TechCrunch Disrupt and the Demo Decathalon

Nothing gets the competitive startup juices flowing quite like a demo showdown. And Team SnipSnap has had an amazing month, filled with no less than three of these competitions.

Philly Tech Meetup

You might even include a fourth (which wasn’t technically a competition): Our first presentation of our app to the public took place at the Philly Tech Meetup back on April 11. This was the version of the app that we were about to ship the app store. It was also our first foray into demo’ing entirely off an iPhone. Scary stuff, especially given that we were attempting to do all this using the notoriously uncooperative WiFi at Quorum. Thankfully, SnipSnap’s first public debut went about as well as we could hope. Watch the video here. Props to fellow demo’er The Reckoner for playing off one question — “Is it pronounced Koo-Pons or Kew-pons?” — with an on-the-spot surveyto the audience. (The winner: “Koo-Pon”)

Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic Demo

Next up, a few weeks later, was Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic. We were desperately hoping that Apple would come through and approve the app in time for this event, but alas, that wasn’t in the cards; the app didn’t get approved until about 24 hours later. Truth be told, given the extended Apple review period, we were starting to get seriously worried that we might be facing an App Store rejection. But we still put on our best game face and went head to head against some of the most incredible mobile startups in Philly, including our good friends CloudMine and Interact. The competition was ultimately decided by an audience vote, and we eeked out a wine over our CloudMine buds. Photos and video of the event here. An exciting victory, but a little bittersweet having to face off against friends who also put on an awesome show. The next day came the Apple approval. Phew! But how would we announce it? Well, as luck would have it, winning the Mobile Monday event got us the fifth and final coveted spot in another demo competition taking place just one day later: Switch Philly. It was an intimidating panel of judges, including Philly Mayor Michael Nutter, prominent VC Josh Kopelman, and Robin Hood Ventures’ Ellen Weber. And the lineup of startups was equally impressive, with the winner of Startup Weekend, Yagglo, as well as Inhabi, PalmLing, and Airtime for Email. Incredibly, we somehow eeked out a win here too!

Switch Philly Judges Josh Kopelman, Mayor Michael Nutter, and Ellen Weber

Our next competition was on arguably the biggest stage of all in the tech community: TechCrunch Disruptin NYC. We were accepted on our launch day (the same day we competed in Switch Philly) to be a part of Disrupt at the end of May. Just enough time for us to begin iterating the product, dealing with scaling issues, and batten down the server hatches.

SnipSnap at TechCrunch Disrupt

The event was a whirlwind of investor meetings, press interviews, and of course the Startup Battlefield competition. We went head-to-head with 32 other startups, including 5 in our “Disrupting Local” group. Our judges were a pretty incredible group: Cyan Banister, Stephen Messer, David Rosenblatt, Bijan Sabet, and MC Hammer. Yes, THE MC Hammer. Perhaps even more incredible than that, Hammer liked us! He really liked us. As he told the TC crew afterwards, we were his favorite startup of the day.

MC Hammer at Disrupt. Photo courtesy

Alas, you can’t win them all, and even MC Hammer’s seal of approval wasn’t enough for us to win the event. Still, I’m not quite sure that getting the Disrupt crown would have topped our moment in the sun with Hammer. And we could take consolation in an amazing review of the app posted to TechCrunch by writer Chris Velazco. Not to mention some awesome coverage from the folks at Now we’re back to building our business and taking a little break from the demo-competition scene. That is, unless MC calls us back to the battlefield.