As usual, the @2_pears crew turned out at the Pinsett Masons offices, with another pizza-fuelled evening of ace startups.  This crew just never disappoints…

@adoorfor opened the action, with Frederick Thackeray-Vincent doing for film locations what AirBnB has done for bedrooms.  If you need to find a derelict warehouse, a Georgian townhouse in period style, or an overgrown World War II air-raid shelter, you’ll be able to dig it out in A Door For.  It’s a great concept, and one I hope can be brought online.  However, the location agent market is pretty vibrant, and it’s not entirely clear to me that users of the service will be able to present their space in a way that makes sense for potential hirers.  One to watch, but not a project I’d bet the farm on just yet.

@makerble was presented by Matt Kepple.  He’s a talented afro-Caribbean entrepreneur, who cuts a distinctive figure on the startup scene – with his stylish, urbane and professional demeanour, and quiet passion for his project.  The concept of Markerble is allowing donors to track the charity contributions they make to a finer grain than would normally be possible.  It lets those who pay the piper hear the tune, as their donations are allocated to individual projects – and reports on the results achieved close the loop.  It really could change the way we give.  I’ve already exited from a fundraising firm, so I know they can have a commercial angle, as well as pleasing the soul.

@plannedeparture is trying to solve the digital legacy problem.  It’s a big issue, as technology becomes democratised, and the earliest of the early adopters eventually must go the way of COBOL, to the great mainframe in the sky.  However, a great concept and a great execution aren’t the same.  The risk with any startup that tries to solve this problem is that *it* won’t be there before *you* aren’t there.  I personally would look for an organisation with real longevity before committing to a specific legacy product.  Komal Joshi’s onto a promising sector, and from conversations elsewhere, I known she’s on the case to improve the organisational stability, and make this a dependable brand.

@safevox was an idea that aimed to solve the problem that blackphones are also aimed at, with the convenience of software solution.  Ojars Josts is banking on people wanting to talk in private, without spending the kind of cash required to get a true hardware blackphone.  Personally, I’m not completely sold on the concept.  The problem with Total Surveillance is that anyone trying to hide from it ends up looking like they’ve got something to hide.  (Let’s face it, if you don’t want the state to know everything about you, then you must be a terrorist).  I think that this product will attract users who need to hide, and who are on a tight budget.  But whether ordinary users will pick up this idea in droves is questionable.  If you want true security, you probably have to pony up for a blackphone anyway – because there’s more than one point in a communication chain you can intercept it at.  I’m just not confident that a software-only solution can really offer the end-to-end security of a blackphone.

@golf_121 were presented by John Robinson, and they aimed to allow golfers to record their swing and have it analysed.  This provides an extremely quick and cheap way for players to get the feedback from a golf pro – and hence keep the costs down as they improve their game.  Taking a video selfie whilst swinging a club isn’t easy, and you’ll probably need a grown-up to help you with this one.  The concept is sensible, but I am not sure it’s ever going to be a slick enough experience to attract a mass-market audience.  I think there are possible ways to improve the way the system works in practice, but the team clearly have their own vision, and aren’t necessarily open to new approaches.

@TransferGo were quite possibly an example of saving the best till last.  Their simple forex concept is based on improving remittances, primarily to Eastern Europe.  One of my maxims of investment is to follow Deep Throat’s advice: follow the money.  Wherever people are spending, there’s an opportunity to monetize.  TransferGo are providing a technologically slick service, which meets the needs of a market they can pin down.  It’s a good strategy, and I expect them to do well.

This is a great event, and just like the Terminator, I’ll be back.