Our spring NY conference, Startup 2010: The Mobile Revolution, kicks off tomorrow morning at the NYU Stern School auditorium.
We have a bunch of great speakers who will help us figure out the future of the mobile Internet business, as well as 10 startup finalists who will make pitches to our panel of VCs. Edelman will tell you how to get great startup PR, and six top VCs will explain what persuades them to hand over boatloads of cash. At the end of the day, we’ll deliberate, and then we’ll award a $25,000 investment from General Catalyst Partners to the winning startup. As promised, we’ll also give away a bunch of iPads.
We’re getting very close to capacity, so as much as we want to keep it startup-casual, we can’t promise that we can get you in if you just show up at the door (we’ll try, but no promises). If you want to come, we strongly recommend that you buy your ticket now.
Here’s how the day will go down…
Registration starts at 8AM. Join us for bagels and cream cheese.
At 9AM, I’m going to ask Dennis Crowley, the CEO of one of the hottest companies on earth, Foursquare, what will happen when Facebook launches “check-ins” and tries to kill him. Earlier this decade, Dennis founded a proto-Foursquare company called Dodgeball, which he sold to Google. Google then destroyed it. Dennis then founded Foursquare, which is now the clear leader in location-based check-in services. I have a bunch of questions for Dennis, including what it was like to watch Google destroy his first company, whether this “check-in” thing is really going to go mainstream (really? My dad is going to check-in?), and, yes, what happens to Foursquare when Facebook, Google, and everyone else try to put Foursquare out of business.
At 9:30, our first five startups make their investment pitches. Unlike other startup conferences, these are not product pitches. They’re 5-minute investment pitches. The VCs have been ordered not to make happy, encouraging, and disingenuous noises. They’ve been ordered to ask the same questions they would ask in an investment meeting. Nicholas Carlson will play Ryan Seacrest and shepherd the companies through their grilling.
At 10:30, Dan Frommer will grill Nick Denton of Gawker, Justin Shaffer of Hot Potato, Eric Litman of Medialets, and Ted Morgan of Skyhook over whether mobile apps are really as big a deal as everyone thinks. If mobile apps (specifically, iPhone apps) take over the world, this will have huge implications for the giants of online web advertising and commerce, including Google. I, personally, think apps are VASTLY over-rated, at least for media companies, but some folks on our panel surely disagree.
At 11:15, our second group of startups will make their investment pitches. They’ll be feeling like cattle, by now, and our VCs will be running low on chipper-ness. So the CEOs had best be on top of their games.
At noon, we’ll break for lunch, and Ethan Rasiel of Edelman will teach anyone who wants to listen how startups can get killer buzz.
At 1:30, it will be the VC’s turn on the hot seat (with me interrogating them): What’s the portfolio company they are most excited about and why? Why did they invest? Because they were brilliant? Or because all their VC friends descended in a herd?
At 2:15, I’m finally going to figure out if/how people are actually going to make any money in mobile–by grilling Kevin Ryan of Gilt Groupe, Walt Doyle of Where.com, and SAI’s Dan Frommer. I personally think the whole “mobile advertising” thing is VASTLY over-hyped, so it will be interesting to where (if) there’s actually any money to be made.
At 3PM, Dan Frommer will pry the future of mobile video out of Bob Bowman, the CEO of MLB.com. MLB.com is wildly successful–a huge online company owned by the Major League teams. If you’re like me, you’re outraged that a cable company can still dictate whether and where you can watch your favourite sports teams play, and you can’t wait for the cable company to get disrupted so you can watch the games on your iPad. Bob Bowman knows when and how that will happen. Dan’s going to get him to tell us.
At 3:30, we deliberate about which startup we want to invest in. Unvarnished truth and opinion. This is what happens after entrepreneurs leave their VC pitches. So you might as well witness it firsthand.
At 4:10 PM, we vote–you, too. If the technology works right, you’ll see the votes appear immediately on the screen.
At 4:15 PM. we give away the four iPads that we managed to procure even though they were sold out. Want a chance to win one? Dump your business card in the bowl and place your arse in a chair. If you’re not there to claim yours, it’s going to someone else.
At 4:30 PM or so, we announce the startup winner. A $25,000 investment from General Catalyst and $75,000 in other services. Not bad for a day’s work!
At 4:45PM, we drink. You, too, of course!
Look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
(Still on the fence? Then you’d better buy your ticket before the last few are gone >)