Recap: Built in Chicago’s September Pitch Event

Five recently launched startups presented their ideas to a packed room full of 350 investors, fellow entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts at last night’s Built in Chicago September event. This month’s pitches were supplemented by one-sentence elevator pitches from a few startups graduating from Excelerate Labs.

Sparked by the high demand for tickets to the annual demo day last week, an event reserved for investors and mentors only, Excelerate announced its decision to do a community demo day this year. Held on September 18th at Second City, the community demo day will showcase these entrepreneur’s impressive ideas to the public.

Excelerate is seeing more of a global reach and has been attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world.

“We drew teams from the largest geography ever, including India and France,” said Troy Heinkoff, the CEO and co-founder of Excelerate. More information about the community demo day can be found here.

Here’s a snapshot of which startup companies presented last night.

Mobile Makers
Mobile Makers strives to build craftsmen in mobile development industry through a 10-week training program. Focused solely on mobile development technologies, Mobile Makers gives developers the proper skills, knowledge and experience to build beautiful, native apps from scratch. In the inaugural class they will offer studio hours and one-on-one mentorship with seasoned mobile developers in addition to class time to help turn developers into masters of the iOS and Android platforms. For more info on Mobile Makers check our our interview with founder Dave Hoover.

The founders of DinnDinn are trying to tap into the social sharing of food photos, an industry that has taken off thanks to Instagram, with a new app that is described as a virtual fridge. Co-founders Kyler Juckins and Jeremy Markham, two 19-year-old entrepreneurs, are taking a lighthearted approach with their app that includes a “virtual tongue”  where users can customize their food preferences and labels in-app friends as “taste buds.” The DinnDinn platforms also allows users to see what restaurant dishes look like before they order, follow friends, celebrities and food connoisseurs to see what they love or hate and express their personal opinions on all things food related.

Birdfeud is a social debate platform that allows users to share their passionate thoughts about a particular topic. Working as a layer on top of Twitter, BirdFeud solves the advertising and group debate issues the real-time update platform has long struggled with. “Twitter is a great platform for open communication, but it struggles with group communication and on-going conversations,” said Andrew Parnell, the founder and product director of Birdfeud. By posting a number of debates on a variety of topics everyday, Birdfeud is giving users a platform to share their passionate thoughts about a particular topic while giving advertisers a new way to communicate with these users. Recognizing the faults of traditional display advertising, Birdfeud gives brands another way to communicate and engage with their consumers while getting personal feedback on their products and services.

A real-time marketplace, PrettyQuick is a convenient way to find and book recommended salon and spa appointments. A mobile solution for salons and spas, PrettyQuick is solving the problem of empty seats, a major pain point for these businesses. On the consumer side, PrettyQuick streamlines the search process and provides up to six different bids that match the users desired services. Using a curated network of salons and spas, PrettyQuick is simplifying a large, fragmented industry. Since launching a week and a half ago, “PrettyQuick has provided 1.5 customers per salon, per day,” said Coco Meers, founder of PrettyQuick. 

Compliment Karma
The premise of Compliment Karma is simple: unlock the benefits of compliments by sending compliments and earning rewards. Targeted towards employers and managers, Compliment Karma provides a platform where users can transfer their achievements and accolades from old jobs, helping to build proof of experience in this rapidly changing job market. The cloud-based service allows users to earn rewards and provides employers with analytics. 

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