Great Night for Timbre, CoachUp at Boston Shark Tank

Friday Oct 26, 2012 by Dennis Keohane - Contributor, VentureFizz

The six finalists of the FutureM/BzzAgent Shark Tank arrived at Microsoft NERD with a promise that at least $100,000 would be committed by a group of investors that included Boston Seed’s Greg Balter, Hubspot’s Dharmesh Shah, and Fred Destin of Atlas Ventures, among others. After each company gave its pitch and the “sharks” deliberated on how to distribute their investments, a surprising $442,000 was committed to local tech/innovation startups.

The highlight of the entire event was the exchange between Intrepid Pursuit’s Mark Kasdorf and the duo of Destin and Balter. Destin countered the terms proposed to invest in Intrepid’s music discovery app Timbre. However, Kasdorf passed on the possible $150,000 to $200,000 offer which led to Dave Balter adding $100,000 to the deal. After some highly entertaining and pressure-filled moments, Kasdorf accepted $350,000 in funding from both Balter and Destin.

CoachUp’s founder Jordan Fliegel gave the most energetic pitch of the evening, taking advantage of the Shark Tank format to put the investors in the hot seat. When prodded by Dharmesh Shah whether CoachUp would expand to other areas, including music lessons, Fliegel responded passionately that they would not. In one of the most passionate moments of the night, he proclaimed, “No, nope it won’t happen, sports is huge, we are not leaving it.”

The evening was a success for Fliegel and CoachUp, as the coaching connection platform received $28,000 in funding from Shah as well as meetings with a couple of investors from the “Piranha Pool”, which was made up of various investors not on the featured panel. The company’s idea of “professionalizing the industry” of coaching was also praised and lauded by audience members covering the event on twitter.  

After the event, Fliegel was excited not only about winning investment opportunities, but also about his experience at the event. Commenting that it was “one of the most fun events” that he had participated in, Fliegel described the tension created by the format saying, “There was that moment of awkwardness when you are pitching in front of all those people. That’s not usually how these deals go down.”

There was also a lot of excitement about how the event reflects the current moment in the Boston startup scene. Fleigel described how the FutureM and BzzAgent event, as well as others like it have brought visibility to his company and other local startups. “This is why Boston is such an amazing community to start a company in,” he explained. “Just this week we were a $50K Gold Winner at MassChallenge, programs like Shark Tank that Dave Balter put together bring people to you, and TechStars that we are competing in has Demo Day on November 14.”  Fliegel added that he “could go on and on about the mentors that we have who are so helpful. That’s why it’s such a great place to start a company. You are not alone in Boston.”

In addition to the funds delegated to CoachUp and Timbre, the other finalists were also awarded investments and opportunities to meet with investors.  

• BC student founded advertising gamification startup Jebbit was offered a $29,000 investment by Dharmesh Shah.
• Nanotech company NBDNano, whose product aims to “pull water from the air,” earned an investment of $25,000 from Balter.
• Sidewalk, a New York/Boston sales tool startup was awarded $10,000 from the Piranha Pool.
Arcbazar, an architectural design focused startup was awarded the opportunity to meet with multiple investors and also received tickets to fly to London to meet with possible investors there.

Dennis Keohane is a teacher, journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.

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