Startup Pitch Showcase: We're Looking for Companies Founded by Diverse and Underrepresented Entrepreneurs
Innovation thrives with a diverse and inclusive startup community. In an effort to foster this growth, we are thrilled to announce the next virtual pitch showcase, which will be broadcast live at 11:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, February 4th.
We are looking for Southern California startups in any industry founded by entrepreneurs of color and/or women, or by entrepreneurs from low-income or underrepresented communities. Submissions are now open for company nominations to present at the live event. Submissions will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Please contact annie@dot.LA with any questions.
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A livestreaming platform that lets people enjoy concerts together while at home walked away as the winner of dot.LA's first Startup Pitch tournament.
The brainchild of UCLA business school graduates — one of whom lost his job in the music events industry during the pandemic — Crewtify is one of a number of livetreaming platforms that have bubbled up to solve an immediate need: connecting musicians with their fans during the COVID era and beyond.
Pitch: Social Cipher<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50e36cbc9f5a5b063e8458fca9456bbd"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcP5hUsSQyE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Finding an engaging curriculum for neurodivergent youth is difficult, especially in this age of online learning. Vanessa Castañeda Gill, co-founder and CEO of <a href="https://www.socialciphergame.com/" target="_blank">Social Cypher</a>, explained that her experience growing up with autism helped her to realize the lack of learning tools for neurodivergent youth. Even today, programming and curriculum is out of touch, patronizing or unengaging. Much of the learning tools for this market are focused on 'fixing' young learners, said the company's CEO.<br></p><p>"Now, I know it was problem because, well, I lived it," said Gill. "Over the years, though, I learned that I never actually needed to be fixed. I just needed a different way to learn. And that's how I founded Social Cypher."</p><p>Social Cypher is a social emotional learning (SEL) platform with a partner app marketed toward counselors and educators in the neurodivergent space. Social Cypher's primary product is a game called "Ava," which immerses students with autism into a fictional world where they are a space pirate, and have to make decisions regarding the people and situations they encounter. Meanwhile, the companion app helps counselors remotely stream gameplay and track social and emotional progress.</p><p>Social Cypher will be piloting in January and is currently raising a pre-seed funding round.</p>
Pitch: Have | Need<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="606f2f0ddccb87da007c277e52669789"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fOLZxe5o2BI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><a href="https://www.haveneed.org/" target="_blank">Have | Need</a> is an app that empties garages, but not wallets. It's the first consumer multi-party barter platform for goods and services. Unlike Ebay or OfferUp, users never use cash — they trade their items for other things they need, sometimes in a large chain of trades, called "barter loops." </p><p>Founder and CEO Josh C. Kline explained how Have | Need organizes these trades so that more people can offer what they want and get what they need.</p><p>"Legacy barter doesn't scale because it depends on what is known as the mutual coincidence of wants. That means each of the two parties must have something the other wants, and that is rare," he said. "<span style="background-color: initial;"></span>Have | Need, however, can match the haves and needs of a limitless number of people, creating barter opportunities that were not previously possible."</p><p>Moving beyond a two-person trade into a chain of trades exponentially increases the available possibilities of getting what you need with what you have. In the middle of a pandemic, he added, many are reckoning with just how much stuff they have, and many who have lost their jobs may not have cash on hand to get what they need.</p><p>Their target user base is in the billions. "Basically anyone with a smartphone that has more than they need or needs more than they have will benefit from Have | Need."</p><p>Have | Need is launching next month, and will be open to the public early next year. They are also currently raising a pre-seed funding round.</p>
Pitch: Crewtify<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb4789cc48636e772846a0e0ec1098dc"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fjm4ScUzK7o?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Now, more than ever, it's clear that the future of music is online. <a href="https://www.crewtify.com/" target="_blank">Crewtify</a> makes in-person events accessible to individuals or groups who can't make it to the event. </p><p>David Gukasyan, CEO and co-founder, introduced Crewtify, a subscription model online community platform for music events. Using this platform, fans have unlimited access to watch and participate.</p><p>Beyond the pandemic, it's likely event organizers will still host online events, said Gukasyan, because barriers that have always been present, like cost, distance, and limited space remain. </p><p>Post-COVID, he expects a hybrid system to emerge as event organizers continue broadcasting shows online for online communities. "Crewtify provides the live music experience to fans in the comfort of their own homes. It also allows you to break from the party, into private rooms, to chat or match with other users."</p><p>At the moment, Crewtify has 2,000 users and plenty of user-generated content. Later they hope to build exclusive artist partnerships, and community and network effects.</p>
We are pleased to announce the second round of our early-stage Startup Pitch Showcase competition.
Over the last few weeks, we asked our readers to nominate early-stage startups based in Southern California. We received over 100 nominations and have narrowed down the list to six startups. These companies are vying for a chance to advance to pitch at the finale, which will be broadcast live at the dot.LA Summit 2020, with special guest judges and a grand prize.
Now, we want your thoughts on the most promising, innovative, forward-thinking startups that can make a difference in users' everyday lives.
Of the three startups featured here, one will go on to pitch at our Startup Pitch Showcase finale later this month. Watch the videos below and let us know which it should be!
To get started, hit the "Watch and Vote" link below!
Vote for Your Favorite Startup in Our Pitch Showcase Competition assets.rebelmouse.io