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Happy 1st Birthday Technori Pitch! - August 28 Review

Tuesday’s Technori Pitch delivered a great keynote and pitches, as always, and even included a milestone for the popular monthly event.

One year ago, Technori Pitch began curating events where local startups pitched their latest technologies to enthusiastic members of the tech community. Today, this event sells out 500 seats and gives startups exposure to possible investors and mentors, along with bringing together entrepreneurs, developers, designers, tech companies, and others to network. It’s great to see an organization like Technori succeed, especially since it is helping to build up the Chicago tech community.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good…

Speaking of succeeding at a young age, Emerson Spartz was the incredibly enthusiastic keynote speaker. I think he could have easily filled several hours with his engaging ideas and witty comments but it was interesting to see him try to squeeze as much as possible into 15 – 20 minutes.

Emerson’s enthusiasm can only be outshined by his obvious brilliance. At the age of 12 he convinced his parents to allow him to be homeschooled…then he founded the world’s #1 Harry Potter fan site, MuggleNet. Now at the age of 25 he is CEO of Spartz Media, under which he has launched 15 high-traffic websites with over 160 million monthly page views. He attributes his success to learning from the success of others and constantly testing everything.

Studying the power of virality is Spartz’s latest obsession. According to Spartz, content goes viral “because it triggers a strong emotional reaction.” The young media mogul must be doing something right because his constant experimentation produces results. Several startups even mentioned in their pitches how they’d love to chat with Emerson regarding their own site traffic. Not a bad idea given the fact that these launch companies are in their infancy stages.

Startups that pitched during the August event:
  • Boomerang

  • Human Practice

  • Travel720

  • Citizen Made

  • Every Last Morsel

Moses Hohman, PhD, founder of Human Practice and Rachel Brooks CEO of Citizen Made delivered the two pitches that especially caught my eye. These two were great speakers with inspiring ideas and well-defined business plans.

“Find great doctors through people you trust.”

Finding doctors, especially a specialist, often feels like a gamble. Insurance providers list doctors but rarely provide more than a location, contact information and type. Asking co-workers, family or friends directly can be awkward. lists doctors based on your Facebook friends’ recommendations without revealing to them, or anyone, that you’re looking. Obviously with sites like this there is always the problem of incentivizing member contribution. HP encourages participating doctors to collect recommendations from patients at their point of care, a.k.a. the doctor’s office.

During the QA privacy with relation to Facebook was brought up but Moses clarified that although the web app pulls your friend lists from Facebook, the social application never has access to your Human Practice account info.

With all of the changes and unrest about our health care system today I think Human Practice has a real chance to succeed, as long as it can continue to grow its base of participating doctors and keep people interacting on the site.

Your products, customized

📷Citizen Made is a subscription-based software for brands and makers that streamlines the process for the customization of products in online stores.

Companies normally have to build this software from the ground up and spend a fortune doing so. The high price-point keeps small businesses and individuals from offering customizable products competitively.

The idea appeals to me for two reasons. CM gives the little guys a chance to compete with larger companies. Secondly, it expands the variety of custom goods that are available to consumers online. When asked about limitations as to what can be customized, Rachel explained the diversity of current products (furniture, clothing, soap and even beer!) and that the software-startup works closely with their clients to create solutions for them.

Human Practice and Citizen Made were my favorites but I must say that all the pitches were impressive. I will certainly attend the next Pitch in September. If you’re in the industry and have never been to a Pitch before, I highly encourage checking one out – you may just be inspired.

Happy 1st Birthday Technori Pitch and may there be many more!
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