I got the chance (thanks to @ms_selah) to drop by AlphaLab’s demo day a couple weeks ago. It was really exciting to watch 5 talented Pittsburgh companies present their projects! Unfortunately I left my notes at home when I left town, so forgive me for making these posts a couple weeks late. That said, I do want to cover Demo Day in some detail; my plan is to cover each of the companies in posts 1-5 and then have a few posts for general reflection. I’m not going to run them right in a row, but hope to get through them by the end of June.
GenevaMars claims to want to become “Disney for Touch Screens.” To pursue this they have put together what seems to be a very elite team; an MBA with TV and Film experience, a CMO with an MBA, and an MFA to write the scripts. The team is about to release their first product, an animated cartoon that teaches while it entertains kids. Zachy the Robot will go through a number of adventures while trying to save Robot City. GenevaMars has positioned its primary product at the front of at least two revolutionary new trends:
This revolutionary positioning is both an asset and a liability. It’s easy to see Zachy the Robot becoming Sesame Street for the next generation while GenevaMars rolls out other products and evolves in to the Disney of Touch Screens. This would allow them to expand in the way a company like Rhomania (which I profiled in the first of these AlphaLab Demo Day Posts) couldn’t dream of. On the flip side; Zachy may end up ahead of his time or miss a development in one of these two quickly changing revolutions. This isn’t a bad thing, every startup sits somewhere on that risk/reward spectrum. At the more adventerous end of the spectrum, it’s just a matter of timing the market and charting the demand in uncharted waters. If any team around the country is capable of sensing those opportunities and capitalizing on them it’s this one. Here’s hoping that Pittsburgh can follow up all of its film success with its very own GenevaMars Land Theme Park in the next few years!