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 Million, Edulender 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.