Techpitch 4.5 is now established as the premier high-frequency London pitching event for the tech scene. Today’s banquet of gourmet startups included the following delicacies, in order of appearance:

Ginicam – Glen Ricardson @ginicam
2nd place audience, 3rd place Judges
This business is perhaps best summarized as ebay for online services, provided by video. If you want to buy an online guitar lesson, or some yoga, this is a platform to help you. Services are paid per minute, and denominated in ‘Genies’ virtual currency, which allow you to both buy and sell on the platform. I’ve seen a similar pitch from Josh Liu of MinuteBox (which had a fairly negative TechCrunch review, I’m told). There also exist some specialist versions in other fields, such as languages. The concept is fairly sensible, but there has to be something special to lift this one over a number of other startups who have tried to dominate this space. They have raised 700K, and are looking for 2M. This is a big, fat startup. It also has some heavy-hitting competition from elance, etc. and this could be switched to video very quickly. I also hear they have some pretty interesting video technology, so watch this space. It looks like they might have done something very interesting indeed with that money they spent….

Kwanli – Leslie Onyesoh @lonyehsoh
Think of this like Western Union for b2b. This international payment solution is raising 400k, for businesses seeing to avoid the risk and hassle of using cards and the like to take overseas orders. They charge a 1% fee, which is competitive for small amounts, but may cause issues with large b2b payments. At present, they’re looking to use banks to push out the service. That’s a very long, hard route to market, but a pivot in their customer acquisition strategy may be viable.

MyMusic – David Nicholson @mymusicdotcom
MyMusic seeks to aggregate music web content into a single platform, which is pulled in from all the relevant services out on the web. So, if you like Skrillex or Will.I.Am, you can find all their youtube and other content pulled into one place. The clever-clogs platform can even work out what you like, so it will serve you Skrillex covers or Will.I.Am live gigs, depending on your tastes. They have an impressive team with long track records. Stickiness on site is high, with good figures for pageviews and time on site, so users are clearly engaged. However, competition in the sector is very high. The specific USP is trackability for the record labels,which will hopefully ensure their cooperation, and a decent revenue stream. The problem it solves fro them is that music firms have great difficulty telling which of the people who view online content actually spend money – and on what. The site therefore gives music companies power like Google Analytics to draw insight into their user engagement. So if watching Skrillex videos makes people go and buy Skrillex tickets, they’ll be able to find out – massively increasing the effectiveness of their advertising.

NightZookeeper – Joshua Davidson & Paul Hutson @nightzookeeper
Overall winner
The Night Zoo Keeper has been around on the startup scene for some time. I’ve seen their pitch several times. The personable team and captivating pitch never fails to impress me. The concept is a game for schoolchildren to use in the classroom, with the opportunity to upgrade for home play. This is an interesting model which means they have the potential both to scale rapidly, and to monetize effectively. This is definitely one to watch. They’re currently looking for investment, based on (apparently) successful trials. Charging is likely to be around £30 per year. The concept got a fair bit of love from the panel, which seems to be a pattern. They just seem to charm people!

Shhmooze – Michelle Gallen @shhmooze
This startup is aimed at improving the networking experience at conferences. Manufacturing serendipity, perhaps? They’ve been recognised by WIRED, LeWeb and others, and are seeking 500K. LinkedIn seems an obvious acquirer, should they become successful.

Shopitize Alexey Andriyanenko @shopitize
4th Place, Judges
Think cardmunch, but for receipts. This allows you to collate all the information about everything you buy, across all retailers. Simples! With gamification features, and rewards for engagement, this enables FMCG and retail brands to give gifts and bonuses for those previously impossible-to-track purchases. Nestle, for example, have no idea if you buy Gold Blend or not. This fixes that problem for them, and provides a win-win benefit for consumers, who can get all kinds of freebies.

Songdrop – Brittney Bean @songdropapp
3rd place (2nd Judges)
Songdrop is like Pintrest for music. You can discover, collate and share both web based music content, and your own mp3 files. I’ve worked with Brittney Bean in the past, and she’s always struck me as an extremely competent and engaging young woman. The only challenge is monetization (oh, and customer acquisition). But the product is great, and I’m really tempted to start using it. Sometimes, you’ve just got to have the guts to wait for monetization. They’ve got a couple of promising strategies to earn, though. It just remains to be seen what their conversion rates will be. I think this could end up being the kind of business which takes a while to find its feet, from a payment point of view, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets early and large market uptake. It’s a very backable concept, based on the kind of things I see getting funded.

TankTopTV – Liz Rice @tanktoptv
Continuing with the media discovery idea, TankTopTV is all about providing TV recommendations and making them social. The key point is that it’s a platform for recommending streaming TV content, something which isn’t dominated by anyone else right now. Streaming video is a big competitor to pay TV, and seems to be riding a wave, with some real sentiment towards rejecting pay TV for streaming at present. This service provides the means to curate and organise that content. Think of it like a Sky box for web TV. The founder, Liz Rice, is a long-standing member of the tech scene. She’s a very able Cambridge engineering Graduate, which should give confidence to investors that she’s got both the experience and the brains to develop a killer startup. They’re not looking to raise right now, so you’ll have to wait, if you want a piece. As a married couple, the team is as tight as it gets, so expect that to influence the way the firm develops. This is a big, expensive play, but quite possibly one which could be well placed to dominate a huge, emerging market. I think they could raise a lot, and go a long way. Whether this market ends up being fragmented, or integrated, remains to be seen. The size of the potential prize makes this a particular favourite of mine, but they need to get a clear strategy to bring users onto the platform, such as by doing partnership deals. Spotify offers an excellent model of how to take this kind of brand to scale.

The panel for today’s event included Julian Carter from the tech-focussed EC1 Capital, and the very opinionated (in a good way!) Inmaculada Martinez from Opus Corporate finance. As usual, it was hosted by Danvers Baillieu, COO of Privax, which is famous for HideMyAss. The excellent (and fortunately air-conditioned) venue is just a few mins walk from Liverpool St. and Moorgate, and has a Boris bike dock nearby.

Keynote for the evening was David Mansfield, who lists Game, Capital Radio (COO) and Carphone Warehouse on his CV. He is now a noted Angel Investor and chairman of RAJAR and MusicFestivals PLC. He’s so experienced, he can actually remember rationing! The talk was some good, common sense advice for excitable young startups, with lots of real-life examples to illustrate the important messages about keeping liquidity high and not underestimating the cost of sales. Ignore at your peril…

If you’re serious about the tech scene, this is probably the single most important high-frequency event to be at. Don’t miss it again.