The lights dim and the crowd goes wild. Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind starts blaring. One by one, the stars emerge from back stage, shaking the hand of fans as they walk by.
No, what we just described was not a concert. It was not a sporting event.
It was Techstars NYC Demo Day, where 31 entrepreneurs gathered this morning to show the world the startups they’ve been quietly working on.
Five hundred investors gathered to cheer on the founders. One attendee told us he’s never seen a crowd of VCs behave that way before. He said he half expected them to throw their panties on stage in wild adoration.
An unfamiliar face announced the first startup — it was a clean-shaven David Tisch.
The Techstars managing director explained that 1,200 companies applied to the program. In the end, twelve companies were selected, 25 New York-based investors gave the startups money, and every company, he thinks, will raise capital.
Contently demoed first. It pairs freelance writers with brands that want to become publishers, like American Expess Open Forum or LinkedIn’s career blog.
The founders said they were raising $3 million with $500,000 already committed. A venture capitalist told us Contently was being modest. They really have about $2.2 million committed.
Ordr.in presented next. It is an ecommerce platform for restaurants, and it’s turning every Facebook page into a food-ordering capable microsite. Ordr.in already raised a seed round from Google Ventures and it is currently raising a $1 million Series A.
Thrillist’s Ben Lerer introduced Spontaneously, a mobile application that find available friends and helps users make plans together. Leher Ventures and Accel Partners are investors in Spontaneously.
Piictu has been a Techstars company to watch since it launched last month with $750,000 in financing. It’s just like Twitter, but it’s a picture stream. Users can only comment on pictures by adding pictures.
It sounds abstract but branding possibilities on Piictu are endless. Jetblue already asked Piictu’s 1.8 million unique visitors to take pictures of places they were flying to. A member of All American Rejects asked fans to send him pictures of their guitars.
Sidetour was another popular presentation. The startup announced a $1.5 million round of financing led by Foundry Group and RRE yesterday. It is a more passion-driven SkillShare, with small classes taught by talented people and professionals.
“When was the last time you had a truly remarkable experience in your own city?” the founders asked. Sidetour wants to faciliate those experiences.
ChatID is a business to customer IM service. If you’d like to IM with Apple about getting the new iPhone 4S, you can use its service. Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow is a fan; he told the Techstars crowd he’d be investing in ChatID. The startup already has $1 million+ from investors committed.
Thrive Capital invested in Dispatch.io, another Techstars company. Dispatch.io wants to be your front door to the cloud. The founders say people use multiple cloud services to store documents, from Google Docs to Dropbox. Dispatch.io connects all of these services in one place — a place that kind of looks like a Finder window on a Mac. Documents can be dragged and dropped from one account to another without a hitch.
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