Live Blogging TechStars New York Demo Day--Oct. 18, 2011

[ David Tisch at the April 2011 Demo Day in New York. Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford. ]

You thought the TechStars New York class that debuted in April was impressive? Well, David Tisch, who runs the New York program, thinks you might be even more wowed when you see the summer 2011 class of 12 companies at Demo Day on Oct. 18. We hear Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be there, too.

Btw, members of this class have already raised serious money: SideTour $1.5M from RRE and Foundry Group (announced Oct. 17); Coursekit $1M from Founder Collective, IA Ventures, Shasta Ventures and some angels (June 27); and Piictu $750K from SoftBank Capital, RRE Ventures, and Betaworks (Sept. 22).

Come back here for the live blog starting at 6am PT/9am ET. [ Relive the glory of the August 2011 TechStars Boulder Demo Day. ]


UPDATE: Due to technical difficulties, TechStars could not stream the end of its demo day. LAUNCH has been in contact with Dave Tisch and will update this post when we can access the video. 

[8:29] TechStars went offline. We will resume live blogging once the stream has returned.

[8:25] Neil Blumenthal, former director of Vision Spring, introduces Wantworthy. 

[8:24] $1M committed in seed round. Dan says ChatID is eliminating friction in purchase decisions by providing effortless and seamless communication across the web. 

[8:22] Companies exchange messages through one API. Now airlines can engage prospective customers as they're selecting flights on a booking engine. ChatID pulls the data into their dashboard to see the communication happening between the company and their customers. Dan says they're working with the CTO of Best Buy and have partnered with Bing to power chat to any business directly from their search results. 

[8:21] ChatID integrates with businesses existing chat systems. Now, the conversation will start from anywhere. SaaS company with a monthly fee that charges businesses based on data volume.

[8:19] Powers chat communication between businesses and consumers anywhere on the web and through any mobile device. "Consumers are texting and chatting today more than ever." 47B messages sent every day.

[8:18] Dan Herman, CEO of ChatID, says their platform lets businesses engage consumers everywhere. Leaders in XMPP, known as Jabber, which powers video chat. Google and Facebook also use XMPP. 

[8:17] Mike Lazaro, CEO of Buddy Media, talks about ChatID via video stream.  Says he will invest and advise in the company.

[8:15] Raising $800K to manage team and maintain customer growth. $600K committed. Saving room for investors with experience in SaaS and big data.

[8:14] Companies can see social metrics, interests and other brands customers are promoting. Companies can see location-specific data and the most successful social channels for them. 

[8:13] A company using Ambassador has $56K in additional referral revenue.

[8:12] SendGrid uses Ambassador. They wanted to reward a percentage of the revenue each time a customer was referred. Ambassador creates unique sharing links for SendGrid.

[8:11] Ambassador is a social referral platform that lets companies track and manage customer referral programs. He says having vocal online ambassadors is key. Says most companies have no way to encourage and measure those recommendations.

[8:10] How many of you have a Facebook or Twitter account? Introduces Jeff Epstein from Ambassador.

[8:09] Has partnered with Foundry and RE. Raising $1.5M in seed capital.

[8:07] 6.5 people on average attend each SideTour. SideTour makes $76 on every experience. Some hosts are monks. Vision is to build a global peer-to-peer marketplace for local activities. 

[8:05] SideTour let an aerosol artist from Brooklyn help people understand why graffiti is part of every urban landscape. He manages his scheduling, booking and communication all in one place from SideTour. He can prices the experience at $60 per person, adding up to $20K/year. The average price per SideTour booking is almost $60 per person.

[8:04] SideTour is a peer to peer marketplace for unique experiences hosted by talented individuals. Every SideTour is designed as a small group event to bring together like-minded individuals.

[8:03] Vipin says he doesn't want to have to go far to experience life. Says every city is full of remarkable people. "When was the last time you had a truly remarkable experience?"

[8:02] Vipin Goyal of SideTour walks on stage to "Encore" by Jay Z. He says, that's him on that elephant.

[8:00] Six more companies coming out. Brad Feld jokes about having a request for dance moves and sings, "I'm a VC, I'm a VC. I drive a Prius and I meet over sushi."

[7:58] "I hope you hire a lot of people, I hope you make a lot of money and I hope you pay a lot of taxes," Bloomberg says. "We need that."

[7:57] Bloomberg LP started as a small company. Now has offices in 120 cities and is continuing to grow. Bloomberg wants New York to be the global leader in technology. 

[ 7:55] Etsy, Tumblr, Foursquare, Meetup. The inaugural class from TechStars in April are all funded and all hiring.

[ 7:54 ] He says world class universities want to open campuses in New York. Someone told him New York could never be the college town of America, but he disagrees. Bloomberg says, "New York City has more undergraduate and graduate students than Boston has people."

[7:53] Co-sponsored largest gathering of East Coast leaders. Says they're doing everything they can to attract the best and the brightest.

[ 7:51] Bloomberg says New York is looking to grow its tech sector. New York partnered with universities to provide cheap office space for incubators and startups. They have established NYC Entrepreneurial Fund, which is the first of its kind outside of Silicon Valley. 

[7:50] Talks about days before computers and before the Internet. As companies get bigger, you have to delegate. Bloomberg says he tries to hire people who are smarter than him and that's why his company is so successful.

[ 7:49 ] I was lucky to have been a partner of Solomon Brothers. I got my share of it. There was never a day when he doubted it, but there were days where he took a deep breath and moved on. Tried to be first one in the morning and last one out at night. 

[7:47] Talks about getting fired from Solomon Brothers. He says getting fired is great. He says some of them ended up working for Bloomberg. If they hadn't pushed him out, he says he would've been working for Citibank where his girlfriend would be his boss. He says it's more exciting to be an entrepreneur.

7:44 ] Bloomberg says New York is the media capital of the world, publishing capital  and cultural capital of the world. He says the film industry has moved to New York City. 

[ 7:43 ] Mayor Bloomberg says "it's great to be here at demo day." Bloomberg talks about the TechStars reality shows. He says,  "This is our answer to jersey shore without the spray tan." Mayor Bloomberg jokes that when Dave Tisch dropped the f-bomb, he must of thought he was Snookie

[ 7:36 ] Waiting for special guest Mayor Bloomberg. 

[ 7:34 ] A number of them that I've mentored are now my peers. We really work hard to help the entrepreneurs build a product. What you're seeing today is 90 days of hard work around building a business. The companies learn how to present what they do and talk about what they do, not just in a sterile, dull way. Companies learn how to describe their companies more passionately. He says everyone who comes in to the program is very passionate.

[ 7:33 ] The mentors help TechStars founders understand how to give advice. 

[ 7:32 ] What's the caliber of the presentations? To Seth, within a range, what we're starting to see is that the presentation dynamic and presentation caliber is really off the charts across the board. Learned in year one or two of tech stars that many entrepreneurs don't know how to present what they do. They struggle with being able to succinctly describe their business and why people should care.

[ 7:30 ] Brad Feld comes on stage as the "post-break, post intermission, pre-special guest entertainer."

[ 7:11 ] After the 15 minute break, Mayor Bloomberg will speak. 

[ 7:07 ] Jon says people use pictures as a status update, as a check in,etc. "We've come away from the traditional family portrait." He says we're in the "age of participatory content." He says even his mom knows what planking is because of the power of imagery. We all share and discover content everyday, ultimately to belong. Jon says Piictu goes beyond time, lcoation and culture. He says there's a huge opportunity for brands to connect with their audience. Users become advocates while creating. For example, Piictu partnered with JetBlue and asked people to submit pictures of where they're going. There have been 1.9M sessions to date.

[ 7:05 ] John Steinberh, president of Buzby, introduces Piictu CEO Jon Slimak. Piictu is a visual network where every interaction happens through the exchange of a picture. Jon says the mobile app lets you connect through direct picture conversation. Has been live for 12 weeks.

[ 7:00 ] Josh says Spontaneously "will be the platform that owns time." Massive businesses have been built on what to do and who to see but no one has built a solution to when. Spontaneously will connect you with friends who are available and nearby. Users will be able to book tickets and make reservations using the app and advertisers can target customers based on calendar history and future availability. 

[ 6:57 ] Joshua Kaey says Spontaneously is a service that helps you get together wth your favorite people more often. Admits there's aleady a ton of ways to interact with people online. Josh says that online, you could never share a beer, play real ping pong or have a dance party. He asks, "why dont people get together in ther real world more often." Set your availability with Spontaneously and send it to a pre-determined list or with people who don't even use the service. 

[ 6:56 ] Lerer Ventures introduces Spontaneously. Says they're tackling a massive problem.

[ 6:55 ] Raising seed round of $500K to further optimize technology. Will fund Series A in 2012 to continue to scale business. Matt says mobile advertising has been stifled by inefficiency. 

[ 6:53 ] MobIntent analytics tells you how your campaign has performed and why it's performing that way. tells you about time of day, geography. Optimizing for clicks and delivering results that advertisers want. Created a restfful API to let advertisers specify the metrics they want to optimize camaigns against. Mobile commerce players might want to optimize against shopping cart views. Matt admits that this is a nerdy business but says, "We are the nerds to make this business happen."

[ 6:49 ] MobIntent CEO Matt Chun wants to optimize mobile ad campaigns. He says there's something weird going on in mobile. People spend enormous amounts of time on their phones but creating and managing campaigns in mobile is a huge pain. Smart optimization layer ranging from mobile web to in-app inventory to search to real-time bidding exchanges. 

[ 6:40 ] Mark Lizoain of Urtak says that there is a human need to answer questions and share opinions. Urtak is a question and answer service to create more engagement and interactions on websites. For The Blaze, the average Urtak user answers 22.8 questions per session and there are 84.7 answers on the average user profile. Mark says for every comment you receive, you can expect 100 responses. He says Urtak is 100 times better than comments. Works on the web, tablet and mobile apps. Wants it to be as ubiquitous as comments are today. Raising $1M. 

[ 6:38 ] David announced that Google Ventures led's seed round. Raising Series A funding. 

[ 6:37 ] David says they want to create a Facebook food ordering app that turns any page on Facebook into a food ordering page. Microsoft built an app that will white-label for Windows 7 phones. 

[ 6:35 ] Wyndham hotels is partnered with David says they'll building virtual reservation widget that their rolling out across North America 

[ 6:34 ] Don't need sales and services team, which lets them scale fast. Has already reached 7K restaurants. See LAUNCH profile here

[ 6:32 ] brings about fundamental changes to restaurant industry. Born from his 10 years working in and around restaurants. An API at heart that can turn any app or website into a food service. It's $170B market. 

[ 6:31 ] Gillian introduces She says David Bloom, CEO, is known for stalking people in the restaurant industry. She says he's after something really big. David walks out to Das Racist's "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell."

[ 6:24 ] Contently takes the stage. It's a professional writing marketplace for brands.

[ 6:18 ] Dave Tisch recognizing work of mentors and investors. Asks them to stand. Dave says he's confident that these 12 companies will be impressive. The format will be 6 demos, a short break and then 6 more. Introduces David Cohen.

[ 6:08 ] Dave Tisch is asking people to take their seats now. 

[ 6:03 ] Waiting for demo day to kick off while listening "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People.