Law firm Stubbs-Alderton & Markiles recently conducted its eighth “Preccelerator” demo day at its Santa Monica offices on the Third Street Promenade.
Stubbs-Alderton, or SAM, hosts a startup accelerator program called the “Preccelerator.”
Three companies – recent grads of the Preccelerator – presented their concepts to a roomful of people active in the Silicon Beach startup scene on May 23. Approximately 100 were in attendance.
PayClub is a debit card making it easy and convenient for groups to split the expenses of major adventures – like a fraternity going to Vegas for the weekend.
All participants “pay in,” in advance, pre-loading a debit card with all the funds that will be required to cover the costs of the trip.
One person is put in charge handling all the actual transactions.
An establishment selling goods or services will process just one payment from the group, so the hassle of using multiple credit cards is eliminated.
Since everyone has already paid in advance, there’s no concern that someone might not pay while on the adventure.
The PayClub system, all controllable via smartphone, can be used by any type of group, or “club.”
Co-founder Jason Rieger estimates this “pay in advance” debit card idea will grow into a $1 billion industry.
For more information, see PayClub.co.
Lumenus makes clothing, helmets and backpacks that use LED lighting to help keep pedestrians, bikers, joggers and skateboarders safe while out and about at night.
Lumenus, led by CEO Jeremy Wall, is now taking test orders from retail establishments, including Moosejaw, a division of Walmart.
Lumenus seeks to enter the industrial safety arena, employing IoT (Internet of Things) technology. See lumenus.com.
Best Food Trucks, or BFT, allows office workers and others to pre-order, using their cellphones, food from favorite food trucks that will be in the area that day.
More and more, food trucks don’t simply “show up” and honk their melodious horns to alert the hungry, said CEO Kevin Davis.
The positioning of food trucks is now a highly coordinated event, with trucks, office managers and parking lot operators needing to figure out which trucks will be stationed where – on which days and at what times.
Municipal authorities often limit the number of trucks that can be in any one location at the same time. Food trucks want to go where the people are – and people want to know when and where to find the trucks.
BFT’s technology takes the headache out of all these logistics, providing for a happy connection between all these moving pieces. By allowing customers to order in advance, food preparation can be timed perfectly, with fresh meals the result.
An investor panel, composed of Scott Alderton (the Alderton in Stubbs-Alderton), Renee LeBran (angel investor), Rob Vickery (Stage Venture Partners), Riley Kovatch (March Capital Partners) and Joe Miller (Morpheus Ventures), listened to the pitches and gave feedback.
The investor panel also engaged in a Q&A with members of the audience.
Alderton asked members of the panel if it were possible for an entrepreneur to send in an email and hope for a response.
Generally speaking, according to the panelists, a “warm introduction” works best. But, according to Joe Miller, “If you have something amazing you can describe in one paragraph, it can happen.”
All agreed no funding group would ever sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), so asking is not only a waste of time, it shows that the person doing the asking is not very knowledgeable about how this all works – a strike against that person.
“Never be boring” when submitting a pitch deck, advised Miller. Be sure to answer the question, “Why you, why now and why us?” added Vickeray.
“Don’t go into too much detail,” said LeBran. The purpose of a pitch deck, she said, is to simply get a meeting. Go into detail later, she added.
LeBran said it’s almost always important to have a basic product built before asking for money.
“Be sure to explain what it is you do,” urged Alderton. Many, he said, don’t do a good job of this.
Once he understands what a company does, he continued, then his mind is open to exploring whether it’s a good business idea or not.
“We invest in people,” said Riley. The other speakers nodded in agreement.
“Don’t give up,” added Miller. “You might need to call on 100 people,” he said. “But you only need one to say ‘yes’.”
We are now in “frothy times,” according to LeBran. Things could change quickly, she noted. “You must be able to adapt quickly,” she said.
Stubbs-Alderton’s Preccelerator is run by COO Heidi Hubbeling. The Preccelerator has now assisted 37 companies, she said – 22 of which have received seed or pre-seed funding totaling $11 million.
Companies chosen to participate get mentoring, significant perks – and introductions to investors.
According to Hubbeling, SAM’s Preccelerator is exceedingly practical, focusing on those activities that will actually produce a result.
Louis Wharton, a partner with the firm, is president of the Preccelerator.
For more information about the Preccelerator, go to: https://stubbsalderton.com/preccelerator/.