We're back in the office after spending the morning at NYC Dreamit Demo Day where 14 startups pitched their ideas to the tech community.
Two of the startups, AfterSteps and LetsGiftIt, were finalists in Business Insider's Startup 2011 competition. Every presentation was good, but here were the standout startups of the morning:Hoot.me (Raising $300,000)
Founders: Michael Koetting, Sid Upadhyay, Gaurav Sanghani, and "Chief Stud" Wylie Conlon Hoot.Me is a Facebook application that turns the social network into an on-the-fly study group. Students click an app on the left side of their Facebook homepages and are taken to a page where other students are asking each other questions. Users can either join a group that is already in session or invite friends to join a new one. They can partake in group chats, multi-person video conferences, and more. Hoot.me says it will make money via tutoring: when students need extra help, they can pull in a tutor for a small fee. Hoot.me isn't a bad idea, but we're not sure how scalable the business is. At the end of the day, it's an app. Also, social study groups seem like a good way for students to cheat. Just get crowdsourced "help" on every answer and the work will be done for you. We did like the startup's tagline though: "When was the last time you had a Hooty call?"LetsGiftIt (Raising $500,000)Founders:Ryan O'Donnell (CEO) and Marco DiDomenico (CTO) We liked LetsGiftIt's presentation at Startup 2011, and we liked it again this morning. When buying a group gift, you can invite friends to contribute at checkout. It makes splitting the bill much easier than remembering to pay back a friend. LetsGiftIt is starting to get some great partnerships too. This morning it announced one with 1-800-Flowers.com.Take The Interview (Raising $750,000)Founders: Danielle Weinblatt and Andrew Paradise Take The Interview wants to be a solution for hiring managers. Instead of phone screening candidates, hiring managers can ask 3-5 questions, stick a button on a job listing page, and receive video responses along with resumes. The managers can pass along videos to colleagues and decide whether or not to invite the candidate in for a formal interview. Weinblatt says Take The Interview buttons are already on Craigslist and Monster, and videos are definitely a way to liven up resumes. "It's awful when you invite someone in for an interview and realize right away that they're not a fit. Then you still have to spend a half an hour interviewing them," says Weinblatt. Take The Interview allows hiring managers to make snap decisions without dragging on the process.Bonus: Weinblatt announced on stage that she would be dropping out of her current Harvard Business School program for Take The Interview.1DocWayFounders: Samir Malik, Mubeen Malik, and Danish Munir Like Take The Interview, 1DocWay replaces in-person meetings with video chats. Instead of using the technology for interviews, 1DocWay uses it in doctors' offices. Users can schedule appointments via 1DocWay and video chat with physicians. It's being tested in 75 psychiatric clinics, because therapy sessions don't usually require physical check-ups. Video chatting with a medical professional is faster than surfing WebMD for symptoms. But we wonder how patients will get prescriptions via video chat. And as Malik said, if you need a physical check up (blood work done, shots, etc), 1DocWay's platform can't really help.Those are just a few of our favorites. AfterSteps solves a morbid but real issue -- it's a will for your online life once you pass away. KeepIdeas is a cookbook in the cloud, in case you forget ingredients while shopping or want to share recipes with friends.Here's the full list of startups that presented today.