A minute and a half isn’t a lot of time, but for 11 local entrepreneurs, 90 seconds was all they had to pitch their start-up ideas to a panel of judges Tuesday.
More than 175 start-ups applied to participate in the 7th annual Fast Pitch Competition, held at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and hosted by angel investor group Tech Coast Angels. Eleven finalists were asked to compete.
Among the finalists were a digital platform for making friends offline, a restaurant rewards loyalty program and an online classified marketplace.
Each entrepreneur had 90 seconds to pitch his or her company -- usually beginning with a catchy intro, followed by a formal introduction of the speaker and the company’s concept, and ending with a plan for future goals and a request for a specific amount of funding. They weren’t allowed to use notes, and were prepped in advanced by a team of Tech Coast Angels coaches.
Here’s a snippet from Jeffrey Maganis’ pitch for his Newport Beach company, ChargeAll.
“What happens when you’re out and your cellphone dies? Uh-oh, what are you going to do?” Maganis said. “No really, where can you go to charge your cellphone? I’m Jeff, the inventor and founder of ChargeAll. What is ChargeAll? It’s a cellphone charging station for restaurants, bars, hotels, coffee shops -- literally anywhere you spend time. It’s already being used by the Hilton, Four Seasons, Cheesecake Factory – over 1,500 locations worldwide.”
The 10 judges then had 90 seconds to pepper the entrepreneur with follow-up questions, such as revenue model and how many users the start-up already had. After the question-and-answer period, the judges held up presentation scores from 1 to 10, as well as scores for "investability."
TCA handed out awards for best presentation and investability, as well as a People’s Choice Award based on audience votes (or rather, texts).
Best presentation went to Fanzooloo, a fan-based travel tool that helps sports fans get the most out of a trip before the game, such as helping them locate cheap parking, last-minute tickets or local beers within the ballpark. Best investability and the People’s Choice Award went to Threeday Rule, an invite-only “sophisticated online dating experience.” The start-up offers matchmaking and events.
The winners advance to a Tech Coast Angels screening session for actual seed funding consideration.
The event, which was attended by more than 400 venture capitalists, angel investors, UCLA students and entrepreneurs, also featured a panel discussion on L.A.’s tech accelerators and two keynote speakers.