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Excelerate Labs Launchs 10 New Startups at Second Annual Demo Day

Excelerate Labs 20

Today was the culmination of the second 13-week summer program for Excelerate Labs, the top ranked startup accelerator program in Chicago led by Troy Henikoff (of SurePayroll) and Sam Yagan (of OK Cupid & Sparknotes). The Excelerate Labs Demo Day showcased the 2011 graduating class of 10 startups, which we previewed previously (you may notice 3 companies changed names since April), with the teams presenting to a room full of investors, entrepreneurs, mentors, media and others – even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City CTO John Tolva were in attendance.

In 2010, Excelerate Labs launched ten startups. They raised a combined $7.7 million in equity funding and added 71 new employees to the Chicago economy. Notable companies include: TapMe Games with $1.4 MillionEdulender with $1.7 Million, and GiveForward with $500,000. FeeFighters raised $1.6 Million and was also voted the hottest Chicago startup in our community poll. As a new addition, every member of this year’s class was offered a $50,000 convertible note from Chicago’s leading venture capital firm, New World Ventures.

The Excelerate Labs Class of 2011 included:

  • BabbaCo –  a monthly subscription box of activities to enrich time spent with your kids. We covered BabbaCo and their launch of the BabbaBox.
  • Buzz Referrals – enables companies to create their own branded referral programs that integrate seamlessly with websites and social media programs.
  • CookItFor.Us – connects Cravers to Makers to get recipes made – delivering all the benefits of homemade, without having to cook.
  • Exchangery – helps industry experts to create their own commodities exchanges.
  • Food Genius – helps you discover and share your next favorite dish. We recently covered Food Genius.
  • Goshi – a smartphone application that allows you to discover and purchase unique items nearby. We covered this mobile marketplace previously as they were a showcased startup at our summer mixer event.
  • IntroFly – a virtual career coach for Gen Y.
  • Joystickers – turns the analog world into a mobile game. Check out a video of these buttons in action – they are very interesting.
  • Power2Switch – an electricity cost and usage reduction portal for residential and commercial customers.
  • Shortlist – helps you make more meaningful connections at professional events. We covered Shortlist previously when it was called A Space Apart.

We’ll be keeping an eye on all these startups and will be looking forward to covering them as they continue to grow and evolve.

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About the Author

Frank Gruber is the founder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech Cocktail. He is an entrepreneur and new media journalist focused on sharing his tech product expertise and analysis on emerging technologies. Previously he built products for millions of users while at AOL and Tribune Company. He is a startup advisor and investor. He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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