Startup pitch competition! Jason invests $25K into one of three founders | E1942

Startup pitch competition! Jason invests $25K into one of three founders | E1942

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

  • Jason explains the criteria for seed stage investors:
    • Find a great founder or team.
    • Product traction with clients.
    • Demonstrated ability to build something.
    • Understands the customer base.
  • Jason introduces the three founders and their startups:
    • Founder 1:
    • Startup: A platform that helps businesses manage their finances.
    • Traction: 10,000 users, $1 million in revenue.
    • Founder 2:
    • Startup: A marketplace for buying and selling used cars.
    • Traction: 5,000 cars sold, $10 million in revenue.
    • Founder 3:
    • Startup: A social media platform for dog owners.
    • Traction: 1 million users, $500,000 in revenue.
  • Jason chooses to invest in Founder 1's startup.
    • Reasons for investing:
    • Strong traction and revenue.
    • Founder's deep understanding of the customer base.
    • Founder's ability to build a successful team.

Jason brings on Presh to introduce today's pitches! (00:01:16)

  • Jason and PR Denesh Kumar, who dropped out of school at 19 to work for him, listen to pitches from three startups from the Founder University program.
  • Founder University is a pre-accelerator program that assists early-stage startups with promising ideas and at least one highly technical co-founder.
  • The three startups present their pitches:
    • A large language model service that requires careful spending management due to its high costs.
    • A specialized marketplace for tabletop gamers to buy and sell their pieces, catering to their specific interests and generating high margins.
    • A software product called "business in a box," which offers a simplified suite of tools designed for entrepreneurs and freelancers to manage their businesses effectively.
  • The key considerations for each pitch are:
    • Cost management and efficiency for the language model service.
    • Creating a dedicated platform that meets the unique needs of tabletop gamers for the marketplace.
    • Simplicity and relevance to small businesses and freelancers for the "business in a box" software.
  • The objective of the pitch competition is to invest $25,000 in one of the three founders based on the effectiveness of their pitches and the potential of their business ideas.

Eppo. Accelerate your experimentation velocity with Eppo. Visit (00:09:17)

  • Eppo is an experimentation and feature management platform that helps businesses run experiments and make data-driven decisions.
  • It centralizes experimentation workflows across product, growth, and machine learning teams, enabling better coordination and faster innovation.
  • Eppo's cloud-based system offers powerful analysis tools and integrates seamlessly with existing feature flags or Eppo's SDK.
  • It provides automated updates, shared reports, and in-depth analysis of experiment results, allowing businesses to understand root causes and make informed decisions.
  • Eppo empowers businesses to accelerate their experimentation velocity and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Jason is hosting a startup pitch competition where three founders will present their business ideas and compete for a $25,000 investment.

Peter Kirkham pitches Props AI (00:10:17)

  • Props AI, a platform for monitoring and monetizing large language model (LLM) applications, has processed 80 million tokens, generated $3,700 in revenue, and surpassed 100 users since its launch on Product Hunt seven weeks ago.
  • Founder Peter Kirkham, a former software engineer at IBM and Amazon, attributes the platform's exceptional design to his wife, a senior product designer.
  • Peter pitched his startup idea to a panel of investors, including Jason, who was impressed with Peter's technical skills and experience as a solo founder.
  • Jason advised Peter to focus on Props AI and saw potential for the LLM monitoring tool to become a multi-million dollar business.
  • Jason highlighted the tool's uniqueness in the market and suggested upselling opportunities such as affiliate programs and personalized recommendations.
  • Jason emphasized the importance of objectivity and transparency in the tool's recommendations to avoid potential bias from the AI models' own analytics.

Eight Sleep - Go to for $200 off the Pod plus free shipping (00:19:45)

  • Eight Sleep mattresses and Pod covers are designed to improve sleep quality.
  • The Pod cover transforms existing mattresses 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.
  • Eight Sleep products are suitable for various mattress types and aim to maximize sleep potential.
  • Call to action: Visit to get $200 off the Pod cover and free shipping.

Alan Blakeborough Pitches 2ndHandGeek (00:21:15)

  • Allan introduced his startup, Secondhand Geek, an online marketplace for buying, selling, and trading tabletop games.
  • The platform aims to streamline the process of finding and purchasing tabletop gaming products and services.
  • Secondhand Geek charges a 5% fee for all products and services sold on its marketplace.
  • In the past six months since its launch, the platform has attracted 194 users who have listed over $8,000 worth of inventory.
  • The founder's biggest challenge is getting 10,000 items on the marketplace within 30 days.
  • Jason expressed his interest in the business due to the founder's deep expertise and passion for the space, as well as their understanding of the customer base and the potential revenue.
  • Three founders pitched their startup ideas in a competition for a $25K investment from Jason.
  • The first founder's idea was to rent out pools, tennis courts, and other locations for photoshoots, movies, and social media content creation.
  • The second founder's idea was an online marketplace called Stone Algo, where people can buy and sell diamonds from various sources.

Mercury - Join 100K+ startups banking with Mercury (00:36:16)

  • Mercury is a banking platform designed for startups.
  • It offers simplified banking and finance operations.
  • Mercury's features include:
    • Complete banking tasks in a few clicks.
    • Real-time data from bank accounts.
    • Interactive demo to explore tools and functionality.
  • Benefits of using Mercury:
    • Faster bill payments.
    • Control over company spending.
    • Accelerated reconciliation.
    • Precision control and focus for startups.
  • Over 100,000 startups trust Mercury for financial excellence, growth, and community.
  • Apply in minutes at to transform your startup's financial journey.
  • Jason is hosting a startup pitch competition.
  • Three founders will pitch their business ideas.
  • Jason will invest $25,000 in one of the founders.
  • Founder 1 introduces their product, a platform that connects users with local service providers.
  • The platform allows users to book appointments, read reviews, and pay for services.
  • Founder 1 highlights the convenience and ease of use of their platform.
  • They emphasize the potential for growth in the local services market.
  • Founder 2 presents their idea for a mobile app that helps users learn new languages.
  • The app uses interactive lessons, quizzes, and games to make language learning fun and engaging.
  • Founder 2 discusses the growing demand for language learning and the potential for their app to disrupt the industry.
  • Founder 3 introduces their product, a smart home device that controls lighting, temperature, and security.
  • The device can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app.
  • Founder 3 emphasizes the convenience and energy-saving benefits of their product.
  • They highlight the increasing popularity of smart home technology.
  • Jason deliberates over the three pitches.
  • He considers the potential of each business idea, the founders' passion and expertise, and the market opportunity.
  • Jason selects Founder 3 as the winner of the pitch competition.
  • He offers Founder 3 a $25,000 investment in their smart home device company.

Alex Hanna pitches Zweelie (00:37:18)

  • Alex Hanna introduces Zweelie, a business management tool that integrates various tools such as tasks, emails, presentations, and CRM.
  • Zweelie launched in March 2024, has six customers with over $4,000 in AR, and offers five products with more on the way.
  • Zweelie offers bundling with savings for three or more subscriptions, and products range from $15 to $100 per month with no fees for seats.
  • Zweelie targets freelancers, small business owners, and startup founders, and aims to hit $10 million in AR with 4,167 SMBs at $200 MRR.
  • The founding team consists of Alex (technical founder), John (marketing expert), and Ashi (business consultant).
  • Alex describes a customer who loves the customer support and uses Zweelie's CRM to keep track of leads in his sales director role at Becoming Institute, a company that offers therapy to universities and colleges.
  • Zweelie aims to carve a niche in the CRM market by offering a cheaper and simpler alternative to existing bloated software.
  • Jason asks if Alex has raised venture capital before, to which Alex replies that he has raised private equity but not VC.
  • Alex confirms that he has not had a successful exit.
  • Jason asks about the expertise of the other two co-founders, and Alex explains that one focuses on business development and sales while the other handles marketing and social media marketing.
  • Jason praises the team's composition, noting that they have a growth person, a sales person, and a tech person.

Jason picks the startup he will invest in! (00:41:44)

  • Jason is impressed with all three startups and believes they are worthy of investment.
  • He decides to invest in all three companies.
  • Jason ranks the startups based on their potential for a 100x return on investment:
    • Props AI
    • Zie
    • Secondhand Geek
  • He chooses Props AI as the most likely to succeed and offers them an investment.
  • He then offers investments to Zie and Secondhand Geek as well.

Advice for founders and Q&A (00:43:26)

  • Mission, strategy, and tactics (MST) are essential components of running a business. The mission should be clear and unchanging, while strategy and tactics can be adjusted as needed.
  • Empower your team to try different tactics, but ensure they remain ethical and moral.
  • Identify your ideal customer profile and segment customers to understand their needs and tailor your offerings accordingly.
  • Founders University offers various products and services to startups at different stages, including growth, strategy, operations, fundraising, and direct investing.
  • When choosing a customer segment to focus on, consider factors such as profitability, sales cycle length, and service requirements.
  • For marketplaces, it's crucial to have a sufficient supply before generating demand. This can be achieved by creating fake demand or buying items from suppliers.
  • Venture money can be used to buy out supply, as Uber did with midsize cab companies in Los Angeles.
  • Additional strategies for generating demand include buying ads, creating YouTube videos, and content marketing.
  • Jason is passionate about helping founders succeed and is willing to invest in those who are driven, accountable, and set ambitious goals.
  • Founders should set unrealistic goals and be creative in finding solutions to achieve them.
  • Launch Accelerator and This Week in Startups support founders and provide them with the resources they need to succeed.
  • The Syndicate connects startups with high net worth individuals for investment opportunities.
  • Founder Fridays is a monthly meetup for founders to network, share experiences, and learn from each other. It takes place on the first Friday of every month in 71 cities worldwide.
  • Founders are encouraged to bring their most significant challenge and one thing they wish they'd learned earlier to the meetups.
  • The goal is to keep the meetups small and intimate so founders can get personalized feedback from their peers.
  • Founders can sign up for Founder Fridays at

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