Elevator Speeches For 12 Software Startups Finishing The HTRLaunchPad Program

Last week, in my communications role, I sat down to write brief descriptions of each Team’s business model for a press release. It was promoting our upcoming Demo Days in Rochester and at the Levin Institute in Manhattan. I realized as I wrote them that even a few weeks ago it would have been difficult to be this succinct. The teams’ progress in refining their model and messages made it relatively easy.

Here is the first shot at it (please note that many of these company names are works in progress):

All Access Menus
Accessible (For hearing and sight-disabled patrons) restaurant menus displayed via mobile apps, that feature food photography and descriptions created by customers. The incentive for the photo collection is a rewards system for the best shots.

EnergyWise Partners
The Energy Wise software platform measures usage of thermal energy generated by geothermal energy systems. The data it sources provides energy investors and sellers with the ability to create an open market in geothermal energy-related financial instruments.

GradeSnap now known as R-T Connections
Gradesnap successfully executed a ‘pivot’, a major change in direction driven by their discovery process, and now offer a new way to connect highly skilled technology students with companies’ specific needs, bypassing the traditional recruitment process.

Gradfly is a social network/portfolio site where STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students can create a profile, showcase projects they are working on with photos and videos, and earn badges in various disciplines. It creates an accessible resource for universities and businesses looking for the best and brightest.

SnapEval/Immense Analytics
SnapEval is a mobile application that managers can use to keep employee evaluation notes in real time. This builds a data set and structure for more accurate employee effectiveness measurement and for identification of trends in management effectiveness across an organization.

LifeSUDS /Symptom Reporting
The LifeSUDS application (mobile/web), developed by two psychologists, enables the collection, in real time, of patient experience of symptoms like anxiety attacks. This offers the therapist the ability to observe the patients experience in a more accurate framework when they are not present, resulting in a more effective therapeutic outcomes.

MyWriting Mate

MyWritingMate works with MS Word to capture a writers habits from behind the scenes, including pace, pauses and stops, cut and paste, corrections, and more. The writer gets insights into their writing habits and writing teachers can see their process, enabling more tailored coaching and teaching.

New Digs
New Digs is a web site and mobile app for landlords serving student markets, and colleges seeking a means to monitor security and quality in off-campus housing.

Parts Dashboard
Parts Dashboard is an affordable application designed to manage complex parts inventory in design, engineering and manufacturing environments.

Qmetrics displays MRI information in a 3D format with color highlighting, enabling radiologists and orthopedic surgeons to more accurately identify problems with knee and other joints.

Quantum Loop/Winokur
Winokur is an ecommerce and social marketing platform for independent wineries. It offers a mobile application for consumers and wine aficionados exploring wineries, and a sales platform for the wineries to manage and sell their inventory.

Roc Innovations/Railcomm
Railroad operators face major safety issues based on the position of switches, stuck crossing gates and stuck brakes on railcars. Roc Innovations offer inexpensive, remote, cloud-based monitoring of these issues via wireless hardware installed in the field.

To learn a lot more and see their refined presentations, get your free tickets to the Demo Day, June 4th at Geva Theater.

Names and Domains

dot_com_250x251Sue Laluk, a partner at the law firm Hiscock and Barkley, spoke to the teams last Friday about copyright and trademarks including issues around naming things. One of the mot important takeaways was that getting the dot com domain for your name is perhaps more important than what that name is. If you cannot secure the domain at dot com, you need to change your business or product name to one that you can get.

This is not insignificant.

If you cannot get the dot com domain (without dashes, etc.), it means someone else has it. You can try to buy it. Fortunately, for early stage startups, you might be able to get it for a decent price because you don’t need it that badly and the seller probably doesn’t know why you want it. If you wait and you start to build a public presence, the seller can do searches on you and raise their prices. The basic process for buying a domain, that is not new, is to do a WhoIs search (your domain registrar/internet provider should offer this) to learn who owns the domain (in some cases the owner’s name is private and it is likely that they do not want to sell it). You then contact them and ask if they are willing to sell and for how much. Let them name a price and then start negotiating. You’ll know quickly whether it’s more than you can afford. If you make a deal there are escrow services that will hold the payment until the domain is transferred to you. Use them. Many domain dealers are unscrupulous.

The preferred route is to find an unclaimed domain through the search service provided by your registrar. If you find one that is available, buy it immediately. You should not pay more than $12 or so. You need to buy it when you find it because it is rumored that many firms monitor domain searches and buy any that are being searched. They then resell them to those who wanted them, for a big premium. I cannot verify that this is true but several domains that I found available were gone the next day when I went to buy them.

The key here is to base your name on the available domain, not vice versa. And don’t worry about being descriptive. You can always add a tagline to deal with that. Short, memorable and easily spelled are better criteria than being descriptive.