Have You Been to Our Pitch & Demo Night? If Not, Let Us Recap for You!

Shao Chieh Lo
7 min readJun 6, 2017

Several weeks before, four entrepreneurs of current Smarter in The City Program pitched their ideas in Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in front of 200 attendees and a panel of judges, competing for $5,000 seed money.

Thanks for all the sponsors, supporters, mentors and investors all showed up to support our teams, it was a huge success!

If you were not able to attend or you would like to relive this amazing experience again, let us summarize our fantastic teams’ pitches for you!

Here you go:

Food Truck Starts

Do you know running a food truck is very risky?

You don’t know how much customers you will actually be getting, and there are almost always multiple choices at the same location as you. At the same time, about 85% of vendors that you saw out there are not corporate owned, they are mostly mom and pop shops who don’t have time and money to invest into every aspect of their businesses.

But luckily, Andres and his company Food Truck Starts has a solution for that! Food Truck Starts is a booking platform for mobile food vendors, providing a dedicated lead platform for vendor to access, manage and complete the lead right through one online platform. This can save your times and money because you don’t have to add more staff numbers or pay other third party providers.

When a vendor signs up in the platform, you create a profile, and you put your specification on there, once you put all the information, it provides you a dashboard with information including what events are happening now or in the future in your area. That information is dedicated to your truck. You can also see the information of those events and agreements which you can pay right through Food Truck Starts.

There is surely a huge market potential, since 2012 the market has increased by 12%, and 50 Million dollars have been processed through food truck along, and 3.6 million events are happening in the US every year. If we can capture 15% of this market by 2019 and charge 100 dollars booking fee per event, the revenue will be 54 million in 2019.


When you are moving into a new city, all you are looking for is a diamond in a ruff, but you might not know the neighborhood that well nor understand where those opportunities lie.

On the other side of the equation, there are landlords who really struggle to find the good tenants. They worry about finding the right tenant when their current tenant is moving out because vacancy cost them a lot of money since an average unit lost about $5,000 a year for one vacancy.

That’s why Daniel and Ethan created Sumu, an online apartment searching platform connects you directly to the best apartment by learning what your housing preferences are.

When you go to the platform, it will ask you some questions like “What your commute destination is?”, “What’s your price range?”, “How many rooms are you looking for?”, and “When you want to move in?” And then, you can go through available apartment one by one, if you like a place, you swipe right, and if you don’t like a place, you swipe left!

Meanwhile, in the back, it collects all the information about what you like and what you don’t like and resorts the list, so the best recommendation goes to the very top.

When you are already, you can schedule showing right in the app with the landlord or the property manager.

Since the launch of Sumu last December, they already have around 1,800 active users and ten thousand units on the list right now, and they have already collected a sizable housing data from swipe which provide a complex mode of people’s housing preferences. Every single day they are collecting more information, pushing them a step ahead of any other service.

Pulse 24/7

Before building Pulse 24/7, Andy and Real, the co-founders of Pulse 24/7 conducted a survey with over 150 small businesses that they were working with. According to their survey, 40% of small businesses had a hard time retaining existing customers, 60 % had no time during their daytime to do marketing to scale their businesses, and 66% had a tough time finding new customers.

Small businesses sometimes use more than ten apps to do something as simple as booking, marketing, and other logistic management tasks while a lot of them are struggling to balance an enormous amount of tools, this is where Pulse 24/7 comes in.

With the understanding that service providers certainly need one integrated tool to manage their entire operation, they put together a simple integrated platform where service providers can do all sort of business managing tasks like scheduling, social media marketing, and analytics.

With Pulse 24/7, a small business can just download this app, and run their full business on their hands. At the same time as their business growing, they can analyze how they were doing and then scale their business accordingly using dashboard.

And they didn’t stop there, as you using the platform, it is learning everything about you. It learns things like how busy you are on Wednesday and how busy you are on Monday, the platform will recommend tips and tricks including all your social interactions and provide research that it is doing on a daily basis, giving you contextual information.

Since the launch of Pulse 24/7, the traffics of their website is getting almost 40 % increased every month and on the google app store their app is on top 5 results for certain keywords, and had so far 9,000 downloads.


ScholarJet’s story began when Tuan and Jose’s parents stepped foot to the United States. Back then their parents were working tirelessly to support them, but when they accepted into Northeastern University, they found the tuition would cost 60,000 per year.

They then wrote hundreds of essays to apply for as many scholarships as they can, but when the rejections came left and right telling them that they are not impressive enough, they wonder: how can you truly show yourself by a 500 essay?

Students all over the world are struggling with high cost education. And they believe the education should be an opportunity instead of a burden, so the first step they took is trying to contact Scholarship America to create a scholarship.

But after being told that they had to pay $2,000 to create a $1,000 Scholarship, and need to go through 6 months of confusing process with countless essays to impact only one single student, they created an end to end solution for scholarship: ScholarJet.

ScholarJet revolutionize the whole scholarship process that they called action-based scholarship, instead of writing essays, you can run marathon, hand-painting or develop app for your scholarship. It enables donors to easily create these scholarship challenges, so those students can truly show their potential through their actions.

A Survey that they conducted for alumni for 47 different universities shows that their scholarship will be seven times more likely to be donated to than other means, more importantly, among these donors, 70% of them have never donated to university.

This solution is exactly what university are looking for and willing to pay for. With scholarJet, University will be bringing in Millions of dollars of scholarship every year. In just three years, with 50 universities, they expect to generate an annual recurrent revenue over three million dollars, changing the lives of 215,000 students.

Winner Announcement

While Judges were elaborating among themselves to figure out who are the winners, the 200 attendees are in control of the People’s Choice Award by Texting to the voting system the designated alphabet of their favorite team with their mobile.

So we have three prizes:

1. Runner-Up

2. First Prize

3. People’s Choice Award

Now for the winner announcement:

Runner up: Pulse 24/7

First prize: Food Struck Starts

People’s Choice Award: Pulse 24/7

Congratulation to Food Truck Starts, Pulse 24/7 and all participating teams in Smarter in The City Program!

If you see yourself wanting to be in that position, application is now opened for the next fall-time cohort of Smarter in The City. Go to our website! Sign up! Get more information! Apply now!

Fun Fact:It’s nothing to lose to apply for our program! It’s all free! We want to see you in that position in a few months!

And again, we want to give thank to all the sponsors, supporters, the mentors and all out there who have been so supportive of our teams, literally, these teams can’t be where they are without you!



Shao Chieh Lo

Hi Everone, I am Shao, an SEO analyst while I am not eating desserts. I am also a butter lover. Anyway, hope you enjoy my article :)