Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – After three months of coaching, prodding, mentoring and counseling, seven startup firms made refined pitches to investors on Tuesday as part of the LaunchBox Digital’s first graduating class.

Despite the horrendous weather that kept a lot of people – including Gov. Bev Perdue and The Skinny – away from the event, the show went on with some 200 investors showing up at The American Tobacco Complex for “Demo Day.” (Read about LaunchBox concept here.)

“It went well,” LaunchBox Digital’s Executive Director Chris Heivly said by phone after the event. “The pitches went all flawlessly.”

Even though the governor didn’t attend, Heivly said they hooked up with her by phone and she spoke to the crowd about the importance of entrepreneurship. “She got the crowd fired up,” Heivly said.

[Update: HealtheMe scored big just before the event when NC IDEA, an economic development group focused on startups, announced it had provided the company with a $36,000 non-dilutive grant.]

In tightly scripted and constantly rehearsed presentations, these seven “graduates” hit the stage:

  • City Pockets
  • FiscalPie
  • HealtheMe
  • Keona Health
  • Leaguescape
  • Slipstream
  • SpringMetrics

LaunchBox is a venture firm that took $20,000 equity stakes in the startups and then prepped each for Demo Day with the goal of securing additional financing from angel or institutional investors.

CityPockets is an “online voucher management platform for group-buying sites such as the red-hot Groupon [which just raised over $900 million], Living Social and Buy With Me.” Leading the startup are Jhony Fung and Cheryl Yeoh.”

FiscalPie is also focused on the social media space, leveraging “social knowledge to help everyone make smarter money decisions.” James Jeffers and Andy Schrader are leading the effort.

HealtheMe is developing apps for mobile devices that its founders believe will help “physicians manage obesity outside clinic walls.” Guy Rachmuth and Sloan Racumuth are the founding team.

Keona Health is also an app developer designing web apps “to optimize healthcare admissions.” Its team includes Javed Mostafa, Jason Skowronski and Oakkar Oakkar.

Leaguescape wants to be a player in the fantasy sports space “using the online poker model to create an innovative fantasy sports betting platform.” Team leaders are Dan Ziernickl and Michael Silverstein.

Slipstream, meanwhile, says it offers “the end of information overload on Twinnter.” It is led by Arthur Klepchukov.

Spring Metrics, meanwhile, focuses on producing answers, not just data, from web analytics. Shannon Bauman, Anthony DiMarco, Doug Kaufman and Scott Lacy form the Spring Metrics team.

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