Pitch Breakfast roundup: Doing good while doing well is hard

What did you miss at Pitch Breakfast this month?

A new app that helps to safely and quickly connect people in emergency or evacuation situations with those able to offer temporary immediate shelter. A SAAS product designed to help musicpreneurs organize their team, deadlines and project files in one place. And a dating app that delivers intelligent matchmaking, automated date scheduling and in-app dating advice.

This month, the founders had two minutes to make their pitch — no visuals allowed — followed by 15 minutes of feedback from a panel of experts that included:

  • Chris Halligan, partner and chief operating officer, Payzer (pictured at right)
  • John Cambier, managing partner, IDEA Fund Partners (at left)

Here were the main takeaways from the judges last week:

Doing good while doing well is hard

In 2017, 6 million people were temporarily homeless due to hurricanes. Adam Huminsky and Brian Hilinski saw in that stunning statistic an opportunity to connect people in need with people who care.

“We witness entire families sleeping in parking lots and rest areas because hotels were charging absurd nightly rates. We saw all that and thought there has to be a better solution,” Humisky explained.

So they created Harmany, a mobile app that allows people in safe locations to offer their homes for a few days for free to anybody who is going through an emergency or evacuation event.

The concept makes for a compelling story, and during the pitch, the company noted that they have received media coverage from various media outlets, including The Washington Post. But the judges had a difficult time understanding if the company was a business or a charity.

“Trying to do good and trying to do well at the same time — almost everyone who tries that fails,” Halligan said. “You are a great presenter, but where I struggle is where you started to talk about revenue.”
Cambier advised the company to find ways to create stickiness by building more features to the app that encourages engagement and user retention.

“Your challenge is that this is an app that you will only need once every 20 years. How do you encourage stickiness?” Cambier said.

But Huminsky remained confident the revenue potential is strong.

“People are going to do this formally or informally. We want to me the first to monetize it,” he said.

Keep it simple and concrete

IOS developer, music producer and creative designer Larry Mickie wants to help musicians manage business like a boss.

So he created Kanari, a SAAS product, to help musicpreneurs organize their team, deadlines and project files in one place.

Following his pitch, Mickie responded to the first few questions with long answers lacking in numbers, simplicity and substance.

Halligan noted that being able to give the specifics around the size of the market resonates with potential investors.

Cambier agreed that concrete details are crucial and must be balanced against the storytelling components of your pitch.

“The challenge with two minutes is that it goes by really quickly. Origin stories can be helpful, but you do need to be careful about taking too long,” Cambier said.

In a flooded market, expand on your target customer

Sterling J. Scott, a former product marketing manager at MapAnything and now director of marketing at Stratifyd, is developing an app to help singles link online so they can connect offline.

Instimate is an app that gives users an easier way to get dates. The moment two people are matched up through the app, it schedules them for a first date, based on mutual restaurant and activity preferences. The goal is to give people more opportunities to make face-to-face connections, rather than laboring over dozens of messages waiting for someone to make the first move. Some of the features include automated date scheduling, intelligent matchmaking tools with security features and in-app dating advice.

The judges both liked the concept but thought the market for matching dates is too flooded.

“To me what you are doing is really cool. The way you position it and the way you build the revenue is too small,” Halligan said. “I would encourage you to step back and say, How could I expand the population?”

Instimate is a good concept that could work well in other customers segments, Halligan added, such as professional matchmaking and other markets.

“There are all sorts of opportunities where the exact same feature function could target an alternative market and serve the advertiser value proposition well,” Cambier explained.
Halligan agreed.

“You have a good tool that has many awesome uses, and I will discourage you from zooming in on this use case to build your business right now. Other people might pay you more and use it more than the specific markets that this iteration attracts,” he said.

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