Soluto wins the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield

by Joe H.

Okay, so Soluto was declared the victor of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield, a high-profile and extremely well-staged startup competition that progressed over the past three days as part of the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York. The Israel-based company won $50,000, a nice trophy cup, and many new admirers.

Our staff here at took turns watching much of the live streaming video of the competition. And we guessed at who the winner would be. We were spot on. (Wish I were that successful with the Kentucky Derby).

Soluto seemed to have the odds stacked in its favor. Judges were tasked with placing the most “disruptive” startup on the winner’s podium. The whole idea of Soluto’s “anti-frustration” software that would lurk inside your PC and invisibly sense your frustrations, and then automatically suggest community-sourced solutions to eliminate those frustrations, certainly fits the definition of disruptive.

Of course, that assumes the software works as advertised. As an off-frustrated user, I pulled out the old PC (Macs are not yet serviced), only to find that heavy demand for Soluto’s download caused by its exposure in New York has created a waiting list.

It certainly didn’t hurt that Soluto was much further along in its development than its opponents on the Startup Battlefield, having already raised $8 million over two rounds of financing.

We also liked the runner-up Ujam, which takes a tune that may be rolling around in your head and quickly turns it into a well-orchestrated piece, no matter how poorly you sing or hum it. It will be popular but we wonder how successful it will be in staying ahead of copycats.

For other TechCrunch entrants, our own judging was more a process of elimination. Either we could not fully comprehend the business concept (our fault), or we weren’t convinced it would take off. For example, Betterment made it to the finals with an ultra-easy investment platform for people who simply cannot get off the dime about doing something with the cash they have sitting in the bank.

But why is Betterment any better than the money-management services through Fidelity, Vanguard, or similar companies in this intensively-competitive industry? You can’t guarantee better performance because it is not always going to be better. And a 0.9% annual fee seems fairly stiff for the service.

We are looking forward to future TechCrunch startup competitions, including the next one coming up in September in San Francisco.

Photo credit: kate.gardiner

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Joe Hurley is a CPA, author of "The Best Way to Save for College - A Complete Guide to 529 Plans", founder of, and co-founder of He has also recently started making maple syrup.
View all posts by joeh → This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Spotlight - Competitions, Updates. Bookmark the permalink.

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