‘Pitch Day’ brings out startup ideas

Nov. 29, 2012 @ 07:56 PM

A search engine for patents. A website where professionals can set up group events.

Entrepreneurs pitched those startup business premises and others on Thursday as part of Triangle Startup Factory’s second “Pitch Day” that drew potential investors and others to Bay 7 of the American Tobacco campus in Durham.

The day is the culmination of the three-month-long Triangle Startup Factory program, which promises mentorship as well as $50,000 in seed funding for technology businesses that are just getting off the ground.

This was the second Pitch Day for the program, which operates from offices in the basement of American Tobacco. The area has become known as a hub for startups and entrepreneurs in Durham.

Triangle Startup Factory’s first such event was held in June for six startups. The deadline is Jan. 20 for an upcoming spring session, and the program has funding to run through 2015, said Chris Heivly, the program’s managing director.

Entrepreneurs from five startups made pitches Thursday. Of those businesses, Heivly said in an email message that three have products that are ready to release, and two have products still in beta development.

Initially, there was a sixth company expected to participate in the second Triangle Startup Factory session, a start-up called Tilt. Heivly said Tilt’s leaders pulled out of the program of their own accord within the first two weeks.

Brian Bochicco, who is in sales and development for a startup called A.I. Patents, or “Artificial Intelligence” Patents, was the first to take the stage on Thursday.

Bochicco said the A.I. Patents team has developed a simpler, “very intelligent” alternative to existing competitors’ patent search technologies.

He said the technology could be attractive to law firms that specialize in patent litigation, or to patent research companies.

The team has its own patents pending in eight countries, Bochicco said, and has developed a minimum viable product.

Entrepreneurs also took the stage on Thursday from Able Devices, a company working on remote, wireless communication machine-to-machine technology, and from Alekto Corp., a startup developing a service that would hold consumers’ funds in escrow until the proper credit reporting is carried out in order to prevent credit report errors.

The startup Offline Media has developed an online tool to allow professionals to create, join and share events, and PopUp is behind a mobile service developed to allow a person to get information from people or organizations after arriving at their location.

Heivly said in the email message that PopUp, Offline Media, and A.I. Patents have versions of their products ready, while Able Devices and Alekto are in the beta development phase. All of the startups are working on product development, he said.