PitchBreakfast roundup: Networking help, local culture and birthday cake

Happy 6th birthday to Pitchbreakfast!

What did you miss at PitchBreakfast last week?

One app strives to help you connect with the right people, professionally. Another app makes it easier to find local artists. And there was a birthday party.

This month we featured two companies in the regular PitchBreakfast format. During the event, each company had five minutes (with slides) to pitch followed by ten minutes of feedback from our panelists. We also had cake.

The panelists included:

  • Rob Cummings, Private Equity MD, Entrepreneur, Software Executive and Investor
  • Mark Bruinooge, Managing Director, Clear Path Foundation
  • Daniel Friel, Innovator, Board Advisor & Founder

Here were the main takeaways from last week:

What’s the problem?

Have you ever been to a conference and wanted to connect to others in attendance, but weren’t sure where to begin? Sure you could make the rounds and you may make a connection, but it’s a gamble.

Dave Bodel took the crowd to Las Vegas — visually, with a slide showing the Strip — when describing the need for a technology-driven solution to achieving better connections at conferences. His solution is CERCA, an app he founded that allows consumers to find and connect with people who move them forward professionally.

Cummings voiced concern about similar products already in existence and encouraged Bodel to look at a partnership model for his technology.

Brooniage thought more time needed to be spent explaining the current problem in this space. “Make the point quicker and focus on [CERCA being a] smarter networking assistant,” he said. “Spend more time showing what engagement looks like. Walk us through an example showing an old-school method.”

What have you learned?

Draba Founder Davis Parker was amped up about what his product can do for the music and arts scene in Boone, N.C. and eventually other markets.

Draba aggregates local independent activity, culture, and events in one marketplace. Consumers provide feedback and rate local artists, musicians and restaurants. In return, Draba generates a real-time, crowdsourced feed of the best culture in the local area.

“There’s a chicken and egg theory with marketplaces,” Friel cautioned. “You need to address in the presentation, how am I gonna get the customers there and how am I gonna get the creatives to use it.”

Parker explained how Draba’s app amplifies exposure and visibility for local art, music, performance, food and beverage, film, fashion, literature, and digital content to cultivate a community where self-expression flourishes and thrives.

The product launched in beta in Boone on Dec. 1 and is planning a full launch on March 15.

What have you learned since Dec. 1?” Brooniage asked. “Get a little tighter on what you’ve learned and show what you want to prove in March.”

Happy Birthday, PitchBreakfast!

Last week, PitchBreakfast celebrated its 6th birthday and attendees had cake.

Vic Howie launched PitchBreakfast in 2013. Since then, more than 300 startups have pitched to esteemed panelists at 72 PitchBreakfast gatherings.

“This is the best meetup in town,” Friel said. “Each month there are new people that want to innovate and want to learn.”

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