During today’s roundtable, we partnered with 3 Day Startup Tel-Aviv to coach entrepreneurs who are getting ready to pitch investors this weekend. The startups are hot off the presses and some have covered impressive ground in a very short time.
Menachem Perlman pitched Videochef for team members Omer Lifshitz, Orly Yeruham, Omri Gabai, and Nitzan Yaakobi. The concept is for chefs to teach men how to cook using an online video platform. 1M/1M premium company ifood.tv offers a food channel for recipe videos, which is the closest comparison I know of in this market. However, I believe Videochef is trying to get celebrity chefs to teach classes based on a ‘paid’ model. This assumption needs to be validated at two levels: (a) are chefs willing to teach such interactive video classes, and (b) are consumers willing to pay? ifood.tv is a free service for consumers and chefs and monetizes via advertizing. They have over 3 million users, and in 2011, the company crossed $1 million in revenue. If Videochef can come up with a validated e-commerce model, ifood.tv may be a strong channel partner for them on a revenue sharing basis.
Last up was the pitching of xGelt – a peer-to-peer mobile payment platform whereby money can change hands via SMS messages. The concept, actually, is gaining ground with many competitors. I pointed the team to Obopay and mChek as two competitors. There are others. The business is operationally complex and challenges are significant in terms of go-to-market, regulations, partnerships with banks, carriers, etc. It is also an extremely capital intensive business to build.
Next, Yael Kochman pitched Qapp, a neat concept for managing long queues on behalf of restaurants, nail salons, etc. – typical businesses that tend to have customers waiting in line. I remember when I was in grad school, a very popular Mexican restaurant in Harvard Square used to manage its queues by offering a device that vibrated once the restaurant had a table available. Qapp is a modern version of this use case employing mobile phone alerts. I like the concept, and Yael is seeing good validation from a couple of merchants already. Running a formal validation exercise across 100 merchants will give her a lot more information about the needs and the usage model. There are multiple options for the go-to-market strategy, including partnering with companies like Yelp, OpenTable, Zagat, etc.
You can listen to a recording of this roundtable here.
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