Bambi Francisco, formerly of MarketWatch, is taking the wraps off her own business tonight: Vator.tv. It's a YouTube for entrepreneurs, a place where people looking for funding or partners for their business ideas can display their "elevator pitch," and connect with those who can help them out. Other people in the entrepreneurial ecosystem can also post pitches. There are venture capitalists explaining what they want to invest in, for example, as well as service providers pitching their services.
The embedded video here is a sample from the site: A pitch from a company making emergency evacuation systems for skyscrapers.
There's nothing terribly complex about the site, but it could work very nicely for all parties involved. The site's focus makes it a better destination for people who are pitching businesses than either an undifferentiated video site like YouTube, or even a business-focused social network like LinkedIn.
The focus also reveals itself in a few pitch-centric functions and editorial features. For example, each idea pitch has a "pitch network" of people listed on it, and each of these people can have his or her own profile page on Vator.tv. These profile pages list affiliations with other pitches. This bare-bones social network helps the potential funder see who's behind a company or idea. Although Francisco told me she's trying to create a "network around ideas," not people, in truth the smart funder or investor only invests in people. Ideas are easy. Implementation and passion to follow through is the hard part.
Vator.tv will also run contests. For example, there's a Wine 2.0 competition run by Redpoint Ventures on the site right now. This VC firm is looking for wine-related businesses to fund, and entrepreneurs can add their pitches to this competition page. Vator.tv users can then vote on these pitches, which makes the business into a bit of a game.
Francisco will also contribute editorial features to the site in the News Room, where she also has commentary on some of the video pitches people have uploaded.
The site is free, and will carry advertising and sponsorships. (I think Vator.tv should also charge service providers to post their videos; Francisco said she'd consider this later.)
As a network of ideas and the people behind them, Vator.tv looks very promising. In addition to offering good functionality for entrepreneurs and their potential partners, the site is well organized and has good entertainment value. It's interesting to browse even if you are neither an entrepreneur yourself nor a venture capitalist with millions to invest. If you want to see great ideas (and bad ones) communicated directly by the people who are most passionate about them, spend some time looking through the site.
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