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NUvention: Web Winter 2014 Pitches

GoTraingo members pitch their fitness startup idea.Teams in the Winter 2014 NUvention: Web course have hit the ground running at a faster pace this quarter.  This year’s teams delivered pitches to more than a dozen venture capitalists and entrepreneurs March 11 in Jacobs Hall on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. And unlike past teams who reached the midpoint of the two-quarter course, most showcased functioning prototypes, in addition to developing Web-based business ideas and researching customer segments.

After last year’s course, the NUvention: Web faculty and advisory board discussed the need for more agile product (Web/mobile app) development to occur in tandem with customer interviews during the first half of the class, said Jeff Lyons, an advisory board member and the operating director of City Capital Advisors.

“In my view, this objective was successfully met with nearly every team having working prototypes of their Web and mobile application to demonstrate,” Lyons said. “Hopefully, this will lead to increased traffic, users, customers and revenue by the final presentations in June!”

With another full quarter to go in the course, the teams have plenty of time to incorporate the feedback received on their pitches into the next iterations of the Web apps.

At this moment, the teams have something to be proud of.

“I was really impressed by the ambition of the teams,” said Mary Lou Song, CEO of Ignite Video. “Challenging problems, creative solutions. I also loved the presentation skills of the teams. Great energy, articulate, confident. “

The teams identified pain points for simple tasks such as navigating and retrieving photos on smartphones or organizing social events on the go and more complex ones such as reducing sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission.

Song was impressed with “teams that could speak to the problem and the solutions they were tackling.”

“I loved how the Shindg team could speak to the space and target customers from personal experience.” Song said. “It resonates. It's authentic. I'm not sure that their current iteration is the right solution to the social calendaring problem. But I hope they keep hammering away at that stone. It's one that needs to be cut.”

Watch all of the presentations below.

View the full list of the startup ideas produced from this year’s course below.

  • CardCast: A secure, cloud-based, digital version of your business card shoebox
  • Stickie: Simple and streamlined tagging and retrieval for smartphone photos
  • Alpaca: Industry-leading social media analytics combined with psychological profiling
  • Vet Compare: Smart shopping and price comparison for your pet’s health
  • OptInRevolution: Matching highly educated stay-at-home moms with challenging short-term projects
  • STIdentify: Reducing STI transmission through a safe and secure sexual partner verification platform
  • ShinDG: Simplifying organization and follow-up for social events
  • GoTraingo: Reducing the cost and hassle of finding personal training
  • SEAM: Improving meeting productivity with an all-in-one tool for prepping, running, and recapping a meeting in record time
  • Closet: Interest-based, peer-to-peer exchange communities
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