IMAGINE a large group of users who write stories together one phrase at a time. That is actually the simple and yet brilliant idea from a startup simply calle d Octales. Unanimously, the panel of experts said Octales is a "refreshing" idea after an afternoon of elevator pitches. All in all, 15 startups presented their business ideas.
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By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net "THE LEVEL of carbon dioxide is high in this room," Federico Gonzalez quipped, as he reminded the remaining startups to think about catching the panel's atten tion quickly. "Our attention span is getting shorter," Gonzalez added, which made people laug h. The panel of experts said that one of the important things to consider in doing "elevator pitches" is to convince investors in the first 30 seconds. Eric Manlunas, partner at Global Gateway Venture Capital, suggested to a startu p that they should work on their their PowerPoint presentations, starting with the fonts they use. "You lost me at the first few slides," he told one startup. Serious Gamers, a startup headed by Norman Goss, presented a business simulatio n game aimed at corporate clients who wish to train their sales managers in neg otiations. Goss is incidentally the father of Ranulf Goss, a local game developer. Martin Lichauco, managing director of AO Capital, however, explained that the p anel is meant to help startups "tweak their ideas." Outstanding Informatics, founded by doctors of the University of the Philippine -Manila, pitched the award-winning Community Health Information Tracking System, which is now being deployed in local health center s in the country.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net ON THE ONE HAND, the entrepreneurs here included "bored engineers" who wanted t o have some fun and money, and overachieving students who hope to create a Face book-like service that would help match students with their college or course u sing the idea of crowd-sourcing. On the other hand, you also have more mature firms like Ascendant Technologies, which has been in stealth mode for the past two years and is now ready to "go to the next level" with the patient information system it developed. So far, the ideas presented during the second half of the elevator pitches invo lved business ideas related to e-learning, e-health, and e-government.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net IT was like a press conference where each startup had to undergo grilling from a panel of experts. Startups were given five minutes to talk, and more grilling followed. One of the business ideas that caught the attention of the panel was a simple s tudent information system developed by Integritas Data Management Solutions, wh ich has already developed a product deployed in some local schools. Following a short break, the panel reiterated that startups have to distinguish between the market in general and the "addressable market," which means the target market of a service or a product. Morph Labs executive chairman Winston Damarillo said startups can opt to run de eper on a vertical market and dominate it. Business ideas presented here included an e-learning solution that hopes to be an alternative to existing e-learning platforms. One group presented eDispose, which envisions a portal for selling the unused assets of local government unit s. "We're looking at recurring revenue base and [ideas that] can scale. I don't mi nd me-too ideas," one of the experts on the panel stressed.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net SEVENTEEN startup firms have attended Day 2 of Morph Code, a bootcamp hosted by Morph Labs, Ayala Foundation, and the Philippine Emerging Startups Open Inc. Each company will be given five minutes to present their idea to a panel. "It's going to be fast and furios," said George Telenko, who is moderating toda y's event. The panel is composed of Winston Damarilo, executive chairman of Morph Labs; Ma rtin Lichauco, managing director of AO Capital; Bill Luz, executive vice presid ent of Ayala Foundation; Federico Gonzalez, president and CEO of PESO; and Eric Manlunas. Damarillo also announced that Morph Labs is the first software company in the c ountry to go public. Xlang, a startup that hopes to help people learn a foreign language, started th e ball rolling with its presentation.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net AS you can see from the link we have on the right sidebar of this INQUIRER.net blog, the official Morph Code website is at www.morphXcode.com, which will be updated within the week with today's presentations. Keep checking out that site, and e-mail email@example.com if you have questions or conc erns. *** George Telenko, director for marketing for Morph Accelerator, gave more reminde rs on what to expect on Day 2. He reminded the participants to just give an elevator pitch, meaning a presenta tion of about a minute, that will give an executive overview of their business. This will be followed by a 15-minute Q&A. "Expect the unexpected. There will always be that one question to throw you off ," Telenko said. He added that even if they are not presenting a business idea, people can still attend the event to watch the presentations.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net ELEVATOR pitches, which originally referred to selling ideas within 60 seconds while riding in an elevator with a prospective investor or venture capitalist, have now become pitches you can deliver anywhere, whether on the street or at a cocktail party. It must be presented in simple language, "like you're talking to your mother," Federico Gonzalez, president and CEO of Philippine Emerging Startups Open Inc. , said. As the crowd laughed, he stressed the importance of chance and the opportunity of meeting anyone anywhere, which is why you have to be prepared at all times. "Body language communicates more than 50 percent of the message you intend to g ive. Do more than give recitations," Gonzalez said. So, know your stuff.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net MORPH LABS CEO David Abramowski said software as a service (SaaS) is not so muc h about creating software from the ground up, but of "mashing up" existing Web- based services. To better understand what "mashups" are, he cited the simple concept of file sh aring for photographs. On a superficial level, it is just software that enables users based all over the globe to send, view, and get images from each other. On a business level, however, he said one could go deeper into this software an d look at it as a method for generating revenue. After all, file sharing for photographs can also be a means for users to create products like books, mugs, and T-shirts. Name where you want your photo or you r grandma's to appear, and consider developing that software. In the end, it's all about mashing up the right functions to build your ideal s oftware.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net MORPH LABS CEO David Abramowski's talk gave us the lowdown on setting up a succ essful software as a service (SaaS) business. He started by identifying the need to know your customer and your target market , otherwise you will be kaput. Abramowski emphasized that it's not just knowing the people involved, but also considering the bigger picture, which deals with regions, countries, and langua ges. Focusing on why users should care is another step toward conceptualizing your S aaS. This boils down to how much you know your target market -- identifying wha t their needs and concerns are. Once you have done extensive research on your target market, presenting your Sa aS business is equally as crucial. Instead of recounting all the hardships one has encountered while constructing the software/application, he suggested presenting it in an interesting fashion and talking about how exciting that new software or technology is. "Do that in 20 seconds," he quipped. Also, think of revenue. How you are going to earn revenue? How can others use y our software to earn revenue? Again, the key thing here is to think big, think global. One way to do so, Abra mowski said, is to take advantage of the social media frenzy to tell people abo ut your work. "Find out who blogs to your target market and use Google to find out who's who in the blogosphere," he said. Eventually, these bloggers will start contacting you to record podcasts with th em. Take advantage of every opportunity to market to your target market instead of relying on only one channel. Reach out to other audiences by tapping all sorts of media.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net AFTER quipping that lunch may induce a "food coma," Morph Labs CEO David Abramo wski went ahead and talked about different strategies for growing software as a service (SaaS) businesses. He said SaaS has four key aspects:
- They are Internet-based applications
- They enable anywhere, anytime access
- Users may rent instead of buying, so a great amount of capital is n o longer a necessity
- They require patience for a long tail revenue.