Startup pitch competition! Jason invests $25K into one of three founders | E1932

Startup pitch competition! Jason invests $25K into one of three founders | E1932

Jason kicks off the show! (00:00:00)

  • Jason discusses the importance of being able to build a product and find co-founders as an entrepreneur.
  • He mentions that investors perceive entrepreneurs negatively if they lack these skills.
  • Wistia: An all-in-one video platform for businesses.
  • Eight Sleep: Offers the Pod cover to improve sleep quality.
  • Northwest Registered Agent: Provides services to help entrepreneurs start their businesses.
  • Launch is Jason's Venture Capital fund that focuses on pre-seed and seed-stage startups.
  • Founder University is a pre-accelerator program created by Launch to help founders navigate the early stages of starting a business.
  • The 12-week course has been effective in helping founders get started.
  • About half of the companies that apply to Founder University are not even incorporated yet.

Jason brings on Presh to explain the fundamentals of Founder University and introduces today's pitches! (00:02:49)

  • Founder University is a program that helps entrepreneurs build their startups.
  • The program has evolved over time to prioritize "Builder Founders" who are a combination of developer, designer, and growth hacker.
  • Teams with two or three co-founders are preferred as they can support each other and cover for each other's weaknesses.
  • Solo founders often lack direction and fail to build anything during the 12-week program.
  • Founders should be able to build a product and find co-founders to be successful.
  • Jared from Umbrella Sports is the first founder to pitch.

Jared Lewandowski pitches Umbrella Sports (00:06:40)

  • Jared Lowsky, founder of Umbrella Sports, introduced Smart Grip, a golf training aid that uses sensors and an algorithm to track and analyze swing data, providing personalized advice for improvement.
  • Smart Grip had a successful crowdfunding campaign and received positive customer feedback.
  • The company plans to offer two models: a basic model for $150 and a pro model with data tracking and a subscription-based companion app for $500, with an additional $99 annual subscription fee.
  • Smart Grip aims to generate $100 million by 2025 through hardware sales and subscriptions and $1 billion by 2030 through B2B partnerships.
  • The company's unfair advantage lies in Jared's experience in product design, passion for golf, and co-founder's expertise in global production and manufacturing.
  • The investment community's reaction to hardware companies at the pre-seed or seed stage is typically not very positive due to hardware being seen as a one-time sale, requiring continuous upselling of different products, unlike subscription-based models that provide predictable revenue.

Wistia - Try Wistia for free (00:13:20)

  • Wistia is a powerful tool for marketers to supercharge their video strategy.
  • It has a unique feature that allows popups to appear in videos, capturing viewers' email addresses.
  • Wistia integrates seamlessly with various marketing tools, automatically sending leads to the user's marketing platform.
  • Custom CTAs can be added to videos to drive prospects to the next stage of the sales funnel.
  • Wistia offers advanced analytics for analyzing and marketing videos.
  • It is the perfect tool for marketers looking to enhance lead generation, streamline lead nurturing, and improve user engagement.
  • Viewers can try Wistia for free by visiting

Linda Gray pitches Mastertech (00:14:47)

  • MasterTech AI is an AI-powered platform that aims to revolutionize auto repair by providing professional auto technicians and DIY enthusiasts with faster, easier, and safer repairs.
  • It aggregates technical service bulletins, community data, and vehicle-specific service history to offer comprehensive information for accurate vehicle diagnostics and repairs.
  • MasterTech AI guides technicians through OEM specifications and procedures using an AI conversational interface, ensuring data accuracy and adherence to manufacturer guidelines.
  • The platform also indexes relevant DIY demonstrations from YouTube, extracting key information to ensure safe and efficient repairs.
  • MasterTech AI is finalizing licensing agreements with OEM data providers for all vehicles to ensure data accuracy.
  • The target market includes over 240,000 auto repair shops in the US, with revenue projections of $10 million and $100 million based on specific shop adoption milestones.
  • The initial interface will be a web-based chatbot, with plans to expand to a voice assistant, mobile app, and eventually AR integration.
  • The company plans to charge $300 per month for the service, comparable to current market rates.
  • The product launch is scheduled for May 1st, with more information to be released soon.

Eight Sleep - Go to for $200 off the Pod plus free shipping (00:22:51)

  • Eight Sleep mattresses help people succeed in their fields by providing quality sleep.
  • The Eight Sleep Pod cover transforms any mattress with Dual Zone Heating and Cooling, allowing couples with different temperature preferences to sleep comfortably.
  • Advanced sleep tracking helps monitor metrics like heart rate, enabling users to manage their sleep.
  • Investing in the Eight Sleep Pod cover maximizes sleep and potential.
  • Call to action: Visit to get $200 off the Pod cover and free shipping.

Aleksandr Diamond pitches Ellis (00:24:20)

  • Alexander from Ellis pitches his unified B2B email marketing platform that automates setup and personalizes emails with AI, resulting in a 5x better conversion rate compared to traditional templated email marketing systems.
  • Ellis charges a monthly subscription of $300 and a credit for each person contacted, with no charges for bounced or spam emails, and maintains a 50% plus margin on all accounts.
  • In the first four months since its launch, Ellis has acquired nine customers, including eight startups and one enterprise, and has crossed $122k in revenue.
  • Jason acknowledges the problem that Ellis solves and expresses interest in the service, particularly its ability to avoid spam filters and create targeted, interesting email sequences.
  • Combining various services, including ZoomInfo, is considered to create a comprehensive solution for startups.
  • Startups are an ideal target market due to their resource constraints, willingness to adopt new technologies, and openness to trying new solutions to gain an edge over larger competitors.

Jason and Presh assess the startups (00:29:39)

  • Jason is evaluating three startups for potential investment: MasterTech, a SaaS company, and Umbrella Sports.
  • MasterTech has builder founders, co-founders, and a core business model but lacks world-class design, previous exits, raised venture capital, and product velocity.
  • Umbrella Sports has a builder founder and multiple co-founders, but it's unclear if the other co-founders are builders.
  • Both companies have builder founders who are writing code, which is important for product velocity.
  • Umbrella Sports is capital efficient, has product velocity, and is moving to a favorable subscription model.
  • The co-founders have worked together on a previous startup, indicating a serial team.
  • Jason is willing to invest $25,000 in one of the three founders in stages.

Northwest Registered Agent - Get a 60% discount on your next LLC (00:39:43)

  • Northwest Registered Agent offers quick and easy business formation services with a full business identity setup.
  • For just $39 plus state fees, they will form your company and launch your business in minutes.

Jason makes his decision on who will receive $25K (00:44:12)

  • Jason had to choose one of the three founders to invest in.
  • He initially favored MasterTech due to their clear path to reaching a high valuation.
  • However, he acknowledged the potential of Ellis, a consumer-facing business, based on the success of previous consumer investments.
  • Ultimately, Jason decided to invest in all three companies, deviating from the usual practice of investing in only one.

Feedback on the Founder University experience (00:44:51)

  • Jason warns against investing in startups due to the high risk of failure but encourages passionate entrepreneurs to apply to Founder University's 12-week program.
  • Founder University graduate Linda suggests expanding networking opportunities and refining the curriculum.
  • Founder Fridays, a monthly meetup for founders, is introduced to combat loneliness and provide a platform for founders to connect and collaborate.
  • Founders are encouraged to host Founder Fridays in their cities, keeping the gatherings small and exclusive to founders.
  • Founders University received positive feedback for its honesty, real feedback, and well-paced content.
  • Suggestions for improvement included providing more in-depth time with speakers and more one-on-one events.
  • Founders appreciated the accountability and structure of the weekly Monday update meetings.
  • There was a desire for more in-person interactions and learning opportunities, especially for Bay Area Founders.
  • A paid Coordinator of Founder Fridays position is announced to manage and keep the project moving forward.

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