Want to hatch a great idea?

I attended The Hatchery tonight. A rather brilliant opportunity for you to pitch your present idea “The Gauntlet”, and get “The Panel” to provide expert advice your friends are not going to tell you. Ultimately you are also seeking money as well as expertise.

The panel tonight for June 6, 2007 was excellent. A great mix of experience and expertise. I was impressed with the level of knowledge and diversity of questions asked. They were all smart people!

  • Emcee – Yao-Hui Huang
  • Natalia Allen – Design Futurist, Schlossberg Flynn
  • Anne Andiorio – Digital media, services, technology guru
  • Stacy Robin – Managing Partner, The Degania Group
  • Pamela Robertson – Partner, Edwards, Angell Palmer & Dodge
  • Sarah Tavel – Analyst, Bessemer Ventures
  • Peggy Wallace – Co-Leader of NY Forum, Golden Seeds

So, “The Eggs” for the evening were four.

Smart Medical Consumer

We started with Dr. Banu Ozden and Smart Medical Consumer. The concept was “Web Services for consumers for their medical finances”. The mission is to help people besides being a profitable company. The target is the Consumer Health Care IT which is presently a hot topic, and the target audience was subscribers – people that use this site to hold medical expense data, and visitors for providing information.

There were a number of things that stood out for me. First, when presenting slides, use a larger font. A slide is a summary, not a resume on a page for example. Second, they are trying to base a revenue model on Internet advertising rather then a subscription model. This may be ok, when the advertising can be very selective, but as it was indicated they would be seeking their own advertising, a very time consuming task. For anybody that follows the Internet closely, you can’t solely based your revenue model on this and expect to predict accurately the results. While it appeared there were strong skills and experience in IT, there was a clear lack of Internet knowledge. The web site is very drab. While it’s serving a purpose and attracting generally a lower level of attendee, web sites get 3-5 seconds viewing time unless you have gone to the web site specifically. For this project the bulk of visitors are going to be people who stumble across the site.
A question raised by the panel, and discussed more with the people around me was security. The question was not answered satisfactory, infact it was not part of the presentation, it should have been. Security is critical, and the web is inherently insecure. This will be a hurdle I believe this site will not overcome.


FlyUpload – share your files, is a file sharing site. They offer nothing special, nothing new, nothing different. There was plenty of talk about being better, but in reality it was unclear. Combined with the founders being former founders of a previous startup, from which they purchased the IP, and is still in operation, an unclear advertising model, and unclear answers towards both the concerns of bandwidth and ultimate purpose. It appeared from the presentation, they were going to share your information as an advertising means, and also analyze your data for advertising opportunities. The presenter was unclear in a number of topics, and simply repeatably didn’t answer the questions posed by the panel.

Match My Pet

Prior to this presentation, there was a short break, however the slide for this site Match My Pet was put up. So, discussion was definitely more on this topic then the last. It lead to a number of jokes, like is this a dating site for pets etc.

The presentation of the idea was actually the best so far. The presenter gained the interest of the audience via some clever input, such as “P2P” (Pet-to-Pet), “B2B” (Breeder-to-Breeder) and P2B. They provided a one stop shop including GeoPet, PetStore, Recipet, Pricipet, Wikipet, and Vet911. It was clear from words of the presenter he was targeting “Breeding Services/Matching Services”, however a question from the panel was “Chapter 1 of the VC book – Focus” and it was clear there was not a clear focus. I also feel the presenter didn’t quite get the question in all dimensions. It also related to vertical. There was some talk about the horse breeding market, however it was also clear this was more as a by product rather then selectively researching and targeting this audience.

This project obviously started from having fun, and moving from there into a business. To be successful however, you need a plan, and to speak in front of potential VC’s you need a rock solid plan. This wasn’t that.

I think there is opportunity for the site “Pimp your Pet”. I also think, there is an opportunity for a “Hot on Not” for pets, obviously people love their pets.

License Sandbox

Augustine Fou of LicenseSandbox got it. I don’t know if HatchedBy seeded the presenters to a crescendo but they ended clearly on the best presentation.

His point was clear, his slides were minimalistic, yet portrayed his point clearly, also showing the fruit of this venture (i.e. photos), and he knew the VC talk. He used the right buzz words, and he knew his figures when asked by the panel. So what is.

“Find+License+Pay” An opportunity to target the non-professional content providers, what he calls “The Meaty Middle Opportunity” between the dollar bin and the expensive “getty type” service. While he quickly ran out of time (speakers get a 5 minute egg timer) there is clear potential, and they are targeting something unique, but clearly value adding. First by negotiating with the larger ad agencies, facilitating buyers and sellers and adding a layer of intelligence into the clear minefield of finding valuable content. In addition, for me he hit the spot. I am a serious photographer, everybody tells me I should sell my stuff, however I don’t want to have to be drawn away from what I enjoy, the taking photographs in order to market and sell my stuff. This could be a happy medium and I’m definitely going to try it out.

Augustine was also up on what’s hot, with his Moo Cards. I wonder however, how many people like me were able to know that immediately!

Closing Comments

I remember a TV show in Australia called The Dragons Den. A similar upmarket pitch your presentation for money, and the panel had money to burn.

The forum was excellent, but for me I’ve not got one idea at a stage. I actually need the help getting to the stage to being able to present to VC’s.

In addition, all presenters need to look closely at the presentations to learn how to present better, be better prepared, relate better, and also know how to answer questions. The personalities of the panel were different, you could interprete from the types of questions how the answers needed to be structured.

Top marks Yao, I think you are at the leading edge of a great concept here in NY.

Some ideas

Almost forgot to mention, here are some ideas.

  1. There was no opportunity for the audience to say anything, with the limited format this could be a disaster, however I propose two options.
    • There is a 5 minute breakout between each talk, allowing the audience to at least approach the speaker, give 15 seconds what they would like to contribute to, let the speaker hear them all, then decide to schedule more dialog. Interested parties get to hear all the 15 second inputs from the crowd.
    • More and more people will bring laptops (you will need more chair space), but savvy people can post comments very quickly and a moderator could collate, and say there is 5 minutes at the end of the moderator asking questions from the audience. This way it can be controlled via time. Very easy to leverage technology to do this. At a recent conference of 1500-1600 people, up to half the audience had laptops, in the smaller breakout rooms it would have been more then 50%
  2. I’d like to see more an ideas incubator, maybe more a town meeting type style. The problem is structure. It would need some consideration, the upcoming Hatch Match in August may be the place, will need to wait and see