In a refreshing deviation from the 80 companies that generally present at a Y Combinator demo day, only seven companies (plus two off the record startups) pitched to investors and the media at the Founder’s Den in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Founders Den is “one part co-working space, with 55 to 60 people working here, and one part clubhouse for experienced entrepreneurs,” said Michael Levit, one of the managing partners, and the group hosts demo days about every six months. When I wrote about the group’s last demo day in September 2012, I explained the structure behind the space:
“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.”
For its relatively short history and small number of companies per demo day (they’ve hosted about 85 in total), Founders Den has hosted a number of interesting companies. They include Datasift, the Twitter data company that we’ve written about extensively, as well as e-commerce company Wanelo and social video startup Socialcam.
My colleague Janko Roettgers has written about Movl, the company that provides tools for multiscreen activity on smart TVs. Jeff Roberts wrote for PaidContent about vidIQ, the company that gives enterprise companies a dashboard of tools for YouTube. And two of the company presentations were off the record. But among the other five, here were the three I’d particularly keep an eye on:
Namo Media comes from Gabor Cselle, the entrepreneur who presented the slightly tongue-in-cheek app Draw Chat at the last Founders Den event, but is now focused on his “million dollar” opportunity (after auctioning off Draw Chat). Namo Media helps apps do in-stream native advertising, inserting sponsored posts into streams just as Twitter does with promoted tweets or Facebook does with sponsored posts.
The team mostly comes from backgrounds at Google, working on products like Gmail (Cselle founded reMail, a mail search app that was acquired by Google in 2010). Namo Media just raised a $1.9 million funding round led by Google Ventures with participation from Betaworks, Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, and angels.
Survata finds users to complete market research surveys, integrating with other websites to easily acquire responses. The company explained the idea behind its product on its website: “Our customers write surveys, and we find respondents to complete those surveys. But, unlike most market research firms, we don’t use traditional research panels. Rather, we collect survey responses via our partner publishers around the web.” The company’s founders noted that they’re doing surveys for groups like Disney, Microsoft, Harvard, and McKinsey.
Rollbar works to help developers find and track errors, installing on sites as “a small library to detect errors and collect context about each,” surfacing the most important issues to the developer’s attention, and then working to understand the problem to find a solution. The company has graduated pricing depending on the scale of operation required.