The ultimate pitch: 11 startups, 8 minutes, 500 investors

techstars.top.jpgTechStars director David Tisch introduces the program's 11 startups to a crowd of investors By Laurie Segall, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In an old East Village music hall in downtown New York, more than 500 investors from around the country crowded into a dimly lit auditorium to hear 11 startups pitch.

Those 11 startups were chosen from 600 applications for seed accelerator TechStars first New York City program. The accelerator offers up office space, intensive mentorship from some of tech industry's top figures, and access to many of the field's most prominent investors.

After three months of around-the-clock work -- fueled by 234 pizzas -- they took the stage at Webster Hall to demo their creations.

Several went straight for the jugular.

"I'm about to say what the entire media and publishing industry wants to say," OnSwipe CEO Jason Baptiste announced as he began his pitch. "Apps are bullshit."

Baptiste's software makes it easier for publishers to display content and advertising on touch-enabled devices. For those that don't want to invest in creating apps, OnSwipe gives them the opportunity to reach tablets.

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick is a believer: He was OnSwipe's first user and is investing in the company.

"They're very hungry, and they're very talented HTML5 engineers, so that what they've done is really beautiful," he told CNNMoney after the pitch session."It's ultimately going to be a big business."

Nestio CEO Caren Maio was similarly direct: "We're here today because moving sucks," she declared. Her online real estate information hub aims to make apartment hunting easier.

Several founders emphasized their ventures' leanness.

"We're a small and nimble team, and we love Ramen," Friendslist creator Jonathan Wegener told the crowd. His company is developing a "social classifieds" site that works within networks of friends, like a better-curated version of Craigslist.

For those that impressed, the feedback -- and even funding -- came quickly. Moments after Shelby.tv CEO Reece Pacheco left the stage, he got an e-mail from an audience member offering to invest $200,000 in the company. Shelby.tv integrates Twitter, Tumblr, and a host of other networks to build curated video channels for users.

So -- how about that tech bubble?

Those in TechStars' deep-pocketed crowd insisted they know what they're doing.

"You've got to stick to some rules," said StockTwits CEO Howard Lindzon. "For me, even if there's a bubble going on around me, as long as I stick to rules it's like trading stocks."

Betaworks' Borthwick thinks this go-around is very different than the dot-com boom in the late '90s.

Ten years ago companies were "raising money and spending half of that money on buying billboards in Times Square or Route 10," he said. "There was a lot of hype that really wasn't productive for innovation or company building. That's not happening today."

Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group and one of TechStars' co-founders, says he's not that concerned.

"We're early stage investors," he said. "So we know what our entry points are, we don't chase deals, and we don't have to be in all the hot deals."

But he's enjoying the air of excitement: "The level of optimism and enthusiasm for these entrepreneurs, who literally are at the beginning of their journey of creating companies, is stunning," said Feld, whose investment portfolio includes successes like Zynga, FeedBurner and Harmonix.

As TechStars' first NYC crop heads out into the world, director David Tisch is about to begin combing through applications for the program's summer cohort.

As the visibly relieved -- and enthusiastic -- Tisch put it at Demo Day's after-party: "Tomorrow, we start again." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,081.81 57.64 0.32%
Nasdaq 4,786.71 21.29 0.45%
S&P 500 2,087.05 4.88 0.23%
Treasuries 2.29 0.03 1.51%
Data as of Dec 24
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 18.04 0.12 0.64%
Gilead Sciences Inc 92.34 2.89 3.23%
General Electric Co 25.71 -0.17 -0.66%
Cisco Systems Inc 28.57 0.32 1.13%
Apple Inc 112.22 -0.32 -0.28%
Data as of Dec 24

Sections

The city's sanitation commissioner is expected to decide whether recycling foam containers is "environmentally effective" and "economically feasible," by January 1, 2015. More

Cheap gas spreads with a half dozen states poised to join Missouri offering drivers gas for less than $2 a gallon. More

To save a rocket, SpaceX will attempt rocket archery: nailing a bullseye by landing a lower rocket booster on a relatively tiny ocean barge. More

According to data from Google Trends and GrubHub, Chinese food remains the most popular type of food order on Christmas. More

With rents expected to continue to rise faster than incomes, many Millennials may finally start looking to buy homes next year. What they will find are much more favorable conditions. Here's what to expect in 2015's housing market. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.