Demo Camp Wrap-Up. Part 1

The Vancouver technology start-up community converged for DemoCamp 11 – Back to Basics Edition last night as entrepreneurs got the chance to present their big idea to the audience (and via Twitter hashtag #democamp, the world).

I’ll be following up with some more in-depth posts on the individual winning presenters in a bit. First, some general impressions of the evening (I’ll be posting some videos from Bootup Labs here as soon as they’re up on YouTube, later today):

The format was entertaining, going back to audience voting. Presenters had 30 seconds to pitch why they should be given a demo slot. Six (well, as it turned out, seven) presenters won the right to give a full six-minute pitch if they were selected by the audience (which puts the “democracy” in DemoCamp).

The best presentations were not necessarily the ones that provided detailed information about the technology they were using. The really great ones focused with laser-like precision on the pain point that the technology product or service was going to solve and why their company was uniquely positioned to provide the solution.

I kept thinking back to the New Ventures BC seminar I saw recently on Perfecting Your Pitch. Some start-up reps had it down. Others probably should have attended that seminar.

One company that did that extremely well (even though they didn’t get to the second round – well, it’s a democracy, not a meritocracy) was Contractually.

In 30 seconds, I knew that they helped web-savvy small businesses and startups that hate dealing with contracts (don’t we all) use a web app to make contract development and negotiation simple. Not surprisingly, these people won the People’s Choice Award for startup most likely to succeed back at Launch Party 9.

In the 30 second presentations, second place has to go to Compass Engine for the Death of Manliness by Mack from Compass Engine (his six-minute presentation is below). They give developers the tools to build location-based games. For sheer enthusiasm, the guy could not be beat. I wish his longer presentation had focused a bit more on the actual games he could play rather than nostalgic looks back at action movie stars of the 1980s, but what the heck. I can always check out their website.

Honourable mention must go to Ed Levinson from Analusis, mostly because he was just so darn entertaining, in the tradition of manic street preachers. (Sadly, Ed didn’t actually get to pitch his idea. It went like this):

“My fellow entrepreneurs and developers, I know how you feel. I see the darkness in your soul and I sense the loneliness you have at the end of the night when your friends and family are out at the movies and you’re stuck at home doing the books or writing code. And you’re thinking, ‘they’re getting to see Inception! I should get to see inception! I’m going to download that movie…’

Sadly, Ed got pulled away at that point. He’d hit the 30-second mark. But I could tell that most of the people in the room wanted to hear more and I will be in touch with Ed to find out precisely what this entrepreneurial mentor was driving at.

For now, here’s a video courtesy of Bootup Labs to give you some flavor from the evening.