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Founders Den isn’t an incubator, and it isn’t an accelerator. But it held a demo day Tuesday night in San Francisco for some of the group’s handpicked startups to pitch their products to investors, which is as much a classic incubator experience as any.
The group, which is a co-working space in San Francisco that allows startups to join and collaborate on an invite-only basis, typically picks startups that have already been through other incubator programs like Y Combinator (which was heavily represented among Tuesday’s startups.) Startups selected to join pay competitive prices for the space and gain access to a well-connected community in the city.
The space has hosted startups like Tout and Socialcam, although it doesn’t take any equity or provide funding for the companies it hosts. Ten startups pitched to investors on Tuesday night, with three of the ten’s pitches being off the record (Rescale, MeCommerce, and Peek.) The full list can be found on the Founders Den website, and most of the startups have their own sites. Of the seven that were publicly pitched, here were three of my favorites:
Having had plenty of meetings where my laptop refused to download or accept WebX presentations, I was particularly interested in ScreenLeap, which promises to support screen-sharing between co-workers with simply the click of a link, eliminating the need for downloads or apps to quickly share info. The company was founded in October and graduated from Y Combinator. Users of the service simply create a link to share with coworkers who can then access the screenshare immediately.
Streak, which calls itself the “CRM for your inbox,” promises Gmail users the convenience of managing sales clients without ever leaving their inbox to use another service, like Salesforce. Streak, which also graduated from Y Combinator, was co-founded by ex-Googler Aleem Mawani, who worked on Google Docs. It offers features like scheduling emails, tracking relationships with certain clients, and a spreadsheet view within Gmail, all downloaded through a Chrome app. The service is currently free, but the founders note they could be coming out with a premium version as well in the future.
DrawChat is the kind of app that gives Silicon Valley startups a bad rap sometimes (it really is what the name implies — drawing and chatting), but several minutes after the company had finished pitching, I noticed several investors sitting around me tapping on their phones, and no, it wasn’t for email. They were drawing and chatting. Whether the app that’s reminiscent of Draw Something will stick is unclear, but the company has notable startup credentials: one of the co-founders, Gabor Cselle, founded reMail, a mail search app that was acquired by Google in 2010, and who went to work on Gmail and Android. Once downloaded, the app gives users a wide variety of tools to create and send annotated photos via SMS. Imagine your own memes at the tip of your fingers, ready to send to friends.