Matter was founded with the mission to invest in early-stage media ventures that can potentially contribute to making society more informed, connected, and empowered. Matter is centered within three concentric circles of Design Thinking, Entrepreneurship, and Media. A 2o-week, funded, start up accelerator program with 4 heats or so-called “Design Review” presentations, all working up towards demo day where the founders of each start-up must pitch in front 200-300 investors on demo day evaluation.

“The goal is to quickly fail, get prompt feedback, and succeeed sooner”


The session I participated in was Matter’s 6th cohort with 12 start-ups; 6 based in SF and 6 based in NY. The pitch is timed within 6 minutes, moreover, the presentation must touch on strong story telling, present a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), workable Biz Model, etc. There were 6 start-ups presenting, such as KiraKira3D design for girls and DiscorsHard news made easy.  For the purposes of this blog, I will just be focusing on Common Chat.


  • Manolo Espinosa- Former VP, Platform SoundCloud
  • Choloe Sladden-Founding Pattern
  • Patrick Sagisi- investment team DBL Ventures; impact investors
  • Alonzo Canada- VP of Experience ThoughtSpot



Mission: Creating a world without language barrier

Problem: Language barrier between immigrant parents and 1st generation offsprings.

Solution: Combination of machine automated translation and human facilitated live translations


  • Does your excitement exceed your hesitation? 10
  • Does the top down trend make the space worth pursing? 8
  • Is the user journey clear? 3
  • Is there a clear growth hypothesis? 3
  • Is there a clear path to making money? 8
  • Even if there’s a clear path, is the market clear for VC investment? 6
  • Is there a strategy to secure a sustainable, competitive advantage? 4
  • Are the milestones for next 18 month concrete and presentable? 7
  • Is the story telling emotional, reasonable, and compelling? 10
  • Is the team experienced and able to accomplish the task at hand? 3


Alonzo Canada

  1. Landscrape problem, Rosetta, Google, and other existing competing companies: they have market share, customer space, why haven’t bigger competitors tried this idea out?
  2. Human translation and machine translation: Skeptical about the integration between the two components

Event took place 09.27.2016 


Common Mission-Creating a World Without Language Barrier and My Story:
Personally, through hardwork and perseverance (still working hard btw) I was able to connect with my Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese) speaking family members in Macau, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Unfortunately, many of us grew up in a different language and cultural environment in comparison to our family members, especially our parents. Personally, my Burmese isn’t strong enough to dynamically communicate deeper messages with my parents, particularly my mom. Common allows my mom to type in her native language, and subsequently, allow me to better understand her.

Can You Please Join The Mission? I’m looking for anyone who can help me test the alpha version of Common’s iPhone app! Comment below, message me on FB, text or email me at if you’re interested (or tag someone) and if…

  • You have an iPhone or iPad
  • There’s someone you’d love to talk to who doesn’t speak your language i.e. parents, family members, loved ones, etc. They don’t need the app or a smartphone, only you do. Common currently works in 90 languages!

Disclaimer: The app has bugs (which we’re fixing) and is far from perfect. We’re really looking for feedback on what we need to fix and improve upon, and looking to see if Common might be able to make your life better in some way.
If you don’t have an iPhone, sign up here to get notified when we launch our Android version in a few weeks:
(App Store Link)…/common-translated-…/id1100597359…



Skip to toolbar