Digital Demo Day has returned for a second consecutive year, with 500 Startups showcasing Batch 27 to a global network of investors, corporates and press.
Twenty-nine companies delivered pre-recorded presentations in a live streamed event, with more than 1,300 RSVPs from around the globe, and the live stream netting 6,000+ views.
Fittingly, Batch 27 startups tackled issues and opportunities that look increasingly relevant following the upheavals of 2020–innovating in areas such as the future of work, fintech, healthcare and more. “They are ready for a post-COVID-19 world,” said Christine Tsai, Founding Partner and CEO of 500 Startups, during the event.
500 Startups hosted Digital Demo Day through Filo, setting up an online space where attendees could connect and learn about the companies. Founders each had their own demo day “booth,” a channel where they uploaded presentation decks, videos and their team’s info. Each booth also had a dedicated chat and Zoom, where founders and participants interacted before, during and after presenting.
The event saw significant social interaction throughout the day, with a chat in the main channel blowing up with comments during presentations. But the more important networking happened inside the founders’ private booths and other Filo spaces, where attendees dropped in to ask questions, schedule meetings and network.
Each booth included the founder’s calendar, allowing participants to book time slots—a feature that saw attendees snapping up meetings. “The results have been overwhelming, we are booked straight for the next two weeks,” said Samantha Cutler, CCO of Clout Jam, a business management platform for online creators and influencers. “It’s great to see that our message resonated with so many global investors and not just those in Silicon Valley.”
Presenting through a digital format may still be a major adjustment for startups and Demo Day attendees alike, but it’s giving founders a forum they need to showcase their companies. Kelly McDonald, CEO of Kyndoo, a platform tackling social media influencer fraud, attribution and content safety, said Digital Demo Day allowed her to demonstrate her startup isn’t just another run of the mill influencer marketplace, but a data company. “It’s also an amazing opportunity for us to find potential partnerships with large corporate companies that may need our help as a service for their brand, or for a consumer investor portfolio,” said McDonald.
It helped that in year two of Digital Demo Day there was more time to prepare. Last year 500 Startups was forced to transition to a digital format at the last minute as the COVID-19 pandemic unfurled. That led to a whole new take on demo day—as well as creating lasting impact through an investor Slack community that lived on after the event, called 500VC.
Following the pivot to an online demo day, programming from 500 Startups has continued to adapt to changes brought by 2020. It switched to a new virtual-first accelerator program, which accepted nearly 40 companies from around the world to its first rolling admissions program (the latter was in works before the pandemic).
500 is also now focusing on equipping founders with additional tools and resources, such as integrating environmental, social and governance frameworks (or ESG) into investment decision making and portfolio support.
“Like all of you we had little idea what impact COVID would have and how the year would unfold,” said Tsai. “At the same time we knew that in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.”
Digital Demo Day 2021 offered a glimpse of some of those opportunities. Here’s a rundown of Batch 27 startups, broken down by respective focus areas:
Future of Work
Sendspark: video platform for businesses intended to humanize their communication and connect with customers online.
AVATOUR: remote collaboration platform for on-site meetings.
Pineapple: hiring platform for Gen Z that uses visual stories to replace resumes.
Stack: a productivity-focused tabless web browser for internet multitasking.
Workclass: matches frontline job seekers with employers in Southeast Asia.
Grow: helps teams share better and faster feedback.
Get on Board: recruitment platform for Latin America’s tech industry, offering tools for recruiters and a curated experience for jobseekers.
E-Commerce and Reseller Marketplaces
AppBind: platform bringing SaaS into the reseller market.
EcoCart: simplifies sustainable shopping for eco-conscious buyers.
Invidica: a B2B wholesale marketplace connecting brands to retailers while utilizing analytics to help increase buying potential.
Developers and Security
Adapty: helps companies manage and grow mobile in-app subscriptions.
Amixr: open source incident observability platform for DevOps and SRE.
Penfield: cybersecurity startup modeling cybersecurity analyst skill sets in real time to facilitate contextual decision-making.
Plant an App: low code, cloud based developer platform designed to facilitate rapid deployment of web applications.
MightyFly: develops autonomous cargo aircraft to reduce the time and cost of expedited deliveries for businesses and governments.
Omnitron Sensors: creating sensors to offer full autonomy of self-driving cars and drones with novel silicon photonics processes for sensors in safety-critical systems.
Drover: helps scooter operators comply with municipal regulations and win business.
Butlr: tracks people’s trajectory, posture and temperature to give actionable intelligence in assisted living, homes, offices and public spaces, while also safeguarding privacy.
Ash: makes it easy to get tested for STIs/STDs at home.
Sira Medical: develops augmented reality software to help clinicians with pre-surgical planning, training and education by providing patient specific holograms.
Brave Credit: helps people rebuild and manage their credit.
Awsm Bank: teaches teens financial literacy with help from parents.
Meme Chat:meme and keyboard app.
Pawsh: marketplace that connects pet owners with professional pet groomers.
Ryu Games: provides STKs that monetize games primarily through social interactions, without hurting user experience.
Clout Jam: helps social media influencers take control of their businesses.
Apothecary: data driven skincare discovery platform for consumers and brands.
Thematic: exchange built for the creator class, enabling them to share creative assets, services and resources.
Kyndoo: data platform solving influencer fraud, attribution and content safety.
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