Startup Pitches Need Emotion -- But Not Like This



Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider

Two startup pitches at today’s LAUNCH Festival revolved around emotions.But one of them aroused exactly the wrong kind of emotions in the judges.

The first was Storybricks, which lets you to build games by adding in your own story lines. The founders said they could focus on education or that it could be used for people for learning disabilities… such as autistic people. By modelling emotions, they said they could show what is appropriate and what not.

Regarding a zombie on the display, the founder said: “Porn and zombies are what people want.”

The judges liked Storybricks’ pitch.


Mailchimp’s Aarron Walter said, “high school kids would just shit their pants for this. If your target market was just high school…instead of playing games, kids would rather just make their own.”

George Zachary from CRV said it “reminds me of Second Life.”

The other pitch didn’t go down so well.

Zabbi is a social network for sharing your emotions. The pitch began with a #Feelingnaked hashtag and the location feature. They ended the pitch by playing ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ and at one point we thought they were going to take off their shirts.

They said that for every one user, they have four invites.

500 Startups’ Dave McClure challenged those numbers, saying that’s not credible.

Another judge asked, “what’s the business model? If people are sad, sell them Prozac?”

McClure said he’s “not convinced you have a real product. I didn’t get what the fuck what you are doing at all. How many people in the room believe this shit? Playing ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ isn’t going to show me your business model.”

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