Longevity Network
  • Apr 05, 2017
  • Entrepreneur Spotlight

Entrepreneurs of the Week: LivePitch Finalists from 2012-2016

Entrepreneurs of the Week: LivePitch Finalists from 2012-2016

On Wednesdays, we typically post a featured profile on a single entrepreneur of the week but in anticipation of next week’s 6th annual Innovation@50+ LivePitch event in Mountain View, CA, we talked with some of the finalists from the first five years of the event. (As a friend of The Longevity Network, it’s not too late to register for free using code AARPLN2017. Register at innovation50plus.org).

We asked the finalists what opportunities they gained, what they learned, and—of course—whether they’d recommend it to other startups.

Opportunities that came directly out of participating in LivePitch

“We established relationships with investors and companies in peripheral spaces,” said Patrick Freuler CEO of Audicus, a finalist in 2015. “LivePitch also helped ‘open doors’ and developed partnerships with organizations serving the aging population,” added SeniorHabitat co-founder Melissa Louie and 2016 finalist.

2012 finalist and 1DocWay co-founder, Samir Malik, got straight to the point. Participating gave them “good branding and awareness,” he said, something that undoubtedly contributed to their successful exit in 2015, four years after its founding.

And if there is any doubt that winning the Judge’s Choice Award matters, 2016 winner and co-founder of Penrose Senior Care Auditors, Rhonda Harper, recounts the many benefits: “Because of winning the Judges’ Choice Award, we have been fortunate to garner investor, media, consumer, and industry attention and credibility.”

Lastly, both Jeffrey Fry from WellBeyond and Sombit Mishra from QMedic pointed out the direct relationship with AARP itself has proven invaluable.

Feedback from the Judges

“Our participation in AARP LivePitch provided us with valuable feedback on the spot. We learned [from the judges] that we needed to hone in on our core message and value propositions to older adults and their families,” said SeniorHabitat co-founder Melissa Louie.

“Be concise and let people know how your product will change their lives and impact their quality of life,” says Freuler of Audicus. “Prioritize how your product is not just a game-changer in its field, but a life-changer for its users.”

And perhaps the most focused lesson comes again from the 2016 winner, who learned “that Penrose Senior Care Auditors is meeting a market need with a feasible business model.”

What makes LivePitch Unique:  AARP members in the audience

Only here at LivePitch are innovative startups onstage pitching before expert judges as well as actual intended consumers whose feedback is gathered and shared real-time. Previous finalists say those audience members verified everything from broad principles on telling their story to focused questions about usability and price point.

“[K]eep your concept as simple as possible,” said 2016 finalist Jeffrey Fry of WellBeyond. “Connect with the audience with a story, and then show how you solve a problem with a simple solution.

The aging population is enormously diverse,” added Sombit Mishra of QMedic. “Startup market segmentation should be based not only on age but also on condition, income, gender, and diverse interests (e.g., luxury travel for [Baby] Boomers).”

Freuler shared a nuanced view about the audience feedback: “It was great to see potential customers responding to our ideas and our value prop; this helped us to refine our communication in online channels (where we operate). We also exhibited at the conference, so we got to see customers interacting with our products. That portion (rather than the pitch) was way more valuable than any other feedback we got from the pitch. Still, the best feedback was the reassurance that people were confident in purchasing medical devices over the internet. It was great to confirm with people that they truly would purchase online and would trust buying from our company.”

2016 Judge’s Choice Award winner Penrose shows they came in with a clear question to answer from audience participation: “The audiences’ comments and voting suggested that they believed Penrose Senior Care Auditors is a viable service that is greatly needed. In addition, they affirmed our price-points and shared that we need to be clearer in our description of the service.”

LivePitch is Worth It!

Previous finalists categorically said they would recommend LivePitch to other entrepreneurs targeting the 50+ market, but their reasons why and their caveats are revealing.

Melissa Louie, SeniorHabitat: “We highly recommend LivePitch to other entrepreneurs targeting the 50+ market because it connects you to an ecosystem of innovators focused on improving the quality of life of older adults.”

Rhonda Harper, Penrose: “We definitely recommend that entrepreneurs enter the LivePitch competition, or at a minimum go to the event. There, you get to meet leaders in the industry, potential investors, and peers who can become supporters.”

Sombit Mishra, QMedic: “Yes, if you’re looking to raise visibility and gain visceral feedback on an early idea/prototype.”

Jeffrey Fry, WellBeyond: “Absolutely.  This is the most focused and aligned demonstration and gathering dealing primarily with aging Americans and technology and services to help families deal with the ‘Silver Tsunami.’”

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