NYC Seed Start Demo Day shows New York knows how to build startups

At today’s NYC Seed Start Demo Day, companies pitched a crowd of over a hundred of New York City’s early-stage investors. Five fledgling startups presented to a packed house, hoping to catch the attention of investors willing to write them a big check.

NYC Seed Start is an incubator program in the mold of Y-Combinator and Techstars funded by a syndicate of venture firms including RRE Ventures, Polaris Ventures, Contour Ventures, and IA Ventures.

In exchange for 5 percent of the company, NYC Seed Start companies receive $20,000 in seed funding and are enrolled in an eight-week program that gives the startups a workspace, legal advice, and mentorship opportunities with experienced entrepreneurs.

One of the most interesting products at Demo Day was Introspectr, a service that helps users search email, Twitter, and Facebook messages. The unified search service indexes messages, links, documents and photos, “an aggregator of personal accounts on the web,” as company co-founder Lonnie Rosenbaum described it. The company plans to begin a closed beta in the next week or so, according to Rosenbaum.

Another intriguing startup was Reducify, a mint.com for your electricity usage. The company’s presentation was an example of the growth possible through intensive programs like NYC Seed.

When I orginially met Reducify’s founders at the program’s launch party, their elevator pitch was simply dreadful. Speaking to the founders after they presented, it was clear they had an interesting vision but it wasn’t necessarily obvious they could package it into a compelling product. They were timid and lacked a cohesive message — deer caught in headlights of the lawyers and venture capitalists in the room.

But there was no hint of trepidation in the Reducify team today as they delivered a clearly thought out and interesting presentation in front of a packed house.

Reducify uses information from utilities and users to estimate energy usage by appliance. It provides tips on how to save money and gives users advice on which appliances to buy, providing the startup with a $1.2 billion affiliate marketing opportunity.

As the founders worked the room, they seemed confident and in control, a huge step from about two months earlier.

This was the vision Davis had when he got the idea for NYC Seed Start, a New York based program providing basic resources to help startups mature quickly into companies worthy of venture capital investment.

“When I look at Seed Start, it has its own identity,” Davis said. ” Tech stars, Y-Combinator have a whole group of experienced people and we do to. New York is where it’s at right now.”

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