Demo Day / by Joseph Palumbo

For those who pay attention to the tech world (and who doesn't these day), today was demo day for ycombinator. What's that? That's where a small army of smart, accomplished, tech-savvy entrepreneurs beg people with money to fund their crazy ideas by doing a lightning round of elevator pitches. While code monkeys spend many sleepless hours to get a minimum viable product up and running for proof of concept and usability testing, the business and marketing leaders of these over-caffeinated tiger teams meticulously review every slide and syllable of their pitch so they can clearly convey their transformations, recontextualizings, meta-designed, -as-a-Service business plans. 

To celebrate this coming together of tech and commerce, I present to you what I imagine how some of the original elevator pitches of our most favorite apps sounded like, or at least what they should've sounded like based on what I know of these apps today. 


Do you know what's missing from Alcoholism? ACHIEVEMENTS!

Untapped makes drinking more engaging through the gamification of alcohol consumption. The more you drink, the more badges you unlock and the more reason your loved ones have a reason to intervene in your drinking. Still don't get it? It's like playing monopoly, but instead of claiming territory using worthless play money, you get smashed there. 


At Yelp, we believe the problem with being passive aggressive is that’s too subtle. Our app, while allowing people to review restaurants, bars and other venues, also allows user to be aggressively passive aggressive when complaining about the most mundane of a night out. 


Did you know that 80% of smart phone users place a priority on someone's willingness to have sex and proximity over a person’s physical attractiveness or lack of STDs? Our platform capitalizes on this paradigm by using the phones geo-awareness capabilities to match up users based on mutually low standards and poor impulse control. 

In addition to bridging this physical gap between willing participants, the Tinder platform recontextualizes modern dating websites by removing any pretense of romance, personality or pretense.

We're looking for...oh, you' looks like people are literally throwing money at us.  


We at Instagram think think we've determined why smartphones are having slow adoption within a particularly fickle and jaded, but lucrative demographic called “hipsters”. We’ve done extensive field research and it turns out that this unique end-user persona values, among Doc Holiday-esque mustaches, a nostalgia for a time in which they never existed. The conundrum? The better technology gets, the least attractive it becomes to a hipster.

Enter Instagram. It solves the problem that the iPhone camera is too good. Our platform takes the expensive HD camera found on most smartphones and reduces it the fidelity and quality of a 70’s instamatic that’s been left in the sun for a few days. 

In addition to taking square photos with vintage colorations, Instagram achieves social compatibility through various means including carrier pigeon and morse code, which, for reasons beyond our understanding, tend to appeal to hipsters. 

We're hoping to raise $1m in seed capital to rob modern technology of it's technology. 


Men are a key demographic for the personal electronics market, spending nearly $1 billion annually on the latest gadgets. But men continually have one complaint when it comes to smartphone use in the real world, the reluctance to get women to send them tawdry selfies out of fear that the pictures will be saved or posted on the Internet. Snapchat solves this problem with a picture messaging service that deletes a picture shortly after it arrives. Think of it like a top secret communique that Inspector Gadget would receive and they find a way to have it blow up in his boss' face. 

Someone form the audience yells, "But couldn’t you just take a screen capture?"

Yes. You know that and I know that, but our research shows that 98% of women users who would consider sending a nude selfie to a guy they just met barely know don't know how their smartphone works, so we don't think that is going to be a problem. 


We originally created our six second video platform for kids that wanted to make feature length films for their goldfish, but apparently this medium lends itself well to a website called a website called World Star Hip Hop.

The Vine team is currently mid-pivot to re-architect our application for better integration with the World Star backend, and and we're excited to announce negotiations to become the official video application for Tyler Perry. 


Let's face it men, gaydar can be horribly inaccurate, which leads to embarrassing and awkward moments. While gay hookups are often spontaneous, the logistics of finding other gay men in a an erection-sustaining vicinity can be the most challenging part. Gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce to you, Grindr, or as we like to call it gaydar 2.0. Grindr allows gay and confused young men to not only self-identify as gay men with specific preferences, but also locate each other with GPS before you experience hard drive failure. 

The most intriguing aspect of Grindr was that during field testing, women and straight men also made up a measurable percentage of the user base, not looking for hot gay sex, but the guidance from the local gay community on which restaurants, salons and nightclubs were worth going to. 

Next time a gay man is looking for a partner, or a women needs a hairstylist recommendation, Grindr will be there Tenzing Nor-GAY. 



It’s like stockholm syndrome for people who haven’t been abducted yet.