Start-Up Pitches: From Gigatagging to Electric Poo

Screen shot of Huggity

Engineer Seán Costelloe found a product he felt met a need: Making electricity from poo. Then he stood up in front of a room and told everyone about it.

His was one of four pitches made by entrepreneurs at the second of the Dublin Investment Summit’s (@DublinInvest) practice sessions. These are to help start ups perfect their pitches in advance of DIS’s match-making day on Sept. 30.

The other pitches were for a tool that allows post-event marketing, a water butt with a difference and a global awards event. The evening was organized to give feedback to the entrepreneurs on their pitches and to expose them to potential investors in the audience. After the four had pitched, a panel asked typical investor questions and also provided feedback on the presentation and content.

My favorite was by Mike Sikorski (@SikorskiMike), co-founder of Huggity (@huggity), who seemed like the kind of guy who not only had a cool idea but the ability to pull it off. Just two months old, Huggity is a social media app that allows people to tag their photos after they have attended large public events such as concerts or football matches.

The photography is gigapixel quality and a network or photographers is being built up. The screen print above shows a concert in Malta last June that was attended by 25,000 people. Huggity managed the photography at the concert working with sponsors MTV and Swatch. After the event, over 3,200 people rushed to find themselves in the mass of people, tag the image and share it on Facebook. This led to an additional 45,000 page views of the concert, Sikorski said.

This is where he sees the value in his technology: Post-event marketing. There is a lot of effort that goes in to preparation and presentation, he told the audience. Huggity will let marketers continue to promote the event even after it has ended, he said.

Looking to capitalize on water conservation concerns, Martin Moloney of Tweelie.me (@TweelieFriend) is selling a water butt that can be installed without any DIY expertise. This was important for people like him, he joked, because every project he undertakes at home starts with the instruction, “Don’t break it.”

Moloney, who also invented a frame that allows people to wash their dogs without wrestling with them, would like to expand in to the UK market. While his water butt is not as big as others on the market, he said it is aimed at people “who are lukewarm on the idea who want to do their little bit [for the environment].”

Engineer Sean Costelloe of SNC Engineering took a different approach. He and partner, Frank Sullivan, went looking for a product they felt met a need. They found a German inventor that had built an anaerobic digestion system that converted farmyard animal manure in to electricity. This would be housed in a facility sited in agricultural areas, and the quantities of electricity would be great enough to sell back to the grid.

Finally, Shane O’Sullivan, a PhD student had joined forces with Stanley Sarpong and Darragh Kirby to found the non-profit Ubuntu Awards. They envision a concert being held once a year in different venues around the world that would be simulcast on the web or to public venues. Awards would be bestowed on celebrities, leaders, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs.

Recognizing their project is ambitious, O’Sullivan said a three-year lead in is planned.

Image is a partial screen shot of the Huggity website.

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