October 30, 2019

Pitchline Bonanza (#76)

by The Pitch

Back in September, we invited listeners to call in and give us their best elevator pitch for their startup. And the response was off the hook! In this episode we play our favorite calls — and choose one lucky winner to come pitch our investors. But there’s more! We need your help to pick one more founder for the pitch room. Listen to the episode to find out how to vote.

Transcript

 

[Ringing]

Kareem: Ready?

Josh: Um hmm.

Aden: Josh?

Josh: Hey this is Josh. Who’s calling?

Aden: Oh my god, no way!

Josh: Yes way! What’s up?

A few weeks ago we asked you to call in and give your 30-second elevator pitch for your business. And you crazy kids went nuts! The phone rang off the hook! 

[Ringing]

Maria: Hi this is Maria. I can’t believe I actually got through. 

Josh: You made it through!

Mike: Hey Josh, this is Mike Heller, how you doing?

Janelle: Hey Josh, how you doing? it’s me, Janelle.

Josh: Hi Janelle.

Aden: I got my mom sitting here dialing nonstop. I made her take off from work today.

You brought your moms too! So cute. 

Now, we’ve done this before, we took your calls and picked a winner, Leigh Isaacson with the dating app Dig. And when she pitched our investors, she secured the bag. 

So here’s what’s going to happen today. First, we’re going to hear as many 30-second pitches as we can. Producers Kareem Maddox and Heather Rogers joined me in the studio for that. 

Then the three of us are going to whittle it down to one. One human is going to put it all on the line and come pitch our investors.

But wait, there’s more! You, dear listeners, will get to vote on your favorite caller who will then get to come pitch our investors too.

Okay. Let the games begin!

[Ringing]

Heather: Okay. Ready?

Josh: Yup. Hello this is Josh.

Scott: Hey Josh, Scott Deberry calling. How you been?

Josh: Hey. I’m excited to hear your 30-second elevator pitch.

Scott: Alright. We've coupled the practice of stock trading with fantasy sports to create Stock-Up Sports. Stockupsports.com will allow users on our platform to buy, sell and trade stock in athletes of the world’s major sports. With unlimited potential earnings for the customer and the company, Stock-Up Sports will change fantasy sports in a way it's played. Thank you.

Josh: Hold on a second. So you're talking about creating like the New York Stock Exchange, instead of. Instead of company tickers, you've got like...

Scott: Sport tickers.

Josh: ...sport tickers. So like LEB, would be like I'm investing in Lebron. I expect his stock price to go up over the next 10 years. I'm going to put some money in Lebron.

Scott: That's right. That's. 

Josh: Okay.

Scott: And every game that goes up based on points, based on wins, losses, things like that.

Josh: Points for thinking outside of the box because that's kind of crazy.

Kareem: Yeah. Scott, why isn't it just like a prop bet? Like I could bet on Lebron, over under 21 points on any given night. Isn't that kind of the same thing? I'm just taking a.

Josh: That's a short-term play.

Scott: Yeah. And because that's available because it's gambling and you can do that other places. With fantasy sports, you buy into it and once the season's over, it's over. As Josh said, this carries on for 10 years if you stay in it. And you have players in every sport so you have a vested interest all year long.

Josh: Alright Scott, thanks for calling in.

Scott: See ya. Bye.

[Ringing]

Kareem: Another one. Another one coming in.

Josh: Yeah, go ahead, I’m ready.

[Ringing]

Josh: Hello this is Josh.

Syed.: Oh my God. Hi!

Josh: Hi.

Syed.: This is Syed and Faiza. 

Faiza: Hi Josh!

Josh: I’m excited to hear your 30-second pitch!

Faiza: OK. Great. So my name is Faiza Malik and I'm the CEO and founder of a divorce application called Splyt. And this is my partner Syed. We're building an online platform that makes filing for divorce easy and affordable. Split is a tool that collects all of the relevant information from the user, fills out the right forms and guides them through the filing process. Why we're doing this is because divorce is expensive and complicated. This is a $30 million market, and we're trying to help thousands of Canadians.

Josh: That’s crazy. All right, time is up I totally get it. You're helping disrupt marriages all across Canada, which is great.

Faiza: We're not. We are a married couple. 

Josh: So you're at least united in that pursuit.

Faiza: Yeah.

Josh: And how are things going? Is it a big, booming business?

Syed: We're sort of pre-sales, we're in the Alpha phase right now of the business. 

Josh: Okay. Well, Syed and Faiza, thank you so much for calling in.

Syed.: Great. Thank you so much.

Faiza: Thank you.

Josh: All right, bye now. Splitting people up since 1999.

Heather: How to make it easier to get…

Josh: A divorce.

Heather: ...un-hitched.

Kareem: I just googled “divorce app.” We got Divorcify.  

Heather: Oh god.

Kareem: Among others.

[Ringing]

Josh: Hello this is Josh.

Caller Josh: Hey this is Josh.

Josh: What’s going on Josh?

[Ringing]

Josh: Hello this is Josh. Aw it didn’t work.

Josh: Who’s calling?

Sayeed: Can you, can you hear us OK?

Josh: You’re on mute if you’re talking.

Josh: We just lost him. That sucks.

Josh: Are you in a shopping center or something?

Caller: I am at a hair salon.

Josh: Uh-oh. Something just shut off.

Josh: Did you say Dara?

Derek: Derek.

[Ringing]

Deloss: I gotta get to the hundred man. I gotta pull an all-nighter. 

Josh: Hey. Hey. This is, this is Josh. Can you hear me?

Deloss: Yeah. Can you hear me? 

Josh: You’re a little hard to hear.

Deloss: Oh, sorry I’m in my truck.

Kareem: Is there any way to switch to your handset? I know that’s illegal. Uh, so maybe.

Josh: [Laughing]

Deloss: Is this better on speaker phone?

Kareem: That is.

Josh: Yeah.

Kareem: That’s a little better

Deloss: OK, so. Hi I'm Deloss, founder of BIB technologies, Business In a Box. We are a sustainable business enablement platform, offering a Micro EV truck with a focus in the food and delivery sector. The BIB truck is a lease-to-own concept for B2B, featuring low overhead and operations versus traditional brick and mortar. Our vision for food delivery is an Amazon locker on wheels concept that uses a mobile app to operate. And we package it into a turnkey enterprise platform. Our MVP in-market today is called FRO. The Modern Day ice cream truck of the future, featuring sustainable, healthy treats on the go. Thanks guys.

Josh: Um. Wow! Um. Uh.

Deloss: Yes?

Josh: So the ice cream truck is like your first version, but you're, I don't know if I get it. What is it?

Deloss: OK. So we built a sustainable vehicle that runs on pure energy, solar, energy storage and electric that’s micro.

Josh: Oh, okay.

Deloss: Think of like utility, like golf carts. And we've built it with my partner Michael, we built it at Tesla. We were in the solar division there.

Josh: Oh, you worked at Tesla?

Deloss: Yeah. Yeah. I worked at Tesla. I left recently to go full time into the startup. So we kind of built like a Yogurt Land on wheels. And so it runs on pure energy. It runs 12 hours a day and we've been serving downtown Los Angeles. And in the midst of that, we've been approached by many different concepts from marijuana to bitcoin to food and delivery. And we're building a second unit that would be like an Amazon locker on wheels.

Kareem: It's a. Is it. It’s not a food truck? I know LA is famous for food trucks. 

Josh: He's just building this sustainable electric vehicle by which you could run any mobile business on.

Deloss: Yeah the prototype is considered a food truck or food cart. What makes it unique is it can go on sidewalks and it could go places where other food trucks can't.

Josh: Allright. Thanks for calling in.

Deloss: All right, Josh.

Josh: Have a good one. Bye.

Deloss:  See ya.

Heather: It's just a golf cart. I don’t know.

Kareem: I just feel like I get a golf cart elsewhere. 

Josh: But it's not electric. Really. Not electric. Like it's not self-sustaining. That's what he's I don't, good grief. 

Kareem: Solar. Powered. Golf cart.

Josh: I feel like you guys are harder on me. You're just like this is dumb. This is a dumb idea. I don't get it. 

Heather: We're usually right, Josh.

Kareem: For five hundred and nineteen dollars from Walmart you can get a solar-powered golf cart.

Josh: OK. I don't buy it.

Kareem: It's right here on Wal-Mart's website.

Josh: Naw. I'm, I'm sure what he's doing is leagues more advanced than that.

I’m pretty sure I get what Deloss is doing with these golf carts. But the fact is some pitches are just a lot easier to understand than others.

[Ringing]

Josh: CBD drink. This is what this is? Dare to keep kids off drugs there to keep kids off social media. Okay, so you do like oil changes and you do it all mobile? So you’re taking the concept of people who go to grave sites and you’re trying to make that a virtual experience. I confess, I don’t get it. Are these the cryotanks you’re talking about? That’s crazy. It’s like a Geiger counter for the sun. Cool.

More crazy ideas when we come back. Laundromats, zombies, and a place to park your kids.

BREAK

Welcome back.

Okay. We’re getting one step closer to finding our big winner! And remember, listen for your favorite, because at the end, we’ll put things to a vote.

[Ringing]

Josh: Hello this is Josh.

Liam: Hey Josh. This is Liam.

Josh: Hi Liam. I’m excited to hear your pitch.

Liam.: Awesome. All right. VR is currently unsuccessful, not because hardware is too expensive, but because it's an inherently solo experience that doesn't add enough value to the space. We're pioneering VR versus crowd gaming so that VR players can play against their friends on the couch, crowds at events or streaming fans online. Our first game is a horror entry that takes the spirit of grabbing your friends ankles while they're in VR and puts it onto your phone. We realize.

Josh: Sorry. 

Liam.: No problem. 

Josh: Who doesn't want to grab their friends ankles in VR.

Liam: That's exactly what we thought. And we're giving you a lot more power. And so, we release to game stores in October and we'll be renting out VR booths to different events.

Josh: What's the name of the game? Grab your friends ankles?

Liam.: Rako's Fragments. 

Josh: Rako's Fragments. That's definitely a better name than grab your friends. Okay. And then, so then. I'm just trying to set up this game in my head. Are you like, "Alright friend, I want you to try out this game." You invite them to log in and they don't know what's happening and then all of a sudden you grab their ankles? They're like, what is the, like they have to know when they start the game that somebody's going to grab my ankles, so I'm going to be ready for this. 

Liam.: It's not actual physical grabbing of the ankles, but it's in the spirit. So it's, turning on/off the light. Um summoning the ghost on them.

Josh: Is this a thing that I'm just not getting? Like grabbing someone's ankles, is that a type of thing that people do to mess with their friends?

Liam.: Yeah, exactly. You want to mess with your friends from the couch. So you would like grab their ankle while they're playing Resident Evil or something and they would just freak out...

Josh: Oh! OK. 

Liam.: ... thinking that a zombie really got them.

Josh: Right. Alright. Thanks Liam for calling in. 

Liam.: Thanks Josh.

Josh: I suddenly have the urge to grab someone's ankles.

Kareem: Yeah.

[Ringing]

Tiffany: Hi. I can’t believe I got through! 

Josh: Yay! Who's calling?

Tiffany: This is Tiffany Warren McGarrity. I'm one of the three founders from Metapixel. Metapixel was born out of the need as a photographer for over 20 years to protect, promote, and monetize my digital work. This brought me to have an awareness that there are over 2.5 billion images stolen and $600 billion in lost revenues daily. Metapixel is a peer-to-peer authentication software, that encrypts digital media with a secure proof of ownership. It locks in Metadata, protecting any media along with registration on the blockchain.

Josh: Okay, wow. So you’ve got. Essentially it's this platform where people upload their photos, your software then goes and finds if anybody's using their photo and somehow takes them down.

Tiffany: It locks in the important metadata into the image itself. So, it cannot be destroyed through cropping, screenshots, anything like that. 

Josh: OK. It sounds like a really smart use of the blockchain.

Heather: So what happens if you find somebody who's altered an image? Do you have like a squad that you send in?

Josh: The goon squad.

Tiffany: Yeah. It will notify you and then we are talking with lawyers to help reach out to those people and.

Heather: Got it.

Josh: Tiffany, thank you so much for calling in.

Tiffany: Thank you. And thank you for your time and I hope that I get to hear from you guys again soon.

Josh: All right. Sounds good.

Heather: I like her! I like that one.

Josh: Yeah!

Kareem: Answering.

Josh: Yep. Hello, this is Josh.

Kimberly: Hi Josh.

Josh: Hi! Who’s this?

Kimberly: OK. My name is Kimberly Lancarte and I'm the CEO of Paggo. It's an online marketplace for flexible parenting. Parents have the ability to book childcare anytime at any location and daycares are able to monetize unused capacity and earn bonus revenue. So basically think Airbnb for childcare. I'm seeking seed funding to launch in central Texas and I estimate the market size in that region alone is $10 to $15 million per year. And then from there we plan to grow nationally, potentially even globally.

Josh: Wow. Kimberly that's a nice tight pitch. And I get the problem you're solving. And I think that's really interesting that you're using unused capacity of daycares to fulfill the unmet needs of people who need babysitters. Umm, do you have a background in building tech companies or businesses like this?

Kimberly: So I've been in the tech industry for about three years. I was previously an oil and gas, but I work for a robotics company.

Josh: Ah. 

Kimberly: And I started as an applications engineer on cloud software for industrial robots and now I'm the product manager...

Josh: Cool. 

Kimberly: ... of that cloud software. So, I'm very familiar.

Josh: That makes sense. That translates. Well, Kimberly, thank you so much for calling in.

Kimberly: OK. Great. 

Josh: All right. Bye. 

Kimberly: Bye.

Kareem: Yeah I don't have kids but. Would you just drop your kids off at like, would look on an app and be like, Oh this place is like nearby, four stars. And then you get there and it's like dirty, or something. Like I don’t know it's not going to cause like extra, I don’t know.

[Ringing]

Josh: I would probably look up reviews on Google Maps or Yelp or other places.

Heather: Okay, ready?

Josh: Hello this is Josh.

Brian: Hey Josh. I think I just hit the two thousand mark. I was tapping away but.

Heather: Whoa. You called two thousand times?

Josh: Two thousand times!

Brian: Yep, my iPhone had stopped tracking like previous calls.

Josh: Oh my gosh! Well thank you for being persistent. You finally got through. Alright.

Brian: Here we go. So it's called Tap for Service and it's a SaaS platform that enables small and medium sized service companies to offer booking and ordering online. So a lot of these smaller companies like laundromats and dry cleaners, carpet cleaning, auto detailers, they’re kind of stuck in the past, in the dark age. So we're here to provide them apps and websites and technology needs to bring them into the, the 21st century. 

Josh: Right on.

Heather: What does it actually do? 

Brian: Imagine you are a mom-and-pop shop and you offer, let's say, carpet cleaning. Right. So if you wanted to have your own website with booking capabilities and online credit cards you might have to spend $20,000, right, on an overseas team to create your website and to have the custom mobile app. So instead of them doing that we are providing the platform that gives them all that white labeled software as if they did it themselves.

Josh: All right Brian thank you for calling in and hitting the call button two thousand times. That's insane.

Brian: You got it. 

Josh: Cheers.

Heather: Bye.

Josh: Whoo!

Heather: How you doing Josh?

Josh: I’m good. This is fun.

Heather: Ready Freddy?

[Ringing]

Josh: Yep.

Thor: Hey Josh, Thor Wood founder of Snapshyft. How are ya?

Josh: Hey! I’m doing really well. I’m excited to hear your 30-second pitch.

Thor: Wonderful! Excited to give it to ya. Our labor marketplace connects understaffed food and beverage and hospitality operations, with qualified industry workers on demand. Our technology eliminates for major costs and time killer of these businesses, with the positive socioeconomic impacts on the professionals. We launched in January of last year and currently, 20,000 professionals, 350 customers, and we're growing revenue 36% month over month. And we have a 90% fulfillment rate that's three times the industry average. Thank you.

Josh: That. Wow. Hey, that's a good pitch right there, Thor. Ummm, I actually really get this, like it makes a lot of sense to me. But I’m curious, is there a certain type of restaurants or stores that really take to this and really use it?

Thor: Excellent question. And it's across the board. So we've got everything from hole in the wall, you know, mom and pop operations to corporate chains. And as well as full service hotels, major arenas. And we've identified that our ideal customer is one that has a hierarchy of command.

Josh: So in a way, you're a temp agency that's an app so that it all happens automatically and it's specific to the restaurant industry?

Thor: Yeah, we target temp agencies and we look to move them off the earth, basically. 

Josh: Cool. I'm all for it, Thor. Get those temp agencies and boot ‘em to Asgard. 

Thor: Will do.

Josh: Alright. Thanks for calling in.

Thor: Thanks Josh. Big fan. Take care. 

Josh: Bye.

Kareem: That was a good one. 

Heather: That was a good one. 

Josh: That was a good one. That was an Avengers reference.

Heather: And his name is Thor!

Kareem: I got it. 

Josh: You got it?

Kareem: I got the Asgard reference. 

Josh: Yes! Was it too forced.

Kareem: No.

3 and a half hours, 50 calls, 3 cokes, and a take-out salad later. I was exhausted. And so were Kareem and Heather.

But we weren’t done yet. We each picked a couple pitches that we really liked, we did some research, called the founders back to learn bit more. And then each of us chose a favorite that we really wanted on the show. 

A week later, we convened in a hallowed place -- Gimlet’s studio 6. We sealed the door, no-one could leave until we had chosen one winner.

After the break, for the first time ever, we reveal the top secret tapes of our clandestine negotiation.

BREAK

Josh: OK. OK. 

Heather: Hi guys.

Josh: Here we are. We’re back.

Kareem: Yeah. Let’s do it.

Josh: All right. So we're here to discuss, nay argue, about who, which caller should come on the show and pitch our investors. Who wants to throw the first punch?

Kareem: So I picked Brian with Tap for Service. Love it.

Heather: Aha.

Josh: Nice.

Kareem: I think this is one of those like one of those pitches that investors love because it's like an antiquated industry that people aren't thinking about innovating in and a lot of these laundromats are like mom and pop shops. This just makes their lives a lot easier rather than having to go build their own Web site and build their own app.

Josh: OK. Heather?

Heather: And I’m going with Tiffany and Metapyxl.

Josh: Why Metapyxl?

Heather: I think the founder’s really smart. I think it’s a super interesting idea. And I think there’s a pretty big market for it.

Josh: OK. So my pick is Thor Wood with Snapshyft. Uhh, the Asgardian. I love it because. If you guys don't know, like, turnover in the restaurant industry is brutal. Like most jobs, or most positions the average is less than two months that people stick around.

Heather: Are you sure?

Josh: Am I sure?

Heather: Yeah.

Josh: I've got an 800 billion dollar behemoth right here. This is the entire restaurant industry in the US. 

Heather: Alright. Let’s talk about market size. Every day there are two and a half billion images that are stolen and that equates to 600 billion dollars of losses daily... 

Josh: What?

Heather: ...in copyright payments. That’s globally.

Josh: That's bonkers. How did 600 billion, how do you even value the lost?

Heather: Even if it’s a $300 billion-a-day loss. You know, like, that's a huge market.

Kareem: Okay. You guys it, guys done? Do you want to hear the winner now? Or do you, or should we spend more time on your guys’ companies? 

Josh: There's a third person in the ring. Oh my God. It’s three person boxing. 

Kareem: It’s more like WWE. I'm throwing the folding chair right now because Brian said that there's 15,000 laundromats in the U.S. And he said...

Josh: Whoa.

Kareem: ...that they would be paying about 100 bucks a month. I think that that adds up to a lot in subscription revenue so it's recurring. And also Brian wants to expand to other industries.

Josh: Like what?

Kareem: Auto detailers, lawn care companies, things like that. So I think, as far as market size goes, Tap for Service is our, is our best bet.

Josh: Let’s say it works Kareem.

Kareem: Yeah.

Josh: Does it add up to more than 800 billion dollars? Because that’s my number.

Heather: Yeah, you need to stop using this 800 billion dollar figure.

Josh: Why, because it hurts?

Heather: No because it's not true. That's the whole restaurant industry. That's like how much they sell. That's not like how much workers make. That's not, you know what I mean, like I don't know what you're talking about when you say that.

Josh: Right. They can't get that entire. Yeah, yeah. I've got, I've got specifics. So he thinks there are one hundred and four thousand total potential customers that would pay an average of fifty thousand dollars a year. So that's a 5 billion industry.

Heather: Uh-huh. Five billion. It's a fraction of what Metapyxl could make. But if you think it's big that's cool.

Josh: Well can you back that up? How many customers.

Heather: Yeah. So they basically at this point don't have any real competition.

Josh: Hold on a sec.

Heather: Yes.

Josh: Let's not forget about Facebook and Google. RIght, like, they have more images than anybody else. And they’re gonna have to create this tool themselves. 

Heather: They haven’t done it.

Josh: So they're totally competition.

Heather: They haven't done it yet. 

Josh: Yeah, but they will. Like they're not going to use Metapyxl.

Heather: Yeah, I beg to differ. Like, for example, they are meeting today with Adobe because Adobe doesn't have anything that works as well. 

Josh: Adobe still exists? Are they still a company? 

Heather: Aw, come on. I'm just saying. I'm just saying, like, the big companies are interested. 

Kareem: Well, speaking of competition Josh. Let’s talk about Snapshyft.

Josh: Uh oh.

Kareem: Yeah I just did a quick Google search.

Josh: Oh no.

Kareem: and seems like there's a lot of competition out here. 

Heather: Kareem's googling again.

Josh: Oh great

Kareem: Including not great on demand staffing dot jobs. There's another company called Wonolo. And it looks like even Uber is getting into the space.

Heather: Josh what did he say about competition?

Josh: He says that there's a lot of competition.

Heather: What?

Josh: It's just an argument for the fact that it's there's a lot of opportunity here and investors like to invest in this space. He doesn’t see it as a problem.

Heather: That's an interesting interpretation.

Josh: I just want to throw out one other anecdote here. Thor's five year old comes running into the office every time the war starts playing up so the pitch because she hears the theme music and just has to listen to the show.

Heather: Thor is kissing your ass. 

Josh: Yep. He sure is. I have no qualms with that whatsoever.

Heather: Kareem, Who do you think?

Kareem: I, for me Tap for Service just like I understand it the most. It's almost like a plug and play thing like you just get people using it and it's something that makes their lives easier.

Josh: Yeah, Kareem. Like, I know you like Tap for Service. But if you look at the numbers it’s still a smaller business than mine or Heather’s.

Heather: Right, like, when I think about this business I just think about there’s 15,000 laundromats around the country. Even if all of them sign up, like that still isn’t that big of a business, like venture-backable business.

Josh: Juicy returns.

Heather: Yeah. Exactly.

Kareem: Yeah, yeah, no. I think that could be true. I think it’s probably a little early. But I tell you I’m going to track Brian and I’m gonna fight for him another day. Maybe at another recording event. I’m tapping for service out. I’m done. I’m throwing in the towel, it’s over.

Josh: Alright. It’s down to you and me Heather.

Heather: Well. I still think, I think megapixel has a lot more promise.

Josh: In the sense that there are lots of images stolen each year yes. But you can't capitalize on all the images stolen each year. You have to go after Facebook and Google, which make up a big chunk of the market. It all depends on whether they can sell them. 

Heather: Yeah yeah. Totally.

Josh: So, no.

Heather: So totally.

Josh: Your 600 billion is bullshit. If you're gonna piss on my 800 billion. Your 600 billion is even flakier.

Heather: Even if it's a fraction, a tiny fraction of that, say, 10 billion, that's twice Snapshyft. 

Josh: That's bigger than my $5 billion. Yes.

Heather: I'm just saying. 

Josh: But at least my 5 billion is based on numbers and actual evidence of customers. If you’re gonna throw stones. How many customers do you have for Metapyxl? And how much are they paying per year?

Heather: So they don’t have any customers yet.

Josh: What?

Heather: So. Yeah.

Josh: They’re pre-revenue?

Heather: Yep.

Josh: Heather, that’s not going to pass the Michael Hyatt test.

Heather: Well maybe we can do it without Michael Hyatt in the room.

Josh: I don’t think that bodes well for your pick.

Heather: Yeah.

Josh: Honestly if you look at Snapshyft since 2019 they’ve brought on or since the beginning of 2019, they've brought on 140 restaurants. And they've got 86% retention. From those restaurants. Throughout the whole year.

Heather: Those are good numbers.

Josh: Those are solid numbers.

Kareem: I don’t know Heather, it’s not looking good.

Heather: You’re not gonna abandon me are you?

Kareem: Yeah, I think I’m jumping ship.

Heather: You know what’s totally crazy is I have to say, I think the investors are going to go for SnapShyft. I hate to admit it, but I think it’s true.

Josh: Yes! Oh my gosh!

Heather: I have to concede.

Josh: I won! I feel so, I feel so excited. I’m sorry. You guys played well. You fought hard. You did your best.

Kareem: Congrats.

Josh: Thanks. I guess I gotta call Thor.

Heather: Yeah.

Josh: Hopefully he's on planet.

[Ringing]

Thor: Hello this is Thor.

Josh: Hey Thor, guess what?

Thor: What? 

Josh: You're coming on the show.

Thor: No shit. Excuse my language.

Josh: You're excused.

Thor: That's amazing.

Josh: Don't screw it up. 

Thor: Ha ha! All right.

So we’ve got our pick. Now it’s time for you to pick yours, the people’s choice as we call it. You can vote for your favorite pitch we heard from the show -- grab your ankles VR, the solar golf cart -- whatever business you think deserves investment, vote right now! By going to thepitch.show/vote

We’ll leave voting open until November 13th.

Whoever wins, will get to come on and pitch our investors!  

Now some of you are probably wondering what about the last time we did this? Who won the people’s choice from the first call-in show? Well, I’ll tell you. You all voted overwhelmingly in favor of Hector Morales. He’s the guy with a retail store selling sofas in Miami that wanted to expand and start manufacturing his own line of couches, under the name Luxology.

So Hector got a chance to pitch our investors at our studios in Brooklyn. And Hector’s pitch, well, we’ll just let Hector tell the story.

Hector: Yeah, I was beyond nervous. Like I don't know if you saw it. I took like a shot of, I forgot what, like whiskey or something.

Josh: No, I remember, I remember somebody came in the studio and they said, "Hector needs a shot." I was like, "What? He needs a shot. Okay, somebody find him some booze." Well, the weirdest thing is what you said after you took the shot. You're like, "And I don't even drink either. I never drink."

Hector: It's true, I don't.

So Hector takes a shot of Whiskey, and walks in the room to pitch the investors. Here’s what that sounded like.

Hector: If I look nervous, it’s because I am. So I’m sorry.

[Laughter]

Hector: Sorry about that.

Sheel: No worries.

Hector: Should I just jump right in? Or what? 

Al: Take us there!

Hector: Okay. We are a 2.0 version. I’m so sorry. I’m really that nervous. Okay. So we are a 2.0 version of furniture online shopping for the nation. The old way is to buy from a furniture, from a big box store that is local to where you live. And you may find one or two options that you like. 

Josh: So what happened?

Hector: I basically could not remember like the first sentence. So I forgot it all and I had to look at my laptop as I pitched.

Josh: You couldn't remember your pitch?

Hector: No not at all. It went completely out the window. I had to stare at my laptop as I talked to them, which I felt bad about, but I just, I couldn't figure out another way to do it.

Hector's pitch never got better. He kept stumbling and wasn’t able to clearly explain his ideas. So, needless to say, his pitch didn’t get any investment. In fact, that was one of Hector’s last pitches for Luxology, ever.

Hector: Yeah, I have bad news. It didn't work out.

Josh: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.

Hector: Yeah, it didn't work out. It's just, it was costing too much to maintain the project and I couldn't find the funding to continue maintaining it. So I'm moving forward. I'm even selling my retail business that I've had for 10 years. So I'm selling that to, to the highest bidder.

Josh: You're closing up shop?

Hector: Yeah. So that's done. All the machinery is being auctioned off in a few days.

Josh: Oh my gosh. That's crazy.

Hector: Yeah, I know.

So what happened? Well Hector told us that he just basically ran out of money. After pitching the investors on our show, he met with a few more VC’s and they all had one big issue with Hector’s business. Manufacturing in the U.S. would be too expensive. And Hector wouldn’t be able to compete.

Since he didn't get investment, Hector turned to his bank to keep the company afloat.

Hector: So we had a $900,000 loan. So that loan was funding it, but then it ran dry. I had requested $82,000 as part of the funding agreement and they denied it. So I was like, I responded to them basically telling them this doesn't get funded, then we're going to close up shop. And they said, "Well I'm sorry then." Then we closed up shop. So.

Josh: What? Why would they do that?

Hector: They felt like they were throwing good money after bad money because we hadn't generated revenues yet. But it's like we were literally days away. I mean, it was like two days after they told me no, the website finally went live. My marketing guy was ready to go. Everything was ready. It was like literally two days after they emailed me that. And then I told them that everything's ready and they still wouldn't do it.

Josh: Hector. Oh.

Hector: I know.

Josh: You were so close. I mean.

Hector: I know. I know. Around that exact moment I basically had to let everybody go, which I did, which was terrible.

Josh: That sucks, man! I mean, you didn't even really get a chance to get this to market.

Hector: I didn't. But I went all in and I have no regrets. I'm actually excited about this whole thing because now that I've had time to be creative, I have two businesses that I'm working on. One of them is kind of a spinoff of Luxology, so a smaller version and a business to business version of it. So that'll be up and running in about two to three months.

Josh: You know this reminds me of a song.

Hector: What song?

Josh: It goes like this, I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down.

Hector: Love that song.

Josh: Oh my gosh.

Hector: Great song. Great song.

Kareem: I’m glad you got him on the phone. That sounds actually really brutal. I feel bad for him.

Heather: I do too. 

Josh: Yeah

Heather: I’m glad he didn’t become an alcoholic though. That would have sucked.


CREDITS

Our show is hosted by me, Josh Muccio. Produced by Heather Rogers and Kareem Maddox. We are edited by Sara Sarasohn and Blythe Terrell.

Theme music by The Muse Maker. Original compositions from Breakmaster Cylinder and The Muse Maker. We are mixed by Enoch Kim. 

Thanks again to everyone who called in! You guys rule.

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Thanks for listening, we’ll be back next week. See you then.