Techpitch 4.5 from 2pears is my favourite pitch and pizza fest in the London calendar. You can hear clearly, you can see clearly, the pitches aren’t repeated and the venue isn’t cramped. The hosts (Pinsett Masons) shows Google Campus how it’s done. Attendance at this event was sparse, largely due to some grown men kicking a pig’s bladder around on a bit of grass somewhere else. Baffling, but true.

The keynote from @stefbard from Mediacom was an intro into how ad spend is changing from the major brands. TV no longer reaches or converts well. The world of digital media is a challenge when it comes to shifting big-brand spend to new formats – whilst still maintaining the ROIs clients need. A few techniques Mediacom have tried caught my eye. The options offered by NFC are interesting. Stefan showed NFC embeds in formats ranging from bus shelters to magazines (how do you recycle that NFC chip, then?). Alternative campaigns included sending personalised 3D printed models of new car designs to bloggers, and using dual-screen apps to modify TV ad content on the fly. All pretty cutting edge, but it just served to illustrate how hard it is to intelligently spend serious ad dollars in the digital economy these.

Here’s some of the pitches which particular engaged me.

Andreas Zachariah from @carbondiem kicked off the pitching, with their personal travel recording app. The ‘big idea’ is that it seamlessly records whether you use tube, car or walk, and derives your personal pollution scores accordingly. Interesting for the motivated consumer, but their model is based on engaging businesses looking to get brownie points for a green travel plan. However, the app’s a bit beta. I downloaded it, and it doesn’t know whether I’m on a bike or in a car – particularly in an urban environment, where speeds are similar. I’d have thought the accelerometer was the key here, and that’s how I understand that ‘moves’ works on iThings. Nevertheless, this is a sector which will see some growth in future – and when the glitches are fixed it will be a useful product. Whether it finds commercial success is all about their marketing approach. Can they win big with corporate clients?

@crisisvu was pitched by Nick Sharples. The purpose of the app is to help governments and large corporations deal with unfolding crises on social media. With powerful visualisation tools, the topics, influence and scale of engagement can be revealed during problematic media events – enabling effective management. So if you’re Aldi and trying to cope with the fact that your customers are less-than-pleased you’ve just fed them a dead horse, you might want to give them a call. This is clearly a niche market, and relies on effectively signing up a relatively small number of high-value customers. An additional challenge is that many organisations can’t even run a decent twitter feed – so selling them the 5 litre V8 version will be tricky. The journey to success will be half client education, and half sales.

Eren Erman from @crumbtrailapp is trying to create enriched content around phone contacts. For example, can you easily find everyone you met at Google Campus in May on your phone? I sure as hell can’t! This is a massive challenge for social butterflies, gladhanders and drunk people everywhere. By geotagging and datestamping contacts at the time of creation, as well as facilitating the addition of additional content, crumbtrail makes your useless memory less of a handicap in daily life.

Wen Lin Soh from @edible_exp is working on a way to aggregate and simplify the food experience market. Everything from cake decoration to wine-tasting is in her sights. Despite the niche nature of the product, they’re already boasting 80K of sales revenue – clearly proving traction. The size of the market will likely pose a barrier to serious VC interest, but as an Angel/lifestyle business, it’s looking very interesting. Various options are available to extend their project into big-hitting territory, such as reusing their code base in different markets – with everything from guitar lessons to Morris dancing a possibility. They can also look to grow the sector, by promoting and retailing courses which otherwise would remain pretty niche. After all, wouldn’t you like more opportunities to drink and eat nice things?

I’ve seen @stickyworld before, so Michael Kohn’s pitch served mainly as a reminder. Their app is designed for use cases including council consultations and museum exploration, but enabling people to add text ‘post it’ style content to virtual environments. This could be the forerunner of some really interesting tech, but it doesn’t presently grab me by the throat.

@qlockwork was ably presented by the experienced and competent Anne Currie. It’s a time-tracking and management tool for people who still have to suffer the misery of regular PC use. I believe they have plans to move to the cloud – and that could make the whole project a lot more exciting – both for users and investors.

@emotivu was Eewei Chen’s recommendation engine for finding movies based on your social media profile. I like this idea, as I’m particularly fussy about not wasting my life watching drivel. However, I couldn’t get the app to work when I tried it. Nevertheless, the panel were positive, pointing out the possibilities offered by integration into b2b players such as play.com, netflix and Amazon. I heartily agree, and thing that this business (and its ilk) have a promising future.

@woodypnr (presented by Phil Woodward) is the curious twitter handle for HipSnip, an ecommerce b2b product enabling retailers to engage with audience questions on a non-realtime basis. This places it halfway between chat and FAQ, so it’s good for retail operations which focus on ‘considered purchases’ – i.e. ones you give a monkey’s about making correctly. I liked the idea so much I passed on their details to a firm I’ve invested in.

The audience and judges’ prizes were different, with Crumbtrail appealing to the great unwashed, and Emotivu winning over the learned panel. Second place was Crisisvu for the hoi poloi, and Carbondiem for the experts – which interestingly gave two solid b2b plays the thumbs up from the judges. Is the new frontier in the web the provision of B2B integrations? Many seem to think so.