• AngelPad Elbows 13 Young Startups Into the World

    AngelPad Demo DayThe demo days of five-year-old AngelPad — an accelerator program run by married founders Thomas Korte and Carine Magescas – have become a hot ticket both in New York and San Francisco. Yesterday afternoon was no different. In downtown San Francisco, in a crowded co-working office space, 13 companies that had been groomed over the preceding four months pitched select investors, and they appeared to like what they heard.

    No doubt the investors were expecting big things. AngelPad works with two batches of roughly 12 companies twice a year – one on each coast—and nearly all of them have snagged seed funding from investors, with a handful of startups going on to raise tens of millions of dollars, including Vungle, Crittercism, and Postmates.

    AngelPad — which takes a 7 percent stake in each startup in exchange for $50,000 (plus another $4,000 per founder) — has even come close to a billion-dollar exit in MoPub, a mobile advertising startup that Twitter acquired for $350 million in stock in September 2013; the company was worth roughly $800 million when Twitter went public two months later.

    Whether AngelPad’s newest batch — its eighth — will prove as promising remains to be seen. But at least a handful of companies looked like strong contenders for follow-on funding.

    One of our favorites, for example, was CstorePro, a SaaS application that promises to help convenience store owners more easily track their sundry, disparate products, as well as assist them in buying what they need, in the right amounts, from the cheapest wholesalers.

    The company isn’t alone in the space. StoreTender and Retalix are just two other vendors trying to help owners streamline their store operations. The world of convenience stores is also highly fractured — which could be a challenge or an opportunity, depending on your vantage point. According to the research group IBISWorld, roughly 68.2 percent of convenience-store operators employ less than five people. Still, there’s a giant market to pursue here. According to IBIS, as of 2012, the U.S. convenience store and truck stop industry included about 120,000 stores with combined annual revenue of about $355 billion.

    A second company that piqued our interest is Allay, an easy-to-use online HR and benefits platform for the country’s 500,000 insurance brokers — many of whom are getting knocked around by the fast-growing health insurance broker Zenefits. Given those brokers stand to lose $32.5 billion in yearly commissions, you can bet there’s a big opportunity in helping them figure out a better way to pair buyers and sellers of health care, and quickly.

    We also really liked HelloSponsor, an online platform that helps brand advertisers find, buy, and track sponsorships at scale. Roughly $3 billion is spent yearly on consumer events, and anyone who has tried to raise money for one can tell you that it’s a pain in the neck. The big question is whether sponsors will be as eager to scour opportunities on the platform – including by industry and geography – as event organizers will be eager to be found.

    Of course, you’re the investors! If you’d like to form your own opinions about the startups that presented yesterday, you can find the full list on a tear sheet here. AngelPad has also made it simple to meet with any or all of them. Just click here.

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