overly-emotional and repetitive
      • The presenter didn’t explain the product – she just said that it would bring education to the whole world but she didn’t explain what it is or how it would do this
      • She did not outline the potential market for this product – is it for K-12, college, the general public? Would it sell to institutions (B2B) or to individual consumers (B2C)?

      It is a shame because I looked up the website after the pitch, and the company is very interesting. They have won several awards and they have many well known corporate clients. It is an interesting idea, and if you would like to know what they do (since the pitch didn’t really tell us), this is from their website:
      Myngle is a fully integrated and global language learning school, amongst the first players to deliver professional one-on-one language tutoring over the net, and now the global leader in its segment.
      Myngle is transforming traditional language education by offering hundreds of professional online teachers and courses in a wide variety of languages. Our fully integrated virtual classroom provides students with an interactive, efficient and convenient way of learning or improving a language.

    • jenbarker 12:32 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. Although I like how she is passionate about making a difference, the completeness of her argument just isn’t there. She does provide some information on how there is a market for her company, as well as how it is different than others but needs to explain further. She tries to describe how users around the world can take advantage of her product but I think due to her strong accent which makes it difficult to fully comprehend, it would have been beneficial for her to use a few key slides with some text. This would have helped to convey the explanation of what the product is. I also don’t know who she is marketing too. What is her target audience? I assume it is for adults but coud it also be for children?

      I think this product has some potential but based simply on the pitch I would vote no.

    • Patrick Pichette 12:57 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture based on this pitch alone. I would likely need additional information to better understand the business model being pursued. I honestly have no idea what she was even offering as a product during that pitch other than it was a communication related product that allows students to learn anywhere and at anytime. There does appear to be some potential so I may likely ask for additional information but the pitch was not very effective.

    • pcollins 4:05 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Reflecting the sentiments of my classmates, I wouldn’t invest in Mingle. I could not easily distinguish what set it apart from all of the other online language learning tools (babble/speakfish/rosetta). Apart from that I found her pitch to be ultra scripted, and even though she appears to be a competent individual the idea that she was passionate about her product and it’s potential did not come through in her pitch.

    • kstackhouse 11:42 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture based on this pitch. There were a lot of questions left in my mind after viewing. As an EVA I was not sure of: What I would be asked to contribute, what the market competition looked like, I needed more information on the CEO and her team? There were just too many things not mentioned in gaining my trust and support.

    • bryan 2:18 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. The CEO of this company is extremely vague and nondescript with regards to what exactly mingle really does.

      The CEO is very unclear about how they will bring this language learning people? It appears as though she’s trying to sell the idea of learning languages over the Internet but she really doesn’t tell us how she can do that. The CEO offers very little in regards to specifics of how she will develop, market, and distribute the learning tool mingle. We know very little from her YouTube presentation about any sort of competitive edge or even a venture plan at all. The CEO doesn’t even specifically state what her market audiences. As an EVA, I would not consider investing at this time.

    • jameschen 5:27 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. The presentation is vague because no solid evidence is provided to allow an investor to have a basic understanding of what the venture has to offer. The presenter does not identify the market gap or problem. The only basis for starting this venture is the dream that the presenter has. The presentation does not explain what the product is other than something that will “bring traditional education to the mass online world.” The only reference to the differentiation of the venture is “I believe anybody can make a difference, and Mingle is my difference.”

  • David Vogt 3:23 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: , Real Simple Edu   

    A venture about apps for education:

    Continue reading Real Simple Edu Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • adi 3:04 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. According to David Shore
      Perfecting Your Pitch, a good pitch should indicate (1) what the problem is; (2) what the product does to solve it; (3) who it’s going to solve the problem for, and (4) why people will buy it. This pitch only addresses number 3, but all the rest is not clear. David Shore also advises against slides with too much text, or text that the actual person is reading, it distracts and makes it difficult to follow. For these reasons, this pitch was not at all clear, and I would not invest in it.

    • Peggy Lawson 5:12 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I agree adelpaso, but I felt the strongest point was 4 as he did briefly mention that they had some history of success and would thus make money for his buyers, although he did broadly indicate the potential customers. There was very little indication of what the product actually was or did – “educational app” is pretty broad! I would definitely not invest based on this pitch.

    • manny 11:18 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture based on the information that was given and the lack of confidence through which it was delivered. Upon the introduction, it was very confusing as to what the product was. Am I investing in an educational app development company which designs different apps for use in schools, colleges and businesses or is it a single app that caters to all three. Furthermore, the educational app marketplace is very competitive, what innovative advantage does this company have over others that could maintain its sustainability. The presentation detracts from the message and a demo of the app would have been more suitable. The presenters tone lacks excitement and confidence which may parallel the product in question. Having a 150,000 paying customers is a great start but I don’t see the potential growth and sustainability along with an exit strategy. Based on this presentation, I would not be willing to part with my money. The product may have huge potential, but it wasn’t conveyed in this lackluster presentation.

      • jenbarker 10:52 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Manny, you make some great points. I relate this back to my experience as an educator. When we plan lessons we are told that great lessons include a hook at the beginning that instill excitement in our children and hook them in, ultimately engaging them. I found this pitch boring. When I think of all the outstanding apps in education, they excite me and this pitch could have capitalized on the enthusiasm that already exists in this market.

        • manny 7:38 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Hi Jen, I couldn’t agree with you more! I think that the elevator pitch itself needs to capture the audiences attention in the first couple of seconds or you have lost them completely. A hook is imperative in this scenario as you only have about a minute to pitch your venture. From an EVA/Investors standpoint, they may go through a dozen or so of these pitches a day and quite frankly, this one did not stand out at all and is easily forgettable.

      • kstackhouse 11:48 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree with you Manny. It is is difficult to imagine that the company would be hard pressed to cater to all three levels of education. Also, as you mention his presentation was not engaging enough to really grab on to the attention of an EVA. They would probably stop listening pretty quickly. Unfortunately that seems to be the way the business works. It is like a resume, you might have tons of experience but if you have not polished the resume HR people might not even look at it closely enough to find out.

    • jenniferschubertubc 4:01 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It is unclear whether or not this is the CEO talking about his product. The speaker in this pitch is quite an underwhelming presenter. He speaks in an extremely even tone, without a bit of excitement or confidence evident. From this pitch, it is unclear if the CEO has amassed the team and resources needed for success.

      The world of the app is continually growing. Custom courses are evolving and being marketed to teach would be developers the skills to take their products from idea to production at a steady rate (at least from what I’ve seen in the US and in London). One thing I find disconcerting about this pitch is just how unspecific it is. It talks about the apps in a very general fashion, but they, nor their capabilities, features, etc., are ever shown. With new and improved apps being released every day, competition is on the rise; therefore I do not find the idea particularly original.

      As I mentioned in my review of the Smugmug pitch, I believe that the market size for this product would be a factor that would need constant re-evaluation. With the accessibility of smartphone apps in many different fields, including education, the market size will undoubtedly grow, but will this product be able to keep up with the competition? Also, current numbers as well as projections would need to be reviewed before a sound judgment about success in revenue could be gauged.

      I did not hear mention of anything specific to their product that would make it any different than what may already exist out on the market currently. The presenter only mentioned what sort of people buy the apps and the funding that they currently have.

      The presentation did include a slide on business success, showing that the project is Angel Funded, cash-flow positive, has 150,000+ paid customers, and has 3 revenue sources (owned and operated, co-branding, and licensing). I still see the overall pitch as being too vague to consider serious investment. Couple that with the monotone presentation, and, as they say on Shark Tank, “I am out.” I would NOT choose to invest in Real Simple Edu (based on this pitch).

    • Patrick Pichette 1:00 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture based on the pitch alone. Once again, I would require additional information in order to understand the product being offered. At this point, I feel the only real knowledge I have is that they offer apps that can be used on multiple devices. How this is leveraged to solve a particular problem is not really attacked so I can’t commit funds without additional details.

    • bryan 2:36 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. The CEO doesn’t even really introduce himself or offer any of his credentials, expertise, or experience they would make the confident in his competence running a venture that I would invest my personal money in. What competitive edge or niche market Is simple EDU trying to target? The CEO tells us he has 150,000 customers but doesn’t tell us if their one time customers or repeat patrons of his company. The CEO doesn’t offer any focused specifics on what the marketing plan is as a company or what their venture plan is. This market pitch fails to offer short-term, medium-term, or long-term projections or goals with regards to profit, cash flow, or market capitalization.

      What sort of return could and investor expect and how long is the predicted timeframe to acquire this return? At this point there are way too many questions than there are answers that I would not be prepared to invest. This pitch lacks a clear message or even a semblance of why someone would give them their hard-earned money.

    • jameschen 5:26 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. The pitch does not identify what the product actually is, what the market gap/problem the product addresses, and the solution it provides. No references about the team, competition, the ask and the return are made. The presenter, however, does provide some detail about the differentiation and marketing aspects of the venture but nothing solid enough to explain what the investor would be investing in.

  • David Vogt 3:22 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: Dybuster,   

    A neural technologies approach to dyslexia:

    Continue reading Dybuster Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Colin 7:51 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes I would invest in Dybuster but only with further research into their claims, research and the software. Christian Vogeli gave a good presentation as he presented the problem with current treatments of dyslexia which are inefficiency and cost (pain point). His solution is a program that works with individuals to reduce their writing errors and can be integrated into school programs or for use at home. He validates his claim with statistics of how his program reduces writing errors by 33% compared to 5% with no training. These numbers seems consistent with what I would expect from such a program. The main reason I choose to invest is the marketing and specifically the target markets for this product. In addition to schools I believe parents looking out for the welfare of their children will be the main purchasers and the easiest market to attract and sell to. If they see an alternative to expensive therapy I believe they would definitely try this product. Christian speaks with confidence but I am not completely won over as he does not state his credentials or background in relation to his product. No ask or return were mentioned but I believe that would require further discussions. Overall I believe that Dybuster could be a viable product.

    • lullings 2:54 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Is it a viable product? we have no idea what the product is. Is it web based, does it require hardware or is it just software. What are the contact times needed to achieve the 33% reduction in error?

      A good pitch but lacks the depth which I would need to be able to invest. He has 22,000 users and initial investments – what does he value the company at the moment. As in what price per 1% of the company is he offering and how much is he looking for.

      He is looking to expand internationally. Is there a plan for that, is he looking to the benelux countries to expand to or is he looking to greater markets like Asia and North America?

      He is confident – he has a good product – I have more questions than answers unfortunately.

      • tomwhyte1 12:43 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree that there are questions that need to be answered. However, if we just view this as an elevator pitch, has he done enough to want us to ask these questions? Or to be interested enough in the answers that may or may not be given?

        For myself, the questions you have raised are important. I also wonder, how easily can the software be adapted to various languages and dialects? What markets are thy specifically focusing on for their expansion? What will this cost? And, for myself, I am interested in hearing more.

        Thoughts?

      • kstackhouse 11:53 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Great questions, Lullings. He does seem to know the content is more engaging than the first two presentations. Would we view this one differently otherwise.

        There is a plan and a history. He talks about revenues and growth which then leads to why he is talking to this audience. I think I would need to know about the questions you raised before investing…but I think there is enough information to invite him for a Venture Pitch to hear more and to be able to ask the questions necessary.

    • jkotler 1:43 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes I would invest in Dybuster because Christian Vogeli, the CEO and founder was quite compelling in presenting the venture concept. More specifically, he first clearly identified the paint point by explaining what dyslexia is and how it negatively affects their learning. Then he presented a direct viable solution to the problem with relevant supporting data, such as a 33% improvement rate in writing, and in doing so differentiated Dybuster from competitors by explaining how they are inefficient and expensive. In addition, Vogeli expressed other benefits like working independent of age and language as well asthe potential use for people with dementia, which allude to its marketability and further expansion.

      In considering the venture plan, there is confidence in its low cost, and that they have already secured patents, have a current success rate in Switzerland with 20,000 users and revenue reaching approximately 1 million Swiss francs. Therefore with this data in mind, the possibility for its expansion into a more international market seems favorable despite the lack of information in this pitch on how exactly they plan to move to such a market (which could always be requested).

      Finally, in regards to Vogeli’s credibility, while it would have been better to learn more about his credentials and his team, he appeared confident and very knowledgeable thereby convincing me he does possess the necessary capability.

      • tomwhyte1 12:48 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree with your statements, however upon reading your analysis, I was reminded that there are different levels of dyslexia, therefore, is this software appropriate for them all. Secondly, specific types of dyslexia are actually beneficial, some rocket scientists have dyslexia.

        Therefore, on the surface, this product seems like a good idea. However, upon reflection, are we forcing the student to conform to the traditional practices of school, or should education explore ways to meet the student where they are at? Which of these might Dybusters do? For myself, the name makes me feel they are trying to remove dyslexia from the student…

        Thoughts?

    • tomwhyte1 12:11 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Dybuster’s CEO and Founder, Christian Vogeli, through software created with an understanding of Neural Psychology and Computer Science, attempts to improve the reading and writing abilities of those individuals with Dyslexia. Even though, I can add nothing more to the success of this venture, other than a cash infusion, I would still invest in this venture, mainly for the simple fact that the CEO seems genuinely interested in improving the lives of those with Dyslexia. From a financial perspective, I would also invest in this venture, as the Dybuster software claims to provide a 33% improvement in an individuals ability to read and write, through a lost cost solution, where as other attempts to address this concern, are intensely individualistic and expensive, but ultimately ineffective. Furthermore, the market size for Dybusters is significant, as10% of the worlds population has Dyslexia, and this product can be used in schools, private therapists, at home, or for those involved in self-studies. Furthermore, Dybusters has positioned themselves to increase their market share, as the software will soon increase its focus to include Dyscalculia and Adult Dementia. A market share that is also protected by its current patent and future patents. My only real concern with Dybusters is as a potential investor, I am unaware of how this service is being marketed, or where to obtain this software, or how much would be required for an initial investment, and what my potential return on this investment would entail.

      • pcollins 5:22 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Tom,
        Did you find that you questioned the validity of the results against other more traditional methods of treatment?
        PC

        • tomwhyte1 8:36 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I had to review that portion of the presentation again, and how I am interpreting the information, is that Dybusters use improves writing/reading by 33% when compared to “No Training” (for that is what the slide says). Therefore, I wonder what the results are for individual training, or other similar services.

          Nice catch.

    • Pat A Son 1:01 am on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      YES, I would invest in this venture
      First the CEO is definitely on top of his game he has done his homework and overcame his limited English skills to make compelling case for one to buy into his venture.
      After defining dyslexia and establishing the percentage of the population that suffers from it he goes on to show how the current approach to treating the disorder is expensive and ineffective. He then uses statistical data to show how his product is better. So it is clear that he has identified his pain point and produced an original and viable solution in the form of Dybuster.
      By pointing out that over 50 million people in English speaking Germany alone are dyslexic he has shown that there potentially a large market for Dybuster to leverage. By offering a cheaper but effective solution to the competition that can be used by schools, therapist and students can use on their own gives his product the competitive edge. This is further extended by the fact the product transcends age, language and can be used for treating two other disorders. The product seems to be mature enough for the market with the success it is enjoying now. The fact that returning customers increase their licence suggest that it has the potential for sustainable growth over time.

    • Patrick Pichette 1:10 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This venture appears to have some potential. I’m unsure if I would invest in this venture at first glance but my attention was definitely maintained throughout most of his pitch. The CEO provided a clear problem being solved, provided insight on the target market and potential user base, indicated some differentiation compared to current solutions being offered, and showed promise in maintaining the user base through a patent held and patent pending. If the numbers presented and the patents demonstrate a viable business model that can’t be copied easily, I would likely invest in this venture.

      • tomwhyte1 3:31 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I have thought about the patents. In North America, it is good business practice to have patents registered in as many countries as possible, not just one. Therefore, I wonder, how global are these patents? If limited, the prospects of the company is equally, if not more, limited.

        Thoughts?

        • Patrick Pichette 8:24 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I agree about the requirement for global patents. Especially when it comes to a solution where the target market is limited locally but large enough from a global perspective. If the patent is only held in his country, then the venture gains additional risk if he is unable to secure the same patents in other countries. I find this pitch one that promises a lot but may fail to deliver. It would require quite a bit of digging to verify the viability of the business on a global scale.

          • tomwhyte1 7:25 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            Furthermore, if global patents are an issue, significant capital will be constantly needed to fight potential patent issues in other countries, thereby reducing potential profit, and future viability of the country.

            Might it be better, if the patent exists, to license it out to major companies?

            Thoughts?

      • jameschen 6:23 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I also wonder about the patent issue, because from the presentation there is only one patent pending in addition to the one that they company already has. But I think it is best practice to start little and expand with solid footing.

        • tomwhyte1 7:27 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I agree to start the company small, but not the number of patents. The more intellectual property one company holds, the better positioned they are in the market place, and better positioned they are to expand their company down the road.

          Thoughts?

          • jameschen 10:19 pm on September 29, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            Sorry for the late response, tomwhyte1. Your point about patents is very valid, but in my opinion such patents would only be useful if the company intends to sell the patented product in those particular countries. I think patents also expire after a certain time period. But if one has plans and enough funds to do so then I don’t see why not 🙂

            • tomwhyte1 11:25 pm on September 29, 2012

              Yes, it is important to remember that patents do have an expiry date. However, if Dybuster’s is as great as the CEO says it is, and by having limited patents in one country, what stops another country from making a similar product, lets say in North America…

              Thoughts?

    • pcollins 5:16 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      So many questions! And maybe that’s an integral part of how this pitch is being presented. They leave you wanting more – Specifically perhaps this works with certain personality types. It certainly worked for me. I felt the gentleman presenting did a very good job of identifying the market and the problem that is addressed by dybuster…. namely the cost effectiveness of a product that can be used at home and in school eliminating the cost of one on one therapist time. I did not find the details of the charts effective or appropriate representation of the products effectiveness. I noticed the absence of any mention of a competitor’s product. Perhaps they don’t exist. I would invest in this venture.

    • melissaayers 8:46 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      YES, I would invest in this venture.

      While on first run through of the pitch I based this yes on mainly gut feeling on the confidence of the speaker and his delivery etc I think after I have watched it a few more times I have more a more rational perspective.

      The speaker clearly defines the pain point or market need for this product as well as how it has already been tested and successful in one market. Also how it can be differentiated in terms of cost and availability to traditional therapies. He also identifies that some current customers return and increase their licensing quotas; this is a sign of a good product I believe that meets a real need.

      There seems to be the potential of a reasonable size market for this product internationally of his claims are true. Also in terms of business strategy they are also leveraging their knowledge and experience and developing similar products for other applications such as dementia.
      As Colin mentioned, I also feel (depending on the price point of the product which unfortunately was not mentioned in the pitch) that the customers could be the parents as well as schools and therapists. This gives a wider customer base than if it were just for schools/therapists.
      I found the pitch did leave me with many questions as well. A question others asked related to patent – is their patent just for Switzerland? Or the EU? Or worldwide? How easy would it be to copy/clone the product in other markets? Which market(s) are they going to attempt to enter next? Will they need to modify the product for different markets/culture/languages or can it be delivered as is?

      Additionally as the product is already released and being used it would have been nice to have a brief live demo of how it works to understand the product a bit better.

      In conclusion however despite al l my questions, from this pitch I would definitely be interested to find out more about this product and their business strategy and plan for expansion.

    • jameschen 6:17 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this venture if the business plan provides a viable investment strategy. The market gap/problem (inefficient system, high cost for customers to attain service due to lack of service providers) is met by the unique selling point of the product (“small costs, efficient, always available”). The solution of the product is backed by research study. The provision of information on the proof of concept for additional applications, patents, current investments, grants, revenues, and users increase the reliability of the company in terms of fulfillment.

    • visramn 7:44 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Dybuster
      Yes, I would invest in Dybuster. Christian Vogeli was very confident and did a good job of enthusiastically talking about the product. He had good background information that helped to explain the need for this type of product. He made it seem like the product was a necessity and was something that was needed in a society that lacked the capabilities to address the needs conveyed with the pre-existing avenues. This product would be advantageous because it caters to a need in society that has not been taken care of fully as of yet. It reaches out to a market that has not been tapped into with more technical innovative flexible means.
      The presenter showed factual and statistical information of success with the product. He also outlined how it is a cost efficient product that can be used across the world due to its flexibility. He went on to talk about future possibilities for the product as well as a list of potential areas for future marketing for the product. The product seems to be pretty easily accessible and versatile. It seems like a realistic venture that could be implemented fairly easily if the right resources are in place. The presenter had a clear vision and a specialized group who the product is catered to.
      The only issue that I thought was evident in this video was that the presenter did not really explain how the product is used or how it works. I would need some further information about the technicalities of this product to feel more comfortable in investing it.
      I think the presenter was confidence and that he made a strong argument by explaining the need of the product as a foundation to his argument. I felt this drew me in. I do not think this product would require me to add money but maybe I would be able to use my pre-existing knowledge and the knowledge of other educators who have dealt with students with dyslexia to help to understand and enhance this type of product further.

  • David Vogt 3:22 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: Empowered Learning,   

    A better way to teach high school math:

    Continue reading Empowered Learning Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Peggy Lawson 5:20 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I felt as if this venture has potential. While about 3x too long for a standard elevator pitch, the four key features of a good pitch (David Shore, BCIC New Ventures) were addressed – (1) the problem you are trying to solve (from several customer vantage points), (2) what are you doing to solve the problem, (3) who are you solving it for, and (4) value/money proposition. The salesman had some sizzle without being irritating. The slide deck helped tell the story without being text heavy or overly distracting.

      • jhodi 9:08 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Peggy,

        I also thought that the pitch itself hit a lot of the key features of a good pitch. It was very informative about why this technology is useful, the features of the technology, and their asking price and potential for return. However, what this pitch lacked for me was a good description of why this specific technology is better than any other technology that is similar. I would have liked to know why they think this approach is better than that of others. As well, I just did not like the concept of the technology as it applied to math, but that is from the viewpoint of an educator.

        Jhodi

    • jhodi 9:03 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      NO, I would not invest in this venture.
      This pitch claims to address the consistent problems in education dealing with wasted time teachers spend on paperwork and the disconnect in communication between teachers and parents. The solution to this problem is ‘Empowered Learning’, which pretty much amounts to an online tool that students use to complete their math homework that marks and gives feedback to students immediately. By doing so, problems areas can be addressed and ‘various forms of help’ can be provided. The claimed goal is for students to achieve 100% on their homework each night. Parents can monitor these results from home and track their child’s progress. This also releases the teacher from the administrative tasks and allows them time to focus on individual students. The implementation of this technology into the classroom is in theory seamless- no curriculum changes or teacher training. They are looking for $250 000 to launch a pilot that they will receive feedback from to modify the product and then launch the product.
      Overall, at first glance, the pitch seems to have covered quite a few key bases. From an educator’s standpoint, I feel like their pain point is valid; there is some wasted time on paperwork and a disconnect between parents and teachers at times. However, where this pitch falls apart for me is in the solution. I chose to evaluate this pitch because it claimed to be relevant to high school mathematics, which is what I teach. To me, it is not good enough for students to know whether they got a question right or not, it is important for me that they can understand the process and if they get a question wrong, go back and reflect on why. This pitch was very unclear on the ‘various forms of help’ that it would provide to students should they get a question wrong. I have found that it is especially hard for students to show their math work entirely on a computer and therefore, I am skeptical about the ability of this program to give adequate feedback. Furthermore, it is important for parents to see results such as this, but it is also important for them to see classroom results, which leaves me wondering how this program interacts with progress in the classroom and showing parents at home. The next part where the pitch started to fall apart for me was the lack of comparison to other tools similar to this one, of which there are lots of similar tools. This pitch left me wondering why is this product so much better than the others? Lastly, the pitch failed to give a decisive timeline on return for me as an investor. The return is entirely contingent on how well the pilot performs. What if nobody likes the technology and there are very few sales? With everything else in mind, this is not a technology that I look at and think, ‘wow’, this is very interesting and useful with a wide range of applications. Therefore, I would not invest in this technology.

    • Ranvir 8:39 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture as there are open source and commercial tools available today that can provide the functionality at fraction of the cost. Developing another application from ground up to provide functionality that is mostly available in many LMS systems doesn’t seem to make sense. It would make more sense to extend an existing application or leverage a business intelligence tool to extract analytics rather than spend $250,000 to design a new application. The pitch doesn’t clarify gaps that a competitor is unable to fulfill. Moreover, it is not clear how the application specifically helps students to learn Math better.
      The venture pitch is quite long and shows planned features of the application which is not necessary at the initial stage. The pitch mentions target market for math in US is $175 million based on which source? The marketing aspect of the product is missing. Finally, how and when will the venture get a break even or provide return to investor is not mentioned.

      • jameschen 6:52 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree with your points on the problems found in this pitch. The numbers seem unrealistic because no sources are provided, and the lack of explaining exactly how this product differs from an updated version of Skinner’s teaching machine, for example, raises some red flags.

    • Suhayl Patel 10:15 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture. Right off the bat, I am one who enjoys listening to new ideas, but only by people whom I am able to see. I usually tune out when it’s done through pictures, graphs, etc. In this pitch, the entire pitch was done like that and I wasn’t able to actually see the person for even a short period of time as he made his pitch.

      I rated all four categories rather low

      Ceo-Team: Althought he might have had a background in large/small scale software projects, there wasn’t much said about his team. And I don’t think this would be a venture that an be done solo.

      Veture Concept: I don’t believe this idea is new and original. A lot of (mathematics) textbook publishers (person, mcgraw hill) have online tools that do the same thing: grade, help, assess, keep track, etc of progress. Even Khan Academy has many of these features and it’s user-friendly and effective.

      Marketing: They don’t have the competitive edge to go against the likes of the large publishers or Khan Kcademy (which partners with MS)

      Venture Plan: Ther is nothing mentioned about the venture plan which makes me even more reluctant to invest in this.

    • Patrick Pichette 8:33 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture. There are too many alternatives that compete directly with this type of offering and the pitch fails to address how they differentiate themselves from these other popular solutions. On that point alone, there is no chance that I would even contemplate getting additional information as that should have been addressed in his pitch to begin with (especially since it was 3 mins long).

    • sophiabb 5:13 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. The pitched failed in endear credibility due to a failure to differentiate itself, no marketing strategy, insubstantial financials and lack of a leadership skills.
      The pitch highlighted Empowered Learning as a unique math teaching/learning web based software solution in the high school math market. Is it really unique? This market is proliferated with many competitors who offer same or similar “unique” solutions. The pitch failed to identify how Empowered Learning will really differentiate itself in this market; its unique selling proposition was no different from software that are currently on the market being offered, for example MathTutor and many publishing companies such as Pearson.
      The pitch indicated a fairly large US market of $175 million. With a very dotted competitor field, the pitch failed to deliver a marketing strategy of how it would penetrate and secure market space/share.
      The pitch identified an ask of $250,000 to pilot, build, measure and adjust. As an investor, I cannot help but wonder is this figure was just pulled from the air. The pitch failed to substantiate the financial need for the ask. It also failed to identify the return on investment.
      The team seemed to the CEO only. The CEO might be able to carry a heavy load to pilot, build, measure and adjust. For the company assure the possibility of a going concern, other leadership skills are needed, such as skills in marketing.

  • David Vogt 3:22 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: Elementeo,   

    Have some fun while learning chemistry:

    Continue reading Elementeo Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Jonathan 7:40 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      YES, I would invest in this venture. This young CEO clearly has the enthusiasm and charisma to market this product effecitvely to his peers (his target audience). He has clearly developed a product that is original and feasible in the Elementary and Middle schools. As it is similar to many of the card games (ie. Magic, Pokemon and YuGiOh) the educational market would definitely benefit from a product like this.

      While it is clear that the CEO has the passion, it isn’t clear how he is going to deploy and market his product other than through his website and making more decks.

      This seems like a fairly safe venture to invest in but would require some guidance for the young CEO as he brings his product into the real world. It does appear that additional information and reserach is required as to whether a game like this would work with students using test groups but the energy is compelling from this individual. The game must be compelling enough. That being said the idea is original and could move forward successfully.

      As a side note, after watching a few I was most compelled by this one. I had to take a step back to figure out if I was just taken back by his youth and energy. I looked into it and found an older version of him and that it’s clear his venture moved forward. Earlier in the year he even released an iPhone app to complement Elementeo. Neat idea and I couldnt’ be happier to see this in real life!

      Check him out on TEDx 4 years later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxLfkvl6f0I

      http://www.elementeo.com

    • Colin 8:25 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in Elementeo but it was not an easy decision. I do like the enthusiasm and creativity of the CEO, Anshul. He is obviously working hard designing and trying to be innovative with his product but my main problem comes with the product’s marketability. I think that this game can help students learn about chemistry but really the target market is students who take chemistry and like playing card games. He has expanded into an app as well but I don’t think there is a real large market segment for this product even with an app. In addition he was asking for $100,000 which I don’t see being returned too quickly. I thought that some teachers may buy it for a class but I don’t think many parents would buy it for their children as it seems more of a game than an educational tool. Students would only buy it and spend the countless hours learning the game if they are really into card games. Too small a market segment so no I would not invest in Elementeo.

      • Jonathan 8:29 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Just saw your reply and then I had doubts about my thoughts! I wonder if I’m thinking more as a teacher about the situation than an EVA. It was tough to separate the two while I was thinking about it. He does ask for a lot of money Colin to produce some cards. Perhaps he would be better off asking for a lower amount so that he could conduct a test group.

        Proper marketing would definitely be needed to convince the parents but if it is being promoted by teachers than it could be successful. Although as I write this, I can see why it may be a while for the return and a somewhat risky investment!

    • cunnian 9:45 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. While the CEO’s enthusiasm and confidence are great and genuine, he is asking for a HUGE sum of money in order to “…print many decks…” (the vague nature of this does not inspire much confidence). While educational games can sell, an expectation of 1 million in the next year is unrealistic. Were the game electronic and something that an individual player could play (increasing the potential market), he might have a better shot. His market would be very small at best and this genre of card-based fantasy game already exists (like Magic cards) and, I would argue, offers a storyline that most potential buyers would find richer and more engaging. Another point is that this product does not necessarily satisfy a need. While there are certainly students who struggle with chemistry, I would suggest that there is a much greater demand for a math-related game. Furthermore, if this is to be marketed as an educational game, then there needs to be a closer examination of potential buyers. Nuclear reactions are typically not encountered until upper-level science courses (grade 10+)… would this age group be likely to buy such a product? I’m inclined to say no.

      • Lisa Nevoral 8:06 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I also think that the CEO’s product does not meet the needs of his consumer. Some of the concepts of chemistry that he is explaining seems a bit to advanced for the level of students that would enjoy playing with cards. I think he would be better off if he created a game that could be downloaded as an application. He could still have the same questions and diagrams, but this could then be more interactive game and have cool backgrounds to capture the attention of his buyers.

    • Eva Ziemsen 2:15 pm on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Sadly, I would not invest in Elementeo as it stands.

      I realize this is a business analysis and while I very much appreciate this CEO’s incredible enthusiasm and original idea, there is not enough credibility evident in the pitch. He states that the goal is to inject fun into the education of chemistry and “Print out many decks and distribute around the world.” He is asking for a large sum of $100,000. I’d like to know how many decks this would buy and what the projected profits would be.

      Ideally, he would first state that existing chemistry education is not effective, because it is not fun and cannot be used at home as a game. The reality of teachers using a card game is class is potentially low, given the set curriculum. Therefore, this card game would require a ‘teaching kit’ in order to be integrated into a course. If this is simply a game for leisure, then perhaps it has more potential. However, I do think the demographic is therefore small. In the end, I do not know enough about this market to know if this would be profitable. Therefore, I would need more information from the pitch.

      I do believe this CEO has what it takes to refine this pitch and sell the game, perhaps, as someone else stated, as an APP, rather than a card game. This could reduce the start up costs significantly and would potentially lead to a less risky investment. Of course, if this young CEO was accompanied by a more experienced individual and refined his pitch for an app version, I would sincerely reconsider my decision.

      Eva

    • manny 11:36 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in Elementeo for the following reasons. First, It is an extremely niche and competitive market which requires a well thought out exit strategy. The ultimate goal here would be for a large toy production and distribution company to take over the patent. The CEO is extremely enthusiastic but currently provides no details of any sales and is seeking a 100k investment. With no sales, you cannot even put a valuation on this company. Had the CEO already produced a million in sales I would have strongly reconsidered. Secondly, I do not see the educational benefits that this card game offers. The logo of create, combat, and conquer sounds like a territorial game whereas words such as create, compounds, etc… could have made the connection with Chemistry. As an elevator pitch it did raise some interest and I would welcome a venture pitch in which I could maybe see a demonstration of the game. However, based on this pitch, it is simply too risky and I would not invest my money.
      Manny

    • C. Ranson 8:28 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in Elementeo based on the information presented by Kimberley Elsback. I would be concerned about the age of the CEO and how much experience he has and how this would impact on the sustainabiltiy of his company. As the viewer I have categorized him in the few minutes of viewing his pitch. Educational games are a very competitive market and how is this game going to solve a problem in learning, it might but he didn’t focus on this apsect, and how would it improve a current issue in the educational environment. Although, I was impressed as the viewer with his enthusiam, ability to present his pitch and how he engaged the audience due to his age but his pitch requires further development. The ptich was lacking in the description of a problem, what it was going to do to solve the problem and how it would save money.

      Catherine

      • kstackhouse 12:03 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I was also concerned by the credibility of the CEO. While we can’t discredit someone because of their age, experience in the field of chemistry and education in this scenario are clearly limited. The only way an EVA could look at this venture more closely would be if the CEO had assembled a team of researchers and developers with the required experience to ensure that the vision of the young CEO was carried through in a way that would be profitable for the investor.

        • Patrick Pichette 12:20 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I’m not sure I agree with that comment completely. Yes, age can be a factor in determining whether the product can be carried out from start to finish but if the product or service offered has potential, I wouldn’t rule out investing on this basis alone. Potentially one of my requirements for investing would involve hiring a capable CEO to lead the company to profitability and determining the optimal route to success. Unfortunately, for this particular product, that would not be enough as I don’t think the product has enough potential to warrant any further investigation on my end.

    • manny 7:46 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Catherine, I can’t believe I overlooked one of the most obvious things in analyzing this pitch, the presenters age and lack of experience. As I have been looking through the list that we were given regarding the rationale for our analysis, I am beginning to think that it would be almost impossible to cover all criteria listed. In terms of identifying a problem and then posing a solution, one would think that this alone would take a few minutes alone. I am starting to think that a venture pitch would be more suitable for the given criteria. Thoughts? Ideas?
      Manny

      • Eva Ziemsen 12:21 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Manny, I agree with you, that it is almost impossible to cover all the criteria required to conclude whether a venture is viable or not, especially in an elevator pitch. I was torn about my analysis for both pitches, as I felt I did not have enough information. In one instance, I said yes, but in hindsight, I think it was unwise. Since I am in the film industry, I also base my reactions to these pitches on knowing that the premise of an elevator pitch is merely to get an investor interested. The real material follows in a more in-depth proposal. Eva

    • Patrick Pichette 8:44 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture although the concept does appear to be interesting. The target market is too small to have any chance of being profitable. The first question that came to my mind while viewing the pitch was “Who would purchase such a product?”. The only logical answer I could come up with was parents of children who happen to enjoy science and even then I’m not so sure that it would have much pull due to its limited scope. If given the chance, I would approach the CEO and recommend converting his board game to an online version that can be integrated to some form of online social gaming site which uses a business model that generates revenue on a pay-per-play model. It’s too bad though because he definitely has passion and has solved a very particular issue with a topic in science. It’s just far too limited in its scope to justify any purchases from an educator’s standpoint.

  • David Vogt 3:22 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: Learning Unlimited,   

    A university-school workshop program:

    Continue reading Learning Unlimited Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Doug Connery 7:28 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Venture pitch – Learning Unlimited

      No, I would not invest in Learning Unlimited as I do not know what Dan wants or needs through this pitch.

      This sounds like a great service – “leading a movement of College students to teach high school students to love learning” So I assume the problem they are solving is high school students lack of enthusiasm for learning. It is a great concept to inspire high school students by College students who may only be a few years their senior.

      Dan shows his enthusiasm and passion for the project so this helps the viewer to pay attention. He provides authority through his credentials as CEO, the large growth of the movement with students served and campus’s served, and the well-known Universities served. The video clips show the excitement by both the students and teachers.

      As a citizen, this pitch made me feel good as all stakeholders are benefiting: teachers, students, Colleges. But as an Educational Venture Analyst, it left me wondering what he wants other than to let me know this is a great cause through his infomercial.

      Doug.

      • Jenny Brown 3:02 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I am wondering if this was more of a general pitch (to provide general info about their product and spark interest) but if a longer venture pitch aimed at investors (the head of the colleges) would get to the business details that were lacking in this elevator pitch. Even on their website they only mention the topic of cost once. Like you say Doug, it’s nice that they are letting us know about this great cause but I really think that a look at a business plan would reveal how money is made (I didn’t notice that it was non-for-profit, I am assuming it isn’t). My guess is the college who signs up pays them a fee for their services.

    • C. Ranson 8:09 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in Learning Unlimited as Dan the CEO of this company is unclear about exactly what problem he is trying to address after viewing his pitch and exactly what the venture is. He is very enthusiastic and does mention credible schools that are involved already so this might spark some further investigating about his company. He does identify the target market but it is not clear as to how it will sovle a current issue and if this product will save money and improve learning. The visual aspect of the pitch did keep me interested as a viewer.
      Catherine

    • Jenny Brown 2:54 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture because as an investor I don’t understand how money would be made; details of the business plan would need to be reviewed.

      I though the pitch was well laid out. It addressed a need and solution for highschool students (as well as the college student leaders) to be more engaged and excited about learning. It provided concrete details on what they have done and where they are going. The only thing I found lacking in this pitch was that he didn’t say what the universities and colleges get in return. I am not familiar with how students choose which school they will go to but I would think that creating this sort of learning opportunity could hugely benefit the university. As the president of the university, I would be very interested in learning more about this venture.

      The presenter was credible and professional but I didn’t like the background as it reflected an old style of teaching, the use of a blackboard, which seemed to contradict the type of interactive learning they strive towards in their programs. It didn’t mention competition but it may provide a easier solution for the coordination of highschool student engagement than what is currently available in many colleges.

    • Patrick Pichette 8:50 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It is highly unlikely that I would invest in this venture as it is unclear to me what this product is offering. Based on the video alone, I believe they are offering services to setup a movement at each campus but if that’s the case, it is too easily duplicated and likely a limited lifespan for renewing members. However, Dan’s motivation and description of the movement gives me hope that there may be more than what was initially shown so I would likely request at least some additional details to get a better idea of what is being offered, what is being requested, and how profits will be generated.

      • kstackhouse 12:09 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree Patrick. I know of a few programs that are similar to these in our area. Day camps and after-school camps lead by university students with elementary. While the kids enjoy the camp, the program is dependent on enrollment and availability of school space to host the camps. I think the program here is more for social gain and providing university students with experience working with children rather than a money making venture?

  • David Vogt 3:21 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: Future Learning Finland,   

    A national-scaled intrapreneurial venture:

    Continue reading Future Learning Finland Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • stammik 12:50 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Future Learning Finland

      NO, I would not invest in this venture, for the following reasons.

      The CEO is not identified (perhaps it’s the presenter?) and the Team is very vaguely described as “the cream of the crop”, with no indication of where the 72 member public/private team has been drawn from, what expertise they bring to the organization or their roles.

      The Venture Concept is essentially unclear to me. The presenter states that Future Learning Finland is exporting “world class Finish educational solutions” but no indication is given as to exactly what solutions they will provide, beyond a mere mention of the five very broad service sectors they intend to target.

      The Market appears limited to India, which albeit is a very big market, but no actual indication of the size of the market within in India is provided. What they are selling, who they are selling it to and how I could make any money; I’m not sure.

      No Venture Plan is mentioned. The presenter states its a three year program, leaving little time to recoup any initial investment or better yet, make any profit.

      Finally, the presenter lacks enthusiasm and authority, which has resulted in a lack lustre pitch. I also find the slide deck too text heavy and the pacing too fast for the audience to read, if they could.

      If this is indeed the future of learning in Finland, based on this pitch, I’m concerned for them.

    • lullings 5:04 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Stammik I completely agree.

      I have spent some time in Finland and yes the people can be a little flat but this is no excuse for very poor presentation slides (they were text heavy with little or no value to the presentation) and the presenter (whoever she is and what her role is) ticked boxes of points she had to make but failed to give any validity to them.

      Sounded like this was a government initiative and she was just a drone from sector 7G drafted in to ‘deal’ with the presentation.

      Zero investment potential for me on this one.

    • stammik 10:32 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Your observation about how people in FInland can be a little flat at times is interesting.

      My father was born in Estonia and I feel I share his somewhat “stoic” personality, as I am sure other eastern European people might.

      In short, I’ll need to be quicker to remind myself in future, that the differences in terms of how cultures communicate and inherently present themsleves during pitches, should be taken into consideration.

    • Patrick Pichette 11:05 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have a hard time judging someone’s presentation skills when dealing with someone who is not speaking in their first language. In most cases, people using 2nd or 3rd languages for communication tend to be flatter by nature because it’s difficult to know which inflection is correct in that language so they play it a little safer by trying to be a bit flatter to avoid unnecessary attention to incorrect speech patterns. So, as much as I agree that her presentation was “flat”, I wouldn’t use that as a criteria for eliminating a potential candidate in that situation. If she was “flat” in her first language, then that definitely is a criteria to weigh on as it makes you wonder if there is any passion in the product or service they are trying to build.

      • jameschen 10:00 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        It would be interesting to hear her present in her native tongue, but I doubt there would be a difference. I would not invest in this company simply because I felt no excitement from the presenter whatsoever about the service/product that her company has to offer. This made me feel that she may not be too fond of the company herself, and brought doubt to the championship of the company’s leaders. The slides were packed with information in a font size too small for people to see other than those sitting in the first row. Sadly, this presentation brought attention to the company’s pitfalls rather than its investment opportunities.

    • kstackhouse 12:21 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest. As others have mentioned I was very surprised by the lack of engagement between the presenter and the audience. She could have been just as easily have been reading the phone book. I am still unclear as to exactly what it was she was trying to promote as a Venture. The learning opportunities that they planned to share weer listed but how this takes place was not clearly defined for me. I am not sure about marketability. What competition exists already? As an EVA I don’t know if there would be anything other than money that I could contribute and what my actual return would be and when I would receive it. To me there is not enough information to get an EVA excited about joining this venture.

  • David Vogt 3:21 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: MEgo,   

    Portable profiles for learners on the go:

    Continue reading MEgo Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Mike Rae 11:03 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in MeGo. I don’t believe that their ‘pain point’: having to create different profiles in different places is really something that people necessarily want rectified. Different Social Media platforms have different purposes. We all have profiles here on UBC blogs that are going to be more formal than our facebook pages. I have a yahoo and espn profile for playing fantasy sports with my friends, where swearing, drinking and debaucherous comments are encouraged. I think we change in every social setting to some degree and like the option of being able to do that with our profiles.

      the girl in the video was young, somewehat attractive, spoke really fast and astumbled a couple of times. She was spunky, which I liked, but my overall impression of her as the face of the venture was a thumbs down. She mentioned teasers like “we are already making money” and “check out our website to see our global contest with adidas” as we ‘got off the elevator’.

      Before asking her how they make money and how much, I think my first question would be: “who really wants a uniform profile out there?”

    • avninder 7:56 am on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Good points Mike. I would not invest in this company either. Completing a new profile provides a opportunity to choose what you want to disclose and is not very time consuming. Who would want to blur the lines between their student lives, working lives and personal lives?

      Do you think an alternate speaker would have been able to persuade you to invest?

    • C. Ranson 8:37 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Mike, you make some very valid points about different profile needs, and the use of teasers like making money, website and the contest with adidas, I wonder why this company is making money are we missing something from the social media prespective?

      Catherine

    • Suhayl Patel 10:21 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this company. I think I could write a lot about why I would not invest, but it all boils down to the fact that there was not much information given, or at least any substance to it. Nothing about Marketing, about the CEO Team, nothing about how it’s different from any of the similar tools that the same thing and some, and nothing about their plan.

    • Patrick Pichette 11:19 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Well, for one, I don’t really see this as an education venture so if we are strictly analyzing education related ventures, this falls out of that equation so I’d have to eliminate it on that basis alone. If that isn’t enough to rule out any investing intentions, I also agree with the points brought up regarding the problem is solves.. it really isn’t much of a problem. I’ve never heard anyone complain to me that they have to create too many profiles. I’ve heard of people complaining they have to remember too many password for all different sorts of websites but no one ever tells me that they are sick of entering the same profile information anytime they sign up for a service. I could understand if I were creating 20 profiles a day but it’s more like 20 profiles a year so is this really a venture worth considering?

      • kstackhouse 12:26 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I was thinking the same thing about this not being related to an education venture. The only way would be if the student was sharing this same profile information with their school blog, Moodle or wiki accounts. This I think would not be encouraged anyway for reasons of privacy. There is already some of this overlapping of profiles taking place now. If you have a Google + account the information there is the same profile information that you have in your YouTube account (assuming one has one). As others mention there is not enough “pain” in the market for someone to really demand this “little widget” as she describes. I could only see people using it if it was a free add-on.

        • Patrick Pichette 4:32 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Part of me feels like this was a an idea concocted to generate money as opposed to solving a problem. This person probably thought that if they could get people to create one profile that serves up the information to multiple websites, they could become a central point to collect a lot of user information, browsing habits, and creating an advertising profile to use targeted ads. The only problem is no one will likely use this service since it really doesn’t help them become more efficient at anything particular.

      • Lisa Nevoral 8:15 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I think that if she created an application for having one login and password for all your different accounts, this would be a better investment then the same profile information. I also have to agree with Ken that people may use MEgo as a free add-on application.

      • jameschen 10:10 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I also do not see the marketability of this product as there appears to be no gap in the market for it to fill. Perhaps it might have been better if she gave information on how the product differs from its competitors, then the presentation might have gained more validity.

  • David Vogt 3:21 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: , smugmug   

    A venture for premium photo sharing:

    Continue reading Smugmug Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • avninder 12:10 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      “YES, I would invest in this venture” or at least I would request more information before making a decision.
      The CEO of Smugmug Don Macaskill exudes confidence and passion for his company while presenting this pitch. However, details regarding his management team and experience are not provided in this short video. It seems as though the CEO has done his homework when he claims that there is no online service that provides a premium photo-sharing service to paying customers. This was surprising to me as I would have guessed that there are many services like this available on the web even though all of the photo-sharing sites that I have seen either produce low quality images or have many ads. I have never searched for a service like this as it is not something that I would be willing to pay for however the presenter mentioned that they are profitable and growing so there is definitely a demand for their service.

      Since this service is online, it is difficult to say what the realistic market size is. However since the company identifies itself as the only premium service they should be able to capture much of the high end online photo-sharing market. The CEO states that they have had ‘hundreds of thousands paying customers’ which is impressive.

      Judging by the examples used by the presenter I would say that their destination is being well known as the ‘BMW’ of online photo sharing. Currently the competitive advantage of this company is that no one else who offers what they do. In such a competitive world however this can change very quickly. Copy-cat companies eager to gain market share and acquire revenues through their own yearly subscriptions can appear and change the status of this company.

      The pitch did not go into many details regarding the marketing strategy, how much money was being asked for or how the investment would be used. Although I would not use this service myself and there is a risk of other players entering the market, I would likely invest because the CEO is knowledgeable and the company is profitable as a leader in what they do.

    • rebecca42 11:44 pm on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. I think that the CEO is enthusiastic and definitely knows what he is talking about, but his appearance, both in his clothing and the choice of video, did not impress me. Even though it is a SmugMug brand hoodie, I’m not sure it’s a correct choice for inspiring confidence with other individuals who might want to invest, nor is the video, which is distracting (I’m not sure if the video is something we should also address, perhaps he didn’t post it?).

      The pitch focussed on the strengths of the venture to date. They have a solid client base already, are expanding, and are offering a product that, at this time is fairly innovative. A site called Zenfolio appears to be their main competition and has expanded into their online video market as well, so I would want to know more about how they intend to deal with that before I would be willing to invest. Why would someone choose them over other companies that may offer similar services. They may be one of the leaders right now, but they have not made clear how they intend to keep their lead in this market.

      For an elevator pitch it was fairly good, although information on where they are ready to expand into would have been useful. In particular I would like to know who the intended market is. Would they want to expand home (personal) use or is it meant for businesses that work in film or photography and how exactly would they go about getting customers? I also wonder if other emerging technologies would have an impact on this particular market. For instance, I don’t know much about cloud technology, but I wonder if this would have an effect on this company’s viability?

      In addition, there is no discussion of what kind of support is required, the timeframe, the desired outcome, nor what the expected return is for investors. Once they have their subscriptions for the year how will they ensure that they keep clients and expand their business, what exactly do they have to offer investors? What do they want?

      Based on the many questions that I have, and despite the likeability of the CEO, I would not be willing to invest in this venture.

    • jenniferschubertubc 1:40 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Don Macaskill, CEO of SmugMug definitely displays confidence in both his product and its continued success in the photosharing market. Though this short clip does not offer us a glimpse into more of the behind the scenes aspects of the company (including details of the team or resources) a brief visit over to http://www.smugmug.com shows an easy to navigate website which offers, as part of its subscription service, readily available customer support, a key element in a successful marketing strategy.

      According to the CEO, SmugMug is a unique venture in that it is a photosharing site unlike anything that exists currently on the market. There is no ad placement and photos are displayed at the highest quality found on the web. (A visit to the website does show that photos are available at much higher resolution than most sites (clearer at much larger sizes). The resolution of a photo however, largely lies in the hands of the photographer and their equipment on the front end.) Smugmug claims not to put limits on the amount of photos you are able to house yet there are “PRO” accounts on the site. What is the difference? Obviously more research, possible answered through the website would be needed in order to answer these questions.

      I believe that the market size for this product would be a factor that would need constant re-evaluation. With the accessibility of smartphone apps that enhance and edit photography at the touch of a few buttons and smartphones with increased megapixel capabilities, many “everyday” consumers find themselves delving into amateur photography. Sales of DSLR cameras have continued to climb in recent years (leaving many professional photographers to complain) as many amateur photogs have overwhelmingly decided to “give it a go” at the art form, most often without proper training. Many who fancy themselves newfound “pros” will invest in all the bells and whistles, including serious editing software and photosharing sites. With the rise of social media platforms, everyone wants to share themselves at their very best, photos most definitely included.

      According to the CEO of Smugmug, they are the only photosharing site that allows the height of quality (full resolution photos and HD video) with no pesky advertisements and readily available customer support. It is important to note, however, that this is a subscription-based venture. Many other platforms, though they may not offer the same quality, are available for free. In a struggling economy, how much will customers be willing to pay for what might be a slight decrease in quality? Is it really that important? These are questions that would need further market research.

      The product is already in place and appears to be doing well… according to the information in this video. A review of the business plan as well as the past, current and projected numbers would be beneficial in reviewing the potential (continued?) success of the project as well as the longevity in a market that will surely continue to grow in this culture of digital creativity and sharing.

      I would hesitate to invest in this project, if only for the projected influx of similar ventures which would cost the consumer less money in an already struggling economy. Everyone wants the best, but are they willing to pay for it in the end? I’m not fully convinced at this juncture.

    • Ranvir 6:03 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this venture. Don Macaskill, CEO of Smugmug displays confidence, passion and experience after successful launch of his premium photo sharing application. It seems that he has the resources he needs including a strong team which is why he is able to gain confidence of thousands of paid customers.
      The venture concept is original and he has found a niche area to capitalize on. He figured there could be a need for people who would be willing to pay for quality and he was spot on! He seems to have done his homework well in terms of studying the market and focussing only on the premium clientele. He knows that he will have a select customer base and he is focussing on serving that niche.
      The product seems to have a realistic market share and the venture seems to be successful already. The product seems to have a competitive edge over others such as providing facility to host/share HD quality, ad-free, secure photos and video from various devices. I do like the CEO and feel confident in investing in this venture.

    • Patrick Pichette 11:42 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Smugmug is an interesting venture but there are so many competitors out there that I’m not quite sure I’d be willing to invest in Smugmug. I agree that they have targeted a fairly niche market that should allow them to remain viable in the near future but there is fierce competition in this field that is shaping up with no clear indication as to whether one company has some sort of stranglehold on the others. It’ll likely come to marketing and integration with other social media sites that will determine a winner and I wouldn’t gamble money on this type of strategy. Having said that, Don Macaskill exudes confidence, passion, and demonstrates a willingness to captivate a crowd and get them on board so there may be hope here yet.

  • David Vogt 3:21 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: , WeBook   

    A digital publishing platform:

    Continue reading WeBook Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • joeltremblay 2:01 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This venture gave me something to think about, however I am a little concerned that their idea of “publishing” is a little bit out of date as most publications and book stores that don’t have an electronic option aren’t doing to well currently.

      After watching the CEO’s pitch, I can see exactly what they are trying to market. However, I also think that considering the bandwidth that will be used, (text being so much smaller than any kind of video and requiring much less storage space), and that current business models are operating on the 70-30 ratio rather than the 50-50 they are offering, they are being a little greedy/conservative with their profit sharing.

      It’s immediately apparent that this service is marketed to writers rather than readers and they spent a good deal of time focusing on writer benefits as opposed to reader since they didn’t mention how the service would be marketed to readers at all.

      The vision is there for fifty percent, but it needs some work.

      • Pat A Son 2:46 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Joel,

        First let me say that I think this was a good elevator pitch so I do not agree with some of your points.

        As you rightly said you could see see exactly what they are trying to market but you think that the 50-50 split they are asking is greedy when compared to current models. Since this is a new concept then does it make sense to apply the old formula to it. Remember apple turned the music world upside down by offering songs at 99 cents a figure that a lot people then thought was too small and apps are selling at 2.99 when applications sells at hundreds of dollars.
        Lets not forget that this is just the elevator pitch and details such as marketing could be provided at the next level

      • visramn 12:03 am on September 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        You pointed out many factors that would make this product a dangerous investment. When simialr products are offered for a cheaper price or free then it is unlikely that the product will do well. The specificness of the product for writers results in a loss of a large quantity of the market. I do not think I would invest in this product. Too many red flags.

    • joeltremblay 6:17 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      NO, I would not invest in this venture

    • jkotler 1:56 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in WEbook because for one thing, they reference the problem as a closed market, which is in fact not true as there are other open online publishing platforms like Amazon for example. Furthermore, I feel their process and general solution to the ‘problem’ is not unique since other companies also provide consistent feedback and it is less favorable as they have a community panel that selects certain submissions for publishing, implying many others are rejected. With that said, I think that this could be detrimental to their interest in expanding their market share because the more people are not chosen by them for publishing, the more likely they will be to seek out other competitors.

      In regards to the CEOs credibility, she did come across as well spoken and passionate but there was no data or any support to back up her claims, nor did she offer information about her or her team’s credentials.

    • teacherben 6:34 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this company. As was mentioned above, there is a lot of competition in the self-publishing industry and has been for a while. She claims she wants to upend a 50 billion dollar publishing market, but instead might want to address how her company will stand out in an increasingly crowded field of self-publishing possibilities. It is not entirely clear who she is addressing. I think Joel is right, that it is probably writers. Either way, there is nothing much in there about getting a return on your investment, whether that means money or time put in to contributing. She compares her project to what eBay does for commerce, what Linux does for software and Wikipedia does for information. Not only are these things very different to one another, but if you want to catch the imaginations of people who want to make money, you probably shouldn’t reference projects that don’t make money for their contributors. Just about everything on Wikipedia was done by volunteers. Most of the software out there developed for Linux was also contributed by volunteers. (To say nothing of making an obscure reference that most people probably wouldn’t get…) She talks about how, when the project is ready for ‘prime time’, it is submitted by a project leader. She is introducing terminology here that could mean a lot of things. Is this the writer? Someone who works for WEbook? Who determines when my project is ready for prime time? I’ve may have lost control over my own book and i haven’t even signed up for the service yet! She offers a 50-50 share which seems a bit dear for a company that is in its infancy. She claims to have ‘over 1500 projects’. So, how many of those are ready, or will every be ready for ‘prime time’? A handful? That’s a big share for a company that is totally unproven. iBooks is 70-30. Lulu is 80-20. We hear nothing about how the content will actually get to consumers, or who those consumers are. 60 seconds is not a lot to work with, I admit, but she probably could have used hers a little better.

    • kstackhouse 12:34 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I appreciate that the speaker spoke clearly and was engaging. While I need more information as an EVA I would at least know that if I spoke with this person again they would be prepared and would be engaging.

  • David Vogt 3:20 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: Evernote,   

    An application for storing everything in your digital world:

    Continue reading EverNote Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • avninder 12:07 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      YES, I would invest in this venture.
      The CEO seemed knowledgeable about the service provided but I do not think his passion came across too clearly in the pitch. He explained the service well in terms of functionality and capability but did not paint a picture as to which need would be fulfilled with use of EverNote. I found myself wanting more information regarding the other important players in the market and what this company had to offer in terms of a competitive advantage. There was also no information regarding the requirement for additional capital or what it would be used for.

      While watching this pitch I did not think that it was an original venture idea as I am user of Dropbox. Upon further investigation of my own however, I have come to know that this service is similar to Dropbox but offers additional capability as well, for e.g.: text in images is searchable. Even though this was mentioned in the pitch, I feel that it wasn’t stated in a way that conveyed how this feature sets this service apart from its competitors.

      The market size for a service like this could include students, employees, virtually anyone who wants to be able to store and retrieve important information from various devices. The free and subscription-based services should be able to capture the casual and heavy user respectively.

      I like how the presenter referred to the service as an ‘external brain’. The CEO discussed examples of using EverNote to take a picture of a business card or creating a voice message and searching the data by location. This made me think that for this company, success would be having users use this service on a daily basis for a variety of situations. To reach this goal I think a marketing strategy is essential. I would assume that is what an investment would be used towards so I would be open to making an offer.

      • jhodi 9:14 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi,

        I also did not think that this was an original idea since I have experienced several other technologies such as this. However, the range of markets that this technology has the potential to span is huge- students, teachers, businesses, etc. The CEO did a good job of highlighting some of the key features of Evernote such as it’s ability to store notes in text form, photo form, video form, etc. that is available on any device with an Internet connection. Although the CEO was not super enthusiastic, he came across confident and knowledgeable. Although this pitch was very short and not all of the key features of a good pitch were hit, I feel like a few of the key features were hit well enough to spark my interest.

        Jhodi

    • jhodi 9:10 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      YES, I would invest in this venture!
      Although this pitch was very short, the concept is one that has the potential to be very wide spread. The market for this idea spans from students to large companies that need to manage a large quantity of content and are frequently on the move. The CEO does a good job of marketing Evernote as a ‘second brain’ and describing the wide range of abilities that Evernote has to store different types of content such as text or photos. Although it misses out on describing some of the points such as differentiation, championship or information about a return, the CEO does describe the different types of memberships and features that could contribute to this information. I would have liked to have learned more about this however before making a decision. However, my decision may also be influenced by the fact that I have experienced Evernote briefly in one of my courses and thought at the time that it was a neat, useful idea, although I did not explore it in depth. I feel like the CEO could have been more passionate in his speech, but I also feel as though he know what he is talking about, it confident, and has the drive to make Evernote succeed.

    • Lisa Nevoral 9:12 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this venture.

      Although his pitch did not display all of the content facets, he did highlight several aspects of his product that caught my attention. Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, spoke very confidently about his product in a manner that suggested that he knows his product well. This indicated to me that he is a competent CEO. He also spoke at a good pace and clearly. He explained the features of his product that would entice potential users and offered different levels of subscriptions – free and premium. This would suggest that there is money coming into this company, but without further information and investigation, I’m not sure how much. Evernote could also be used on many different devices and had versions for Windows or Macs, which would be optimal for a wider range of users.

      What I was a little unclear about and was assuming (although it was in a description for the clip) was if Evernote was an application. He calls it the “external brain”, used to remember things and always on hand. He indicated it can be used to take pictures of business cards to whiteboards, which suggests to me that this could be marketed towards business people as well as students. The capability of Evernote to be able to have a text note, voice note, and pictures, as well as the ease to find saved information makes it a good product, but Phil Libin does not compare it to any other company or why it is an original product. As well, I’m not sure what he is trying to get out of the investors? Does he need money to promote his product more or to discover more aspects to be used with Evernote? All in all, I was interested in this company and would like to see more of their business plan.

    • teacherben 12:15 am on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This one is a bit tricky, since I am quite familiar with the product. I have to separate what I know already from the pitch that he gave. Based on what he delivered, I think I would invest in the company. While he came off as a bit geeky and, as was mentioned above, a little short on passion for his product, it looks as though it will become the sort of niche product that develops a limited, but devoted user-base. There may be a ton of other productivity applications out there, but each person is different and each person’s needs are a little different. A lot of these products seem to find a market. And once you have developed a system that works for you that incorporates a particular tool, you may be less likely to try too many others. Just a brief look in the Android Play store, for example, shows a lot of different programs that include features such as to-do lists, calendar integration, clip saving/sharing, all in different combinations and a lot of them have over a million downloads. And then, looking in the comments section, I see a lot of active debate. People jump up to defend their favourite productivity app to detractors.

      I think he presented his product well. The pitch was clear. We knew what it was and, for the most part, what it wasn’t. That being said, I see a comment above that compares it to Dropbox, so perhaps his pitch wasn’t that clear. EverNote is quite different from Dropbox. While it does let you sync files, the biggest file you can transfer is 50MB. When you open it, it is much more of a ‘program’ that does stuff–saves and organizes web clippings, notes, pictures etc… Dropbox is more about backup and storage and sharing big files. There is no real interface. It’s a file on your computer for the most part. He probably could have been a bit clearer.

      Now, as it turns out, EverNote may not have been the first one at the party, but they stuck around to clean up. They have a huge market share, grew far beyond what was likely predicted and have already bought out some other companies to add to their offerings. They have raised tens of millions in financing and are considering an IPO in the next year. What started as a slick to-do list is growing into something that may eventually compete with products like Google Docs. While he may not have stated as much in his pitch, he left room for that, and left enough to our imagination.

    • avninder 7:37 am on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I noticed their huge success when I further researched the company as well. teacherben, are you a user of EverNote and Dropbox? Thanks for an explanation of their main differences. I may become an EverNote user as well. It can be difficult selecting appropriate applications and programs as the selection seems to be radpidly increasing.

    • teacherben 8:21 pm on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      A lot of these sorts of applications come and go as well, so you don’t want to commit time and energy to something that might vanish in a month or two. Evernote is a good bet. It has a userbase in the millions. I actually don’t use it much anymore. It has way more features than I need. I use a much simpler to-do list. But I am a big Dropbox advocate. I have been using it for years to share photos and videos of my kids with my family. Super useful.

    • coralk 3:23 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Fair disclosure on this one before I start: I LOVE Evernote and use it all the time. Now onto my completely unbiased review:

      Yes, I would invest in this company. I found the CEO to be likeable and knowledgeable, and he managed to give a lot of information to us in one minute but it didn’t seem rushed and I understood the value proposition that he was bringing. Specifically:
      • Evernote works on many different devices and browsers
      • He gave a lot of different examples of how it could be used: pictures, business cards, labels, voice notes, text notes
      • He explained many of the features and functionality: indexing, searchability, synchronization
      • He gave some information on how the revenue piece is set up – free subscription and a premium subscription

      Even if this wasn’t a company that I already knew about, I would be very interested to hear more based on this pitch.

    • C. Ranson 8:54 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I need to start using EverNote, perhaps it is related to my age, my professional life, my family life and my social life all needing attention. Immediately I recognized from this pitch that this would assist me in remembering all that I need to and act as my external memory/brain.

      I would invest in this product/company. The pitch addressed a problem for a particular target group, that being difficulty in remembering and tracking everything we need to and this product could do this through various devices such as your phone or computer. The CEO provided a very clear and concise summary of what the product is and how it works, and the cost to the user. Phil Libin is a likeable person, very informative, and his presentation would leave the “catcher” impressed, as I was.

      Catherine

    • jenbarker 12:40 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      As a user and passionate Evernote fan, I am far too biased to evaluate this pitch. That said, I found the pitch interesting. It was very general and as someone who uses it for multiple purposes I think Evernote could create multiple pitches based on different target audiences. For example, he never mentioned use of Evernote for assessment for educators. I love how I can create a notebook for each student and then stack content notebooks within the students main notebook. I can take digital images of their work, add anecdotal comments and place these with notes under the appropriate curricular area. Should I wish to share this information with other teachers or the child’s parent I have the ability to share notebooks. I could go on and on about the great uses of Evernote for educators but again this just extends my point that I think Evernote could diversify their pitches or have shown in this pitch how they meet the needs of multiple professionals such as as Educators, Businesses, etc.

    • Peggy Lawson 9:11 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would invest in Evernote. I have friend who is a real Evernote fan yet I’ve not yet taken the plunge, largely because I seem to have too many other tech tools that I haven’t taken the time to learn yet. I think the pitchman did good job of getting me interested in the product as an investor by focusing on aspects that sells its usefulness to potential customer although as an investor I would want more information about how the free veresion would generate income (yet for dot coms this doesn’t seem to deter investors). In the short elevator pitch, he was able to highlight the pain point and the solution; his manner and presentation gave me confidence as a potential investor.

    • Patrick Pichette 12:09 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Although Evernote is already fairly established, this is a venture I would have invested in from the beginning. It solves a problem by providing an elegant solution and offers many different solutions to garner a large user base and encourage non subscribers to eventually become subscribers as their usage increases. I also feel that his presentation shows confidence and professionalism which encourages me further knowing that the product is in the hands of a capable CEO.

    • kstackhouse 12:41 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Knowing Evernote and its success I would have wished that I had invested in this product. The CEO was confident, identified an issue and how they tackle that issue, and the ways one could use their product/service. During the Sales Pitch though, there was no mention of a few things that might be important to an EVA…

      What investment was he looking for?
      What would be the next steps with that investment?
      When would I see a return?
      How does their service differ/compare to others available or are they the only solution for this “pain”?

      • teacherben 5:45 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        You still have a chance to invest. They are planning an IPO this year or early next.

        • kstackhouse 5:52 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Thanks for the tip. I’m not sure I have the cash flow that it would take to be an investor. How many units or shares would one have to buy? Any guess at the price they will set to begin with? I have never invested in an IPO…this is all new to me.

    • rebecca42 2:47 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this venture.

      The CEO does not appear as enthusiastic as I would expect but he certainly appears to know what he’s talking about. He highights the benefits: ability to use it from different devices and browsers and that it allows all different formats of saving. It is a step in the right direction as far as being able to integrate information from every type of source. From the pitch it sounds like this concept addresses the problem of individuals who might have a variety of sources of information and difficulty keeping it all together in one easy-to-manage location. I, too, have used things like dropbox and other online document storing sites, but this sounds like a whole different idea.

      I imagine that marketing something like this would be pretty straight-forward and the market for it would be huge. I’d like to know how they would plan on keeping their hold in the market and what exactly they were looking for in terms of an investment (and, of course, what kind of return would be expected). In addition, I’d like to know what incentives there are for individual users moving from a free to subscription account, is there anything other than extra space for storing that is provided?

      Another big question is the security of Evernote. Could school districts use it for storing information? Law firms? The public health sector? Is it safe enough to put any kind of information on? If it is this could provide a huge area for them to move into.

      Although Evernote might be successful now, what is their growth plan. Where can they go from there and what else do they have to offer in the future?

      All in all future consideration is certainly merited. A great venture to look deeper into.

    • visramn 11:31 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this product. The presenter did a good job of explaining all the uses of Evernote and how versatile and accessible it is from multiple sources. However, the speaker was fairly monotone and did not catch my attention.
      The product is not very original in the sense that there are many products similar to this one in the market. However, I was drawn to this product because this product has many features that others do not have and because it can be accessed from many different technical venues.
      The presenter talked about the fact that this product can either be free or can be upgraded with a fee. However, there was not any concrete data or statistic about this product presented. This type of information would make investors feel more comfortable in investing in the product.
      Despite the many missing pieces in this pitch I still believe I would invest in this product. Not because the presenter did a good job of drawing me to the product or of convincing me of its potential success. In fact, I found that the presentation was lacking a lot of data, information and enthusiasm. Rather, I would invest because I think this product would have a lot of potential due to all the functions it has and due to its wide range of accessibility. It is a good combination of tools that can allow a user to achieve multiple purposes through one product. This type of tool would have a huge market because individuals of all ages could benefit from the capabilities. The product has a lot to offer and it does not seem to have a lot of cost attached to it.
      I do not know much about this product and would not be able to contribute to it in any other regard but I do know that products such as these have a good chance of being successful because I have used similar products and have seen others use them also. The only difference is I have had to use multiple tools to achieve the same purpose and this tool would be all-in-one.

  • David Vogt 3:20 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
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    Tags: EduFire,   

    An open marketplace for live video learning:

    Continue reading EduFire Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • adi 3:45 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      EDU FIRE

      Yes, I would invest in this venture. This CEO starts his pitch well by engaging the catcher with his opening questions (‘How to Pitch a Brilliant Idea’, by lsbach, K.D.,Harvard Business Review, September 2003). He mentions the benefits of his product, and though he does not mention an exact market size, it is clear it is a large one. In addition, this product has two types of consumers: teachers that will make money from their teaching videos but need to pay their cut , and students who I assume will pay. An EVA and investor, however, I would get involved in making sure this product differentiates itself from the rest, as there are several similar online tutoring systems out there.

      • tomwhyte1 12:53 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        My concern, is that he mentions the worlds best teachers.

        How can he substantiate this claim?

        For myself, this is a huge sticking point.

        Furthermore, you mentioned that you would need to differentiate itself from its competitors. I myself, am finding what you propose difficult, for I have no thoughts on this, therefore I am wondering what your thoughts would be to potentially achieve this. For, I believe, if one was able to do that, this might be a more viable venture.

        Thoughts?

    • tomwhyte1 11:56 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Edufire pitches an interesting concept of allowing the worlds best teachers to instruct when they want, how they want, where they want, and for how much they want, thereby reducing the need to waste time and money on commuting to various instructional locations. To facilitate this venture, Edufire, provides an Internet portal allowing educators and students to meet in a single location at a small cost to the educator. Regardless of this potentially interesting venture, I would not invest into this company for various reasons. First, I know nothing of the CEO and Management’s credibility nor ability in this section of the educational market, nor their competency within this market. Furthermore, I have no information regarding the amount of capital required to be a part of this venture, nor how or when I would be recompensed for my initial investment. I also question the concept, as no information is provided regarding market size, market share, revenue generated, furthermore, Edufire has no innovative advantages, nor any patents to protect the service they are providing, which would easily allow major corporations such as Pearson to easily enter, then dominate this market. Lastly, I feel there is nothing I can add to this venture to help overcome some of these issues, making this overall investment risky at best.

    • Pat A Son 2:26 pm on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I will not invest in this venture,
      I am highly skeptical about this venture because I do not think that the realities of the target market was taken into consideration in the creation of this venture.
      The gentleman certainly exudes with confidence but I am not convinced that he understands the market that he is pitching his venture in. Edufires’ product is in my opinion networked private tutoring yet it is being sold under the big umbrella of education as if it aims to replace the traditional models of scholarship that is centred around degree granting intuitions. So the niche was not properly defined in this pitch. Therefore his pain point is aimed at the wrong object and this mean that the market size, market share and revenue projection will all be off.
      As for competitive edge khan academy offers the similar services for free in over 17 subjects as compared to only language offered by this start up. So the concept is neither original nor feasible and will most certainly a still birth as a venture.

      • tomwhyte1 12:58 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I like that you have mentioned the Khan Academy. This free venture, is now beginning to translate their videos into other languages, to expand the number of students they are able to assist. Secondly, the Khan Academy allows the videos to be watched again, and again. From what I see with Edufire, you would have to potentially pay and pay, to be able to learn again and again.

        Thoughts?

        • Suhayl Patel 5:02 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I agree that Khan Academy can do this and more. At the same time there was nothing about assessing your learning using this tool. Khan academy allows you to do that as long as you log in and have a “coach”.

          • tomwhyte1 7:18 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            One might assume, that the “instructor” would provide some forms of assessment. However, this is not provided in the elevator pitch as far as I know. Furthermore, the types of assessment, just like the Khan Academy will be limited.

            Thoughts?

    • Paula Poodwan 2:49 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture, although I am interested in the venture concept.
      I believe the idea of this venture is something like eBay ( which is very interesting) in which the company provides the market space where teachers ( products) and students ( buyers) can meet, teach, and learn, then the company will take a cut.

      I look at their website and it seems at this stage there is no traffic, not many teachers and very few courses available. This venture could be a big hit as eBay is but I will not consider investing at this time as I am not sure about their quality control policy; I am concerned about the quality of the lessons being offered and the quality of the teachers. If they are no good, the site will die down sooner or later.

      • tomwhyte1 1:00 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I also worried about quality control, as should most people. Furthermore, the world of education has many big players, such as Pearson. Therefore, if this is truly a viable solution, for the world of education as this time, why are the big boys not involving themselves? Are they on the wrong track, or just at the beginning of a potential implementation curve?

        Thoughts?

        • Jenny Brown 2:16 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Hi,
          I think that beyond one on one tutoring and specific training to assist children with their required school work, MOOCs are a more viable alternative to online learning for adults. Unless adults are looking to receive a certification or degree I don’t foresee a marketplace for adult general courses that you pay for. The fact that there doesn’t appear to be any sort of certificate or accreditation for completing a course makes it less desirable.

    • Jenny Brown 2:09 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture.

      The presenter was credible and personable and the setting made it appear that he was in fact a school teacher but if he had stated his name, his background and his position in the company it would have been more compelling.

      The presenter addressed the pain point right from the start explaining that through them you could learn right from your own home or get paid to teach from your home when you wanted and for the price you wanted and although this was sold as a novel idea, in today’s marketplace online training and tutoring is already common. It offered a solution to a problem of having to commute for learning and teaching but again this is not a new solution, it is one that already exists and is growing in the marketplace.

      EduFire did try to differentiate itself with having “the best teachers” and offering a lot of flexibility and opportunity for educators. As an analyst I wasn’t overly intrigued, but as an educator, I was interested in learning more. They completed their marketing by telling you where they were and where they were going but lacked monetary incentives (didn’t tell you what an investor would get out of out). They finished by telling you the next steps to take by providing their web address.

      Like Paula, I went to their website and I would agree that I am not sure of the quality control measures they have in place. In addition, very few classes are offered and very few have any students enrolled. Although the pitch had me intrigued on a personal level, as an analyst or investor I would not be interested.

      • tomwhyte1 3:28 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Your one line captured my attention:

        “In addition, very few classes are offered and very few have any students enrolled”

        This makes me wonder, are they offering a service that is not needed? Or, that there are so many complimentary services out there, that this one has been lost in the mix?

        Either way, not a viable venture in my opinion.

        Thoughts?

        • Jenny Brown 6:33 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Hi Tom,
          Although I think their courses offered for free may be of some interest and perhaps their one to one or small language group sessions. It might be that trying to have both of these and all subject matters just makes them look like a mess. Like Paula said, she felt it had an eBay type structure and eBay sells everything, not sure if this is an accepted means to purchase education by the public.

          • tomwhyte1 7:21 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            To keep the eBay motif going…

            I know who to buy from, based upon the rating system eBay provides. However, what system is in place for Edufire? Can someone who feels they were graded poorly, have the chance to lash out, or is there a system of checks and balances.

            Truthfully, the statement that the worlds best teachers… etc… truly worries me. For if I am investing, I would want this statement backed up before I provided any capital or expertise…

            Thoughts?

    • lullings 5:15 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would definitely be interesting in Edufire’s venture pitch. I think that it is true that its a multi billion dollar industry and if they can get a slice of the pie then I would be interested in see how they plan for this.

      The primary question I would have is about the interactive video element that the courses will be based on? This has huge potential to be a game changer in the educational arena if they have the skill and expertise to do it in a manner that is fresh and exciting.

    • Patrick Pichette 4:48 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would definitely be interested in getting additional info on this venture. This has the potential to become a huge market and depending on the approach, marketing, and team involved, it could become a big hit. I understand that Khan Academy has a free offering but they are targeting two different areas of education. Khan is targeting a self paced student who progresses at his own pace while this venture targets one-on-one learning with an expert in the field. I see huge potential for people who work in a particular craft that is not generally taught in school but could be taught in this type of environment. Needless to say that the pitch hits a chord with potential and before I choose to accept or reject, I would want to hear the full pitch and current status of their business plan.

  • David Vogt 3:20 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: , SchoolManager   

    A learning management system:

    Continue reading SchoolManager Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Doug Connery 7:31 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Venture pitch – School Manager

      No, I would not invest in School Manager as I am not convinced there is a problem. It is not clear to me that there is an “… information-flow gap between the administrative functions and the classroom” as the pitch mentions.

      The founder Keisha Edwards has great credentials and they indicate large potential for growth of the product in the market. I am also not clear how it will be profitable after one year of operation. And finally as a Educational Venture Analyst, I am not sure what they what, money to invest in their system, me to by the system or to feel good that they have developed a reasonable product.

      Doug.

    • cunnian 10:04 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in School Manager. Though the specifics of her platform are lacking, my suspicion is that this product is trying to compete in a market where there are already several major players. I did not get a sense of what makes this product stand out from the others. Unfortunately for the CEO, the other players have been around for a while and have established reputations for service and quality; schools are unlikely to gamble on a new and untested product regardless of whether it is less expensive or not.

      The CEO is clearly competent and confident in her venture, but she makes no reference to a team or any other members of this venture. If schools are to use this software, then there needs to be a small army of support personnel to keep things running and help set schools up. This, if not already factored in, would represent a substantial overhead cost that could quickly erode her projected earning of $120 000.

      John

    • sophiabb 10:09 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in SchoolManager. The CEO’s over 21 years of experience in education and software development is admirable; but that may be the only good thing that SchoolManager has going for it. This pitch lacked specificity, clear evidence and an ask.

      No clear market gap or problem was identified. The solution indicated a bridging of information flow platforms with no specifics on the proposed platform. No information was presented on the level of competition in this market. In fact, there was no evidence of marketing plan. There was no indication as to how SchoolManager plans on securing the necessary percentage of the market to for it to be profitable. Limited financials were given. A revenue of US$120,000 was projected for year one only. There was no sound basis for it. What is the unit cost for the product? What is the price point? At what point would break-even occur? It would have been great to see an income statement and projections up to 5 years. There was no mention of how much wass needed and no mention of a return on investment.

      This seemed to be a one person show and may account for this very weak pitch. Successful ventures need a team of competent and experienced leaders in diverse areas, including marketing and finance.

      ~Sophia

      • kstackhouse 12:51 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree with you and others that the amount she presented for the first year’s revenue was very impressive there is no real way of knowing how the venture will get there. This seems highly optimistic for a beginning company as well.

  • David Vogt 3:20 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: MindTraction,   

    A mobile mentoring venture:

    Continue reading MindTraction Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Mike Rae 11:19 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this MindTraction, although the idea is interesting.

      David, The founder, identifies a large market (20 million university students that are increasingly anxious). That I believe to some extent, he wants to create a cell phone app that will help organize their individual courses as to help them with succeed (points to math and science).

      Problem I see is that each course is different, and you would need a course specific app for this to work. a one size fits all doesnt seem that practical and that’s what he is alluding to. I liked the idea of using the phone as an organizer, but phones come with this application already built it in (I should use mine more).

      I like the overall pitch and especially him. He seems kinda nerdy, which I associate as a good thing for some reason (maybe because Bill Gates was never mistakened for James Dean). He was a lawyer and a MET grad student.

      He was calm, spoke at a good pace and seemed confident.

    • Kent Jamieson 10:30 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would not invest in MindTraction. The idea seems to piggyback off many organizational apps out there that already deal with collaboration, using calendars and reminders, etc. for student success. I also have an issue with the ‘pain point’ and if university students are in fact more anxious and distracted. If they are, I’m not sure introducing ‘another app’ will reduce this aforementioned anxiety. It would have been nice to have those facts referenced somewhere, as I’m sure there is information out there that could speak to the fact that university students are more organized and less anxious these days because of burgeoning technology.

      I do like David, however, as he seems genuine and passionate about his idea. I also liked that he stated his asking price and mentions the return on investment. For me, it is crucial to hear the numbers right away. Despite the passion, the likeability and the numbers, I didn’t believe the idea seemed innovative enough. As an EVA, I need to be passionate about the venture as well, and my heart just wasn’t into it.

      Kent

    • Eva Ziemsen 1:57 pm on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I WOULD invest in MindTraction, or I would consider hearing more.

      David points out the problem: “anxious students”. While he did not explain this in depth (as it is an elevator pitch), I understand what he is saying. Students get overwhelmed when they cannot keep track of their assignments and deadlines. Institutions are still handing out ‘paper agendas’ which is simply outdated in 2012. Therefore, I think MindTraction could be the new digital agenda system that could be integrated into the Professor’s course site. I am assuming this application could achieve this, but it has the potential to keep students organized in an electronic, integrated way.

      In summary, if I am interpreting this pitch correctly, David pointed out a huge problem – anxious (meaning disorganized) students, and a product that can help ease this problem. The fact that David is doing a masters in ETEC and is a former lawyer also instills some confidence in me, that he can carry out a business plan. In fact, he can use his legal skills when it comes to the IP portion of this app.

      What is outstanding are the details on how profitable this would be in reality. Since I know how many Universities and Colleges could benefit from this, I estimate there is a huge market. Often student unions are the ones who purchase these items, and instead of paying for printing, they would have funds for this kind of app. If this is indeed an APP that can be downloaded on any phone, you immediately keep your start up costs down, as there is no hardware.

      I was very excited by the idea and feels it speaks to a real need, and yet, it is a simple organization app. that is tailored to students at an institution. It reminds me of the “Italian Restaurant” concept mentioned in one of the videos. There are many organizational apps out there, but if this one could be supported and distributed by the school, and possibly even integrated into the LMS and thereby keeping track of course specific dates and assignments, this could be revolutionary.

      Given that it is an elevator pitch, I would require more information, on the plan and investment required. Overall, I’m very interested.

      Eva

      • kstackhouse 12:55 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree with you. I am not ready to invest, but I am certainly ready to hear more and to view his slide deck (assuming there is more there than he was reading). The speaker identified what his product was, the pain, his plan and showed that he understands the topic based on experience. I would certainly like to hear more.

    • stammik 11:50 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Unless his slide deck were able to fill in some serious gaps in his idea, NO, I would not invest in this venture, for the following reasons.

      While David’s law experience and MEdTech education (MET perhaps…) will likely serve him well as Mind Traction’s CEO, no mention of prior business experience is suggested and no indication of other TEAM members to assist him is provided.

      Based on his pitch, it seems the concept and MARKET should be focused more clearly on post secondary math and science students, rather than all 20 million US university students. In addition, do all 20 million US university students in fact have smart phones? While I am sure the percentage of ownership is extremely high, I sense an assumption is being made here. If so, are other assumptions being made elsewhere in his pitch?

      In terms of the VENTURE PLAN and valuation, while bulk sales are projected to hit a million dollars in year five, it is unclear what costs will be associated with the ongoing development, maintenance and marketing of the app. To make the app useful for a variety of universities and programs, my sense is that a high degree of customizability maybe required for the app to be successful.

      The main reason why I would be very reluctant to invest in this idea, is my doubt of the CONCEPT itself. Anxiety is a broad term and could be symptomatic of many problems students face. Is this a solid foundation for the concept? As Kent eludes to above, will an app really address their anxiousness? As Dr. Sherry Turkle (an ethnographer, researcher in the field of human computer interactions and a professor at MIT) warns, it may in fact be our overuse of technology, such as apps like Mind Traction, which are potentially at the root our anxiety.

      Finally, as a few of my classmates have noted, his presentation style is generally effective; however, though I understand as an EVA I must remain focused on the content of his message rather than the degree of “flash” in his presentation, I still feel a bit more effort could have been made to create a more professional looking video recording. Even simple steps such as elevating his laptop to avoid shooting from underneath (which psychologically places the viewer in a submissive position), better lighting (shoot outdoors maybe), and avoiding distracting background elements (yes, I am referring to the four white spots on the wall next to his head) could have helped. Again, I know these trivial criticisms have absolutely no bearing on the content of his message, I simply feel he could have “massaged his audience a bit more with the medium” in this case.

      • Eva Ziemsen 12:32 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi there, I suppose my analysis compared to yours is too forgiving. As well, I used my own knowledge of post-secondary education to help sway my answer to YES. I think you make great points in your analysis, but I suppose I would still have faith that his additional materials would substantiate his elevator pitch. I though 20 million is a large number, and far fetched, but even if the market was half the size, it is still a large market. As well, it’s only north America. I do ask myself, how much can one accept as unknown in a pitch. I also understand your Turkle passage, but if you work with students on a daily basis, the reality is, they all have smart phones (90% of students in Canada I would estimate) and two, their main stress comes from disorganization. We could have an interesting debate. Thanks for your viewpoint.

        • stammik 7:15 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I think what is interesting here Eva, is how two people can differ in terms how they interpret a pitch. You obviously bring your experience of post-secondary education to bare on the discussion, experience which I don’t have, which means I must rely only on what he presents in his pitch.

          As I mention in my opening statement, unless his slide deck can fill in some serious gaps, I remain unconvinced, Which leads to your point about how much we can accept as unknown in a pitch? I’m not certain what the answer to that is – perhaps David or others can weigh in with their thoughts on this.

  • David Vogt 3:20 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: CloudConnect,   

    A cloud-based learning management system:

    Continue reading CloudConnect Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Lisa Nevoral 9:58 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture.

      First of all, I had too many questions after watching this pitch. The slides weren’t too flashy and the speaker spoke at a good pace, but I couldn’t always correlate what the speaker was saying to some of the pictures or diagrams being shown. Cloud Connect is a start-up business that is creating a collaborative software system to be used in primary and secondary schools, but I was unclear in what capacity. Was it a new learning management system (LMS)?

      The speaker did suggest that there was a ¾ billion dollar market for learning management systems and that Cloud Connect was going to lower their retail entry level, but how much money was needed for the next step or how much investors would be compensated wasn’t stated. There was a slide that that showed different LMSs and the speaker suggested that Cloud Connect had made a decisive split from the established market, but again in what way was not stated. How was Cloud Connect any better from the other LMS? For the reasons stated above, I would not invest in this company.

    • jenbarker 10:44 am on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture.

      I watched this pitch many times wondering at first if was my own lack of knowledge of technology that was preventing me from fully understanding this pitch. As I used the facets described in 2.7 to critically analyze this pitch I realized that it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t understanding, that instead this is a poor pitch. He addresses the pain point, stating that it is for primary or secondary education. Even this simple statement is flawed as we refer to K – 7 education as elementary and not primary. By reducing his market to primary, he left out intermediate educators or Grades 4 – 7. Next, he states that his product is breaking new ground and offers a new collaborative LMS. I couldn’t understand what made Cloud Connect differ from the other LMS products in the market already. Although he describes a 3/4 billion dollar market for LMS and states that his product will lower their retail entry level, he did not expand on this enough for an EVA to know what level of return would come back to the investor.

      Similar to Lisa, I like the presentation of the slides. They were clear and simple with white backgrounds. I found the speaker to be sincere and exude some enthusiasm. Overall, I felt his pitch left me with too many unanswered questions which would ultimately caused me to say no.

    • lullings 5:26 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      And its a no from me too I am afraid.

      Slides were not useful at all – we know we are talking about education there is no need to show me a generic clip art picture of a child with a school bag heading to a building. They have my attention for a few minutes and as a result I would say they wasted it. Then the important slide with how it stood in relation to the other LMSs out there was unreadable as it was too small.

      At the end of it I felt like this was a pitch for another LMS in the 3/4 of a billion dollar industry. The use of buzz words in the presentation like ‘blogging’ ‘mobile’ and ‘wikis’ degraded the whole concept because these are a standard. There is nothing new, innovative or impressive about them. This pitch might have been noteworthy in 2000 but for an investment I would need a far more progressive venture.

    • melissaayers 7:56 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture.

      While the narrator sounded sincere I felt that many of the claims he made such as they had “lots of experience developing innovate technology and media” were irrelevant since he provided no examples or credentials for what exactly this experience was or how it was successful. The same goes for saying the have a “unique perspective in small cap growth market” – this was not elaborated. While he states a clear differentiation point that they are able to reduce the cost of the product in comparison to their competitors he does not detail how they are able to do this.

      As others have mentioned this leaves me with many questions unanswered but without the desire to really find out the answer as I do not believe it’s a venture I would personally think to invest in.

    • Suhayl Patel 4:55 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in this venture. To put it quite plainly, what is this new venture a solution to? I can’t see myself investing in this venture if I don’t see what issue it addresses. To me it seems like a tool for housing information. The exact same thing can be done using google sites, google docs, etc.

  • David Vogt 3:19 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: , rePhrase   

    A venture introducing the world’s first “text-leveler”:

    Continue reading rePhrase Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Kent Jamieson 12:23 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      After doing a little homework on this particular venture – http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec522sept11/files/2011/11/rephrase-pitch.pdf – I am convinced of this idea and would indeed invest in it.
      I’m not sure I would have invested based solely on the CEO himself – or the elevator pitch – but after learning more about his text leveling software I was immediately thinking of the potential for a product like this. There is definitely a need for this innovative and original idea, and although there are reading programs out there that read back books to children, there isn’t a program that actually changes the reading level of a book to help students understand it better. The ‘sliding scale’ gives children the power to find their own independent reading level of books that may be too difficult or easy for them.
      rePhrase is targeted for a large group of struggling readers and is focused on dealing with differentiated learning…an idea I feel very passionate about. However, the product could also be marketed towards ESL students as a translation tool. As an educator who is always looking for more efficient ways to differentiate instruction this idea hits home, and as an EVA it would mean I could actively engage in the creation of this venture!
      I’m in rePhrase,
      Kent

    • Paula Poodwan 2:42 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in this venture. Although this elevator pitch displays many important points:

      • The elevator pitch is quite interesting with the catchy slides and music.
      • It covers some important points such as the pain point that many G.4-12 students in the US fail their grades because they can’t read or write.
      • It provides the solution point that rephrase can help.
      • The CEO/presenter seems to do his homework with all the numbers he provides.

      However, the overall message is not clear I still have no idea of what RePhrase can do to help.
      The CEO doesn’t seem enthusiastic in his presentation judging from the way he sits relaxingly with his left arm pointing at the camera.

      I believe that If I had spent more time checking out their business plan or listening to his venture pitch, I may be considering investing in this venture. I do like their concept that rephrase will help enhance personalized learning where students can adapt the difficulty of texts to their own level. But I would not invest based on this elevator pitch alone. Sorry, I’m out.

    • Peggy Lawson 2:45 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would definitely invest a further 8 – 12 minutes of my time with this venture. (I don’t know if I’d every actually invest my money based solely on an elevator pitch!). I feel the pitchman did a very good job of getting me to listen to his concept and plan. Sorry, Paula, but he gained my trust and confidence by looking relaxed and comfortable during the pitch (plus, I recognize there will some limitations in production qualities for pitches we will be creating in this course). I thought he did a very good job identifying the pain point as well as their solution. He identified his market, and with no competition this would provide a real advantage to investors. I don’t part easily with my money and would want to check some of his facts and figures, and would want to bring in my own experts to consider certain aspects of this venture, but the pitchman has won my interest in wanting to hear more.

      • kstackhouse 1:01 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I felt the same way. I could not write a cheque just yet, but I would be willing to look up his company and offer a second meeting. I think the concept or “pain” is real enough that it would be worth listening to anyone that thought they had a solution for this problem.

  • David Vogt 3:19 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: OpenRRU,   

    An intrapreneurial venture to take Royal Roads University into open education:

    Continue reading OpenRRU Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • frank 2:46 am on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this venture.

      Though the presenter doesn’t spell it out, it seems to me that the she is concerned that as a young, small, and applied post-secondary institution, RRU is at risk of losing out to bigger and better placed institutions.

      Her case, that RRU join the Open courseware movement is a compelling one.
      Doing so allows RRU to partner up with some of its competitors and/or leverage the greater Open Courseware community to become more competitive. It allows RRU to showcase itself online, which will help its cause with both Learner and Faculty Recruitment. These can in turn help it showcase its commitment to teaching excellence and develop a stronger reputation.
      The presenter addresses the biggest risks associated with Open Courseware: 1) Fear of losing tuition from would be payers who can now learn free online and 2) Potential for having content stolen. Regarding the former, she is right to point out that other programs have not lost applicants because credentialing is still important and people still favour facilitated class learning to online. Regarding the latter, this risk has been managed through the use of
      Creative Commons Licensing – namely, Attribution Share Alike.

      I think RRU joining the Open Courseware Movement is a great way for it hedge its risks of being overwhelmed by more powerful post-secondary institutions in the 21st century. By doing so, RRU strategically positions itself as a institution that is actively encouraging and supporting a learning society. And who would want to stake a claim that such a place should be closed down?

    • rebecca42 4:35 pm on September 21, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great post. Also, as RRU has always been geared towards professionals attaining credentials it is a good fit for them to have their programs be online, and more accessible to people who may want to browse before selecting a program. Everything I have heard about RRU (and growing up in Victoria I heard quite a lot), indicates this would be a good option for them. They have excellent teachers, courses and generally a good philosophy about learning. If people were to have access to courses they could see this for themselves.

    • kstackhouse 1:05 pm on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I enjoyed the infomercial…I just wondered how tall the building was that held this elevator pitch. I think the CEO would have to work at being able to narrow down this presentation to a briefer presentation. This seems more like a full Venture pitch. This was very informative and well put together.

  • David Vogt 3:19 pm on September 16, 2012
    0 votes
    |

    Tags: Finance4Lilfe,   

    A curriculum-integrated financial literacy solution:

    Continue reading Finance For Life Posted in: Pitch Pool
     
    • Colin 8:02 pm on September 17, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No I would not invest in Finance for Life. I would agree that there is a disconnect with what is taught in schools and the skills that are needed for real life which Greg Campbell states is the pain point. My issue with this pitch is that it gave no details of what the solution is or how this would be resolved. There is no differentiation mentioned from other programs that I have seen and I have seen some bad interactive programs. My major reason for not investing is the marketability and the target market. For this product it is geared towards school districts and that they purchase a licensing agreement. In these days of declining funding I see this as a very competitive market. Even if they have $50,000 profit this year it doesn’t mean that the same school districts will sign up again next year. A demo of the product where they can demonstrate a great innovation over other solutions that I have seen might win me over but I don’t believe they can provide this.
      Greg Campbell does do a good job of presenting and laying out his qualifications and what he has been able to achieve. He is too vague on the actual product and I don’t like his limited avenues for selling this product. For this reasons I choose not to invest in Finance for Life.

    • frank 8:43 pm on September 18, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest in Finance for life.
      This is a 1 minute video, so it is technically an Elevator pitch, not a Venture pitch.
      Greg’s Pain Point is that there is a gap between what’s taught and what is needed.
      His value proposition is an interactive learning management system where students learn about finance, business management and economics. His Revenue Model is Licensing and contracts with schools. Greg has an education and business background. And from this pitch, I believe that Greg is enthusiastic and sincere about his interest in teaching students greater financial literacy.
      I do agree with Colin’s points that Finance for Life is not quite there yet and still needs some work in better developing their pain-to-solution value proposition and opportunity space.

      From this pitch, we have little idea what the product is and how it actually works. A good interactive learning management system that is both effective and user friendly is in fact likely not simple or easy to develop, and many programs have been developed and tried in this area, with little results or permanence to show for it. How will Finance for Life be different?
      If I were Greg, I would research the Pain point more. I would perhaps contact and survey those engaged in this area, and try to find out from them exactly what pain points are of greatest concern and how Finance for Life might be able to provide a solution to resolve it. The added bonus of this approach is that working with stakeholders to create a solution venture (concept) will likely expand Finance for Life’s access to funding to include institutional sponsors for example. Securing such sources would help Finance for Life’s marketability to schools and education ministries, which are conservative by design when it comes to taking risks on new ventures.

    • Mike Rae 12:33 am on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yes, I would invest in this venture. The pain point is something I have always been aware of since I was a high school student. When taking my Canadian Securities Course more than once I thought to myself, shouldn’t everybody know this stuff?

      I’ve seen the planning 10 curriculum and it is weak. It also seems to be treated as a “throw away course”, not only by students, but by teachers and administration.

      I may have cheated, because I saw another youtube clip with Greg Campbell’s picture after the elevator clip ended and clicked on it. Because his 5 contracts are from the lower mainland, I believe that could entice other provincial school districts to do “what the big boys in the city” are doing.

      Also, I think with my background I could add value to the company. 2 ways that weren’t mentioned in the elevator or venture pitch. 1) Financial climates change every year – Europe debt/mortgage crisis/dot.com booms, etc… so this could be an oportunity to sell schools on “updates” to their curriculum. 2) Workshops for professional development could be another revenue source for teachers of the course.

      Push from higher levels of government than education ministries could be another eventual outcome. Wouldn’t be in the governments best interests to have an employed, entrepenuerial, tax paying citizenship?

      feel free to shoot me down. This is the only one I have said yes to so far.

    • Doug Connery 3:25 pm on September 19, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I see good value in a course of this nature. If students don’t get this information in the regular K-12 curriculum then here is an opportunity to provide it to them.

      I work in a post seconadry School ofBbusiness. We redesigned our Business Administration program several years ago and due to curriculum creep over the years, some courses had to go. One of the courses was Personnel Financial Planning. This created huge discusions, arguments and near blood with Faculty during the redesign process and even today. Soon after the course was removed many people realized that perhaps it was a mistake as it not only provided a life skills foundation but it provided a foundation for courses in the four majors in the program: Accounting, Financial Services, management and Marketing. In the new design the course is now only offered to the finacial services majors. I can see a time in the future when it will be added back into the other three majors as a fouindation course.

      Doug.

      • frank 3:08 am on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Mike and Doug.
        I agree with you. We can all learn more and have better personal financial planning habits.
        The question is how do we get there?
        Should we only teach it to finance majors only? As Doug points out, probably not.
        If we are going to teach it to everyone, should it be taught by teachers, most of whom are already overwhelmed by their course loads, and know little personal finance and economics?
        How do we engage children in this area, for most of whom, money just appears magically, out of the pockets of their parents.
        How do we build an “interactive learning management system” that is fun, keeps up to date, and provides students and teachers simple and accessible tools/programs to help them develop and track their financial skills and competencies over time?
        It is no simple feat and that is why it has not yet been achieved, despite everyone’s recognition that it is an important problem.
        Solving this problem requires real innovation. And I’m not sure exactly how Finance for Life plans to do this.
        Lastly Mike, though your points about the merits of having a financially capable citizenry are well taken, I would not expect answers to come from the government. When was the last time you witnessed education ministries provide cutting edge technological solutions to anything?

    • Shaun Pepper 4:41 am on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I wouldn’t invest in Finance for life. I think the pitch was aimed at some pain points, but it did not have any way of introducing a solution. How are they going to deliver it. WIthout knowing this how can one invest? I think if I was teaching this concept, I would want students to use software and tracking programs that simulated a MINT(http://youtu.be/rK6WLHNYjwM) type of approach. That way they can take the technology with them outside of the classroom and actually use it in their everyday lives. With equipping students with the tools and technology they will use, we allow them to learn 21st century skills that will be relevant to the digital world they are entering.

    • Mike Rae 9:01 pm on September 20, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I thought of another reason why this is a decent investment. The CEO clearly knows, at the very least the basics, of business (he teaches it) and incorporated the company. This is pretty valuable. Much different than Kramer on Seinfeld coming up with hair brained schemes to make money ((bladder system for oil tankers, pizza joint where you make your own pie, brazier for men (the “bro” or “manzier”), etc.))…Kramer was spacey and off the wall and thats part of the reason why Jerry always shot down his ideas. not necessarily that the idea was bad, but Kramer might not be the best behind the wheel on the said venture. This guy from finance for life seems like the anti-kramer.

    • Peggy Lawson 2:15 pm on September 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      No, I would not invest with Finance for Life based on the elevator pitch alone, but I might be willing to listen to the venture pitch so I could ask some additional questions. As others have pointed out, the pitchman did a good job of hitting many of the venture pitch points – some personal information about himself as CEO and why we should trust his experience, the market size and location, and the estimated profit – I heard nothing that would differentiate his product from other programs that would make me jump at the offer. Why I would consider investing in his interactive LMS program rather than just having my school division’s own teachers to develop our own interactive course in-house was not addressed.

    • Mike Rae 3:49 am on September 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Because no one can/ will do it

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