Startup Atlanta - April Edition - Digital Tool Factory blog

Startup Atlanta – April Edition

MIT Forum hosted at UM
Last night I attended the StartUp Atlanta April event (on the web at, @StartupAtlanta on Twitter) where 40 or so members of the Startup community mixed, mingled, and listened to 6 presentations by Atlanta Startups.  Mike Shinkel and Jenny Trautman (the organizers) focused this meetup on the Real Estate industry.

I did not see that many familiar faces and fewer people attended than than attended the March Meetup, but the specialization made the people who did attend more involved.  Georgia Tech was nice enough to loan out the Georgia Tech Research Institute facility auditorium.  I enjoyed meeting everyone and Mike Schinkel and his volunteers moved things along well.  It is impossible to overstate how important it is to keep these events running on time.  Daniel from Friendly Human recorded the event for video posterity.

And now, the contestants! We listened to the presentations, and voted via twitter for our favorites, here are mine, recorded here for posterity. I judge startups by the following criteria, on a scale of 1-10 (higher is better).

  1. Problem Solving – It can be a cool product, but does it make anyone’s life easier?
  2. Actual Customers – I am defining the customer as someone with both problems and money.
  3. Simplicity of Pricing – can the fees be described to anyone, do you need more information about the prospect before you can offer a quote?
  4. Chicken and Egg Problem – does the product require a lot of Customer A before Customer B becomes interested, and vice versa? This applies a good bit to middleman/broker type companies like E-Bay.
  5. Remarkability – that is to say, can someone who heard a quick presentation about it describe it to someone the next day, and have it be understood?

Note, I do not judge the passion of the founders, quality of marketing, execution etc. That’s too hard to judge based off of a short presentation.

And so, with no further ado, here are the startups from last night. I’m omitting detailed descriptions of the startups as those can be found on their websites.

  • Guild Quality@GuildQuality – basically they do surveying for homebuilders
    1. Problem Solving – 6/10 – I’m unconvinced that the lack of surveying is a problem for homebuilders.    This product seems to exist to keep internal marketing departments busy.  Then again, selling products to internal marketing departments is a huge industry.  New home buyers are not shy, so I’m not sure this is a needed solution.
    2. Actual Customers – 7/10 – There are a lot of homebuilders.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 6/10 – Stepped and variable pricing, fairly complex
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 9/10 – not that big of a deal
    5. Remarkability– 8/10 – “Surveys for home builders” – pretty simple.
    6. Total Score: 36

  • We Find Housing@WeFindHousing – A listing service. – One quick side note – the speaker spent almost all of her time explaining the company, and almost no time explaining the product.
    1. Problem Solving – 7/10 – There is always a need to exchange information about housing
    2. Actual Customers – 6/10 – When I was in the market I don’t think I would have jumped up and down raving about this, and I don’t know of anyone who would.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 7/10 – Simple pricing
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 2/10 – Big chicken and egg problems – buyers and sellers must be there at the same time
    5. Remarkability– 6/10 – The specifics of what they offer are vauge.
    6. Total Score: 28

  • Creative Roof@CreativeRoof – IDX search, and tagging of anonymous users which allows their search patterns to be captured.
    1. Problem Solving – 5/10 – This doesn’t seem to help that many people. I can see realtors finding it cool, but not actually useful
    2. Actual Customers – 5/10 -It’s novel, but will it make any difference in anyone’s life.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 9/10 – One monthly price!
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 1/10 – Big chicken and egg problems – buyer and seller must be present at the same time
    5. Remarkability– 4/10 – Free IDX search doesn’t mean that much to anyone.
    6. Total Score: 24

  • REDataCenter@REDataCenter – Market research.
    1. Problem Solving – 3/10 – While interesting, I don’t see how this makes anyone’s life better. The standard deviation of real estate seems too high to make most statistics useful
    2. Actual Customers – 5/10 -It’s novel, but seemingly the product would be better off being sold to banks.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 4/10 – Variable pricing
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 5/10 – Seemingly this is a saturation product, but I don’t say that for any particular reason
    5. Remarkability– 8/10 – “Real Estate Charts!” It can be done in 3 words, which is pretty good.
    6. Total Score: 25

  • REOneSpot@REOneSpot – BaseCamp for realtors, more or less. Fixes silo apps, single point of data entry.
    1. Problem Solving – 8/10
    2. Actual Customers – 7/10 – I’m not sure if realtors actually will latch onto something technical, but if they will, it is likely to be this.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 9/10 – One price per seat per month is good
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 6/10 – This needs saturation to work
    5. Remarkability– 8/10 – “One stop app for realtors!”
    6. Total Score: 38

  • Realty Join@RealtyJoin – Social Networking for the Real Estate Industry.
    1. Problem Solving – 6/10 – see below
    2. Actual Customers – 5/10 – Don’t realtors already know every “type” of person they need to know? It seems that way.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 2/10 – Not simple
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 3/10 – There needs to be a critical mass for this to work.
    5. Remarkability– 9/10 – “One stop app for realtors!”
    6. Total Score: 25

So, I chose REOneSpot and Guild Quality as my top picks.    Looking forward to the next one.

Creative Commons License photo credit: alexdecarvalho


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


Written By Steve French


4 responses to “Startup Atlanta – April Edition”

  1. Thanks Steve,
    A few notes/clarifications about GuildQuality: A majority of our Guildmembers are remodelers, or do remodeling in addition to homebuilding. Also, most of our members are small- and mid-sized companies that lack “internal marketing departments.” It is usually company owners making the decision to invest in our service. They see the opportunity to understand how they can improve, instill in their teams a focus on the client experience, and, in many cases, articulate their historical performance to prospects. We have seven years of track record now, and our annual member retention rate — even in a challenging year like 2009 — is about 90%. The majority of of our low attrition comes when a company is undergoing severe financial stress (i.e. threat of bankruptcy). But more importantly, here’s what the folks who pay us to donwhat we do have to say about our service:
    Thanks for coming, thanks for the kind words about GuildQuality, and thanks for covering a great event.

  2. Hi Steve! Thank you for your honest review. This was my first time presenting a start-up of any kind. The moment I finished, I knew that a few key pieces were missed. I appreciate you sharing your scoring and comments. This will help me better answer such questions. The StartupAtlanta meetup environment was amazing. I can’t wait for May! Until then, I’d better get busy!

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