Y Combinator’s Summer 2011 Demo Day: The Definitive Debrief, Part 2
The Y Combinator startup incubator program in Mountain View, CA, is getting so big—63 companies presented at Demo Day this Tuesday, about half of them on the record—that we couldn’t squeeze summaries of even the on-the-record subset into a single article. Part 1 of our YC S11 debrief appeared yesterday and covered the first half of the alphabet, from Aisle50 through MongoHQ. Today we cover the second half, from Munch on Me through ZigFu.
Each listing includes a link to the company’s website, the names of its co-founders, the tag line provided by the company, and my summary. As a new element this time around, I’m also including my quick personal take on each startup.
Jason Wang, Richard Din, Tony Li
“Get your Nom On.”
Munch on Me is a Groupon-inspired daily deals startup focused on specific restaurant dishes. The company argues that deals from Groupon and LivingSocial aren’t ideal for restaurants, since many deal buyers are bargain hunters who don’t contribute to repeat traffic. Munch on Me works with restaurants to pick a single dish and promote it for an entire week. The startup says that 75 percent of members who redeem an offer end up buying something else at full price, and that 100 percent of its early testing partners have stuck with the service. Munch on Me offers deals in six cities right now, and plans to expand to 30 over the next year.
My take: I was a little surprised by how many YC companies this year were simultaneously criticizing and imitating Groupon.
Chris Tam, Paul Chou
“Yelp for individual service professionals.”
Once you know that “individual service professionals” means bartenders, realtors, musicians, sales associates, and other people whose success depends on the quality of their interactions with customers, you understand what Opez means when it says it’s the equivalent of Yelp for these workers. At the Opez site, customers can leave reviews for specific professionals rather than their employers or venues, allowing them to build up a following that can boost their careers. Professionals might also be able to distribute promotions to their followers, “turning them into miniature Groupons,” in Opez’s words.
My take: Clever, but how often do you get the name of your bartender and remember to (or want to take the time to) write a review of him when you get home from the bar? Also, LinkedIn has a pretty big head start as a repository for professional references.
Jeff Widman, David Turner
“Analytics to help marketers be more successful in social.”
Facebook provides owners of fan pages with an analytics dashboard called Insights that can show trends in things like how many people visited a page or contributed content. But by grabbing other data available through Facebook’s public application interfaces, PageLever says it can assemble much richer analyses that help companies attract and engage more fans—for example, by advising them on when to post a newsfeed item to reach as many fans as possible. Disney, Starbucks, MTV, Nike, Target, and YouTube are already using the tool, and the startup says it’s bringing in $25,000 per month in revenue.
My take: With so many startups offering social media analytics tools for marketers, it was only a matter of time until one came along focusing specifically on Facebook fan pages. For companies with the kind of brand recognition that can bring them hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, I’m sure the extra data is worth the modest cost ($34 to $94 per month).
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