Uber Getting in front of some of the most well-known venture capitalists in New York isn't an easy task. But for a few hours on Thursday, Uber gave anyone with an idea the option to hail a VC at the touch of a button.
Called Pool Pitch , the option was available on October 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Users could hail a ride with an investor from New York firms like First Round Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Brooklyn Bridge Capital, and Primary Venture Partners, anywhere in New York's five boroughs.
The people with the best ideas received invitations to an event with investors that Thursday night, and three were selected to pitch on stage in front of a panel of VCs. The first-place winner received a $5,000 prize from First Round Capital.
I got to ride along with First Round's Chris Fralic as we picked up entrepreneurs and listened to pitches in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. Here's how it went.
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Uber had about 30 Uber drivers in SUVs meet at Uber headquarters in Chelsea. I rode along with Chris Fralic, a partner at First Round Capital. Fralic has done Uber Pool Pitch in Philadelphia and said he was excited to see what kind of pitches he was going to get. "You react as they come in and you never really know what you'll get. That's half the fun of it," Fralic said.
Uber Fralic was actually one of the first people to identify Uber as the next big thing back in 2010. First Round was Uber's first institutional investor, so it's somewhat fitting that Fralic helped organize Uber Pool Pitch in New York.
At 11:20, we made our first pick-up. Michael Twersky is the creator of Whyline, an app that helps people avoid waiting in lines at places like hospitals or restaurants. His company has begun to roll out in Argentina and is looking to raise $1 million in funding.
Uber Next we picked up Mark Gravel, a cook who's building a service that connects food industry professionals with job opportunities — sort of like a LinkedIn just for cooks. Gravel's company is called Mixplate.