When I first heard about TechCrunch’s new Elevator Pitches site (when a post from Erick Schonfeld popped up in FriendFeed, if you must know), it sounded kind of familiar. A site where entrepreneurs can upload 60-second “elevator pitches” about their companies — so-called because they’re supposed to mimic a pitch you would make to a VC if you met him or her in the elevator? And then it came to me: that’s the exact same model that former Marketwatch columnist-turned-entrepreneur Bambi Francisco uses for her site, Vator.tv.
Vator — which Bambi originally tried to run while still working at Marketwatch, until concerns about a conflict of interest led her to resign — has raised a pile of money from a number of investors, including Facebook backer and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, as well as MySpace founder Richard Rosenblatt, and recently raised a bunch more. While Vator has elements that TechCrunch’s offering doesn’t — it also has interviews with venture capitalists and other newsmakers — they are very similar. Is there room for more than one elevator-pitch site?
As for which is better, that’s a tough one. Vator has — well, it has Bambi, and the equally attractive and smart Reena Jadhav, and has built up a fairly large library of content (although the site could use a redesign). TechCrunch, meanwhile, is slick looking and has already gotten some interesting pitches up; but I’m still not sure about using the “cartoonization” of BeFunky.com for the videos. For what it’s worth, Erick Schonfeld says that the new TechCrunch site isn’t aimed at Vator.