What We Learned at PowerMoves.NOLA: Featuring 12 Start-ups To Watch

Last week, the Sein team had the opportunity to attend the 2nd annual PowerMoves.NOLA national conference in New Orleans and Samuel Belu-John presented at the Morgan Stanley FinTech Showcase.

We first learned of PowerMoves when we met Janelle Alexander in New York a few months ago. When they invited us to New Orleans, we weren’t sure what to expect from the conference, but walked away in agreement, that after participating and attending around 50 showcases and pitch competitions over the past 3 years, this was probably the best in terms of pitch quality and the value propositions of the presenting companies.

We won’t be able to comment on all the pitches we saw. For that we refer you to a full recap of the entire conference by Brian Laung Aoaeh, which can be found here. Instead we want to focus on a few of the companies that truly presented a compelling story and value proposition. First the disclaimer, this is our opinion, it is not a reflection of the judges. However, it does reflect conversations we had with other attendants at the conference.

Special shout-outs to the following winners

  • NtensifyMerch:for winning the Entergy Angel Pitch. Ntensify provides a branded in-app merchandise store as an additional revenue stream for mobile app developer. Their value proposition was clearly articulated and their traction to date is impressive.
  • Partpic: winner of the Morgan Stanley Series A pitch. Partpic is an enterprise solution that simplifies the process of how companies search for and purchase replacement parts using visual recognition technology. The company has built a database of over 2-million parts and has acquired several fortune 500 companies as customers.
  • Getcallr: won the PowerUp Demo Day Pitch. GetCallr simply makes conference calls less of a hassle as profiled in TechCrunch. The app makes it easy to search for, find and dial those elusive conference call number yourself.
  • Flat Out of Heels: won the Big Break Power Pitch. CEO Dawn Dickson presented her company’s solution to stiletto sore feet. The rollable flats are comfortable and compact enough to fit in a small purse. Placed in venues like airports, nightclubs, malls, and hotels, their vending machines make it convenient to get emergency shoes when needed.

More companies to watch

We admired the value proposition offered by the following companies because they either fit nicely into our area of expertise or their product offering, value proposition and/or traction was compelling:

  • Maker’s Row: As Brooklyn natives, we were very glad to connect with them. Maker’s Row is a B2B online market place connecting brands with US-based manufacturers. The company currently hosts over 75,000 brands and 6,000 US factories.
  • Quarrio: We were very excited about learning about the company’s Natural Language Interface that allows anyone to query a database without writing code. The SaaS application has a variety of uses and we are excited about exploring ways to work together.
  • Black&Sexy.TV: Their product offering and revenue projection of $1MM for this year were really impressive. Also, we liked the fact that some of their series are now available on Netflix. The company describes their product as Netflix plus HBO for the black diaspora.
  • Keystoke: With companies now focused on “mobile first” as a strategy this company offers a faster and easier way to build cross-platform, iOS, Windows and Android apps. They have developed a platform that allows for the development and deployment of your mobile application to multiple app stores at once, saving you precious time and money along the way.

FinTech start-ups

As a FinTech company, we were most interested in the companies presenting at the Morgan Stanley FinTech Showcase. We were impressed with the value proposition and traction of all the presenting companies. Here we provide a brief overview on the other FinTech start-ups who pitched.

  • eMoneyPool: This web platform is a digital twist on a very old idea that is very common in many cultures across South America, Africa and Asia Members pool funds to borrow and save together. Groups pool their funds and then take turns benefiting from the money in the pool.
  • LendStreet: LendStreet is a peer-to-peer lending company that helps low-income consumers. The company combines credit counseling and distressed debt financing in a social lending platform that enables distressed debtors to proactively refinance existing debt into a low interest loan.IMGP4281
  • Munivestor: Munivestor offers a financial application that tracks news, trades and market events for over two million individual municipal bonds.
  • Visage Payroll: Visage Payroll is a SaaS payroll startup established on the belief that small businesses shouldn’t have to pay to pay their employees or their taxes. There are 28 million small businesses in the US and 4M of those have less than 4 employees. We can help owners save an average of 10 hours/month and $1,800/year. Using back of the napkin math, that’s $50.4B in US small business savings and 280M hours a month being lost.

We would like to say special thanks to the PowerMoves team: Leslie Jacobs, Earl Robinson, Jimmy Roussel, Janelle Alexander, Candice Black and September Hargrove. Special thanks to the judges of the Morgan Stanley FinTech Showcase: Carla Harris, Charles Gaspard, Malick Diop, Nicole Irvin, William Oakland and Todd McDonald. We also appreciate Alden McDonald for opening his home for a great party, where we met the mayor of New Orleans and Edward Lewis, founder of Essence magazine. What an amazing way to spend the 4th of July weekend!