Meet the 2013 SXSW Accelerator Startups

February 26, 2013

10:00 am

As part of SXSW Interactive, the massive festival for digital innovators, 48 companies are participating in the SXSW accelerator from March 11-12. Similar to a demo day, they will present their pitches to a panel of judges and a live audience, and winners will be crowned on the evening of March 12. Here are the startups competing.


  • AudioTag (San Francisco): Lets TV and radio advertisers and content producers add audio signals to their content that can be picked up by an app, which then delivers information and ads to the listener right in the moment. Led by founder and CEO Erik Duisenberg, who worked as a senior manager at Google.
  • Contextly (San Francisco): Technology for publishers that adds features to your website to drive more traffic, like “living sidebars” and automatic links to follow-up articles. Founded by Ryan Singel, a writer for Wired.
  • (Miami): An app that turns written news into a video broadcast. Founded by Freddie Laker, a serial entrepreneur who founded the digital agency iChameleon Group.
  • InfoActive (Chicago): A tool for creating interactive infographics.
  • Meograph (San Francisco): A tool that creates interactive videos based on your video, audio, photos, and links.
  • Phone2Action (Kansas City): A service that helps advocacy groups and other organizers gain and engage supporters over mobile.
  • ShoutAbout (Boston): A community where readers suggest calls to action relevant to the organizations mentioned in the articles they share – for example, donating to a struggling nonprofit. The team includes Albert C. Lai, who has four Master’s degrees; Mat Morgan, a former spokesperson for the America Red Cross; and Micah Ting, who worked for Boeing.
  • Watchup (Menlo Park): An iPad app that lets you mix and match your favorite news sources to create your own news broadcast to watch.


  • Click With Me Now (St. Louis): A simple way to share your screen during web browsing, with one click. Cofounded by serial entrepreneurs Brian Handrigan, Mark Comiso, and Mike Behr.
  • Koozoo (San Francisco): A way to see live video of locations like restaurants or stores – for example, to check the lineup outside.
  • LikeBright (Seattle): A dating site where you meet friends of friends. Led by Nick Soman, who worked as a product manager on the Amazon Kindle.
  • Plotter (Cleveland): A map that’s social, including recommendations from friends and lists like “best restaurants in Austin.”
  • (London): A tool for creating presentations that include a video of you talking and the slides, which can then be stored and shared online.
  • ReelGenie (Washington, DC): Software that turns your family photos into beautiful movies.
  • Togather (Brooklyn): A service that lets book fans petition to get an author to do a book event – ensuring that there will be enough attendees for the author to justify the trip. Founded by authors Andrew Kessler and Aaron Shapiro.
  • Yabbly (Seattle): A mobile app where consumers deciding whether to buy a product can have conversations with people who already bought it. The team includes Tom Leung, Steven Neuman, and Ian Shafer, who have experience at Google and Amazon.


  • Charlie (Northbrook): A networking app that gives you relevant information and news about the people you have meetings with, right before the meeting.
  • Desti (Menlo Park): An iPad app for travel search and planning. Led by CEO and serial entrepreneur Nadav Gur.
  • OneTok (New York): Software that developers can add to their apps to enable simple voice controls. Founded by Ben Lilienthal and Jerry Norton, both experts in voice over Internet.
  • Precision Augmented Reality Works (Boston): Creators of very precise, fast augmented reality technology developed at Virginia Tech by Dr. Jules White, Dr. Mani Golparvar-Fard, and Hyojoon Bae.
  • Sprezzat (Brooklyn): Creators of Thread, an app that changes your incoming call screen and contacts list to include your recent communication with contacts and their social updates. The team includes serial entrepreneur James Lawrence, assistant professor of computer science Dr. James Hill, and former American Express executive Bradlee Benn.
  • Syntellia (San Francisco): Creators of Fleksy, new keyboard technology for Android phones that lets you type wherever you want on the screen; it works by recognizing the pattern of taps, not the exact location. Founded by Kostas Eleftheriou and Ioannis Verdelis.
  • younity (Santa Monica): Cloud storage for your documents without the syncing – it lets your devices operate like one device. Founded by Erik Caso and Mike Abraham.
  • Zoomdata (Reston): Software that can create real-time visualizations of your data to share with others. Led by Justin Langseth, a serial entrepreneur and founder of


  • Collections (Mountain View): A file organizer for the web that lets you categorize and access files across Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other services. The team includes Princeton grads Tony Xiao and Arman Suleimenov, Princeton PhD candidate Jordan Lee, and young programmer Slava Kim.
  • Expect Labs (San Francisco): Creators of MindMeld, an iPad app that can understand your voice conversations and help you find and share relevant information during them. Founded by MIT PhD Timothy Tuttle and Moninder Jheeta, who both worked at Truveo.
  • Memeto (Sweden): A tiny camera that clips onto your clothes, captures your life, and organizes it into memories. Founded by six Swedish serial entrepreneurs, who raised over $550,000 on Kickstarter.
  • Mr. Arlo (Atlanta): A travel recommendation site that learns about you through your social networks.
  • Synaptop (Canada): A cloud-based operating system that lets you collaborate on documents in real time and move apps across devices wirelessly.
  • TrueAbility (San Antonio): A tool that assesses technical candidates through a live test. Founded by Marcus Robertson, Dusty Jones, Luke Owen, and Frederick Mendler, who all worked at Rackspace.
  • Wanderu (Boston): A website to book cheap bus and train tickets.
  • Zumper (San Francisco): An apartment hunting site that includes real-time listings and software for landlords to advertise their listings.

Entertainment and Gaming

  • Grinbath (Lubbock): Creators of affordable eye tracking technology.
  • MakieLab (London): Creators of MAKIES, 3D printed dolls that you can design. Founded by Alice Taylor, who has built products for children and teens; Luke Petre, who creates massively multiplayer online worlds; Jo Roach, who worked at the BBC; and Sulka Haro, who worked at Sulake.
  • Maluuba (Canada): Voice recognition technology that lets you control your TV and smartphone. Founded by students from the University of Waterloo.
  • Plympton (Lincoln): A mobile reading app that gives you digestible bits of content to read, similar to the serialized fiction of the past. Cofounded by writers Jennifer 8. Lee and Yael Goldstein Love, and former StumbleUpon engineer Jacky Chang.
  • Poptip (New York): Twitter polling that allows businesses and publishers to get quick feedback on an issue.
  • Syndio Social (Chicago): Organizational software that helps businesses monitor how quickly employees are adopting a change, like a new technology. Led by CEO Zachary Johnson.
  • Tista Games (Rockville): The “HBO of games,” which offers new installments of games every week and helps game developers retain players.
  • ZoomTilt (Somerville): A platform where filmmakers can pitch their ideas and get funding from brands, in exchange for ad placement on the finished product. Led by CEO and CTO Anna Callahan, who worked as a software engineer at 3M, TechStars, and startups.


  • Care at Hand (San Francisco): An app that helps keep seniors healthy by having non-health workers (like cleaners) observe and record their health data, which can be analyzed by computers and nurses to detect problems.
  • Careport Health (Cambridge): A platform where patients can find the care they need after hospital visits. Founded by Harvard medical students Lissy Hu and Jessica Hohman.
  • Docphin (New York City): A network for sharing medical research that can ultimately help hospitals improve quality and get new accreditations. Founded by physician Mitesh Patel, health care professional Sachin Nanavati, and hospitalist Derek Juang.
  • Home Team Therapy (Arlington): A site that uses video and video games to add some fun and competition to physical therapy. Founded by MBA candidate Tim Fu, orthopedic surgeon Anil Ranawat, and sports therapist Ben Gelfand.
  • INRFOOD (Durham): A platform that assesses the food you’re eating, recommends different foods, and advises you on their health effects. Led by CEO Keval Mehta.
  • Neurotrack (Richmond): Technology that can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms occur.
  • Spot On Sciences (Austin): Creators of medical devices like HemaSpot, which lets patients collect their own blood samples from anywhere. Founded by Dr. Jeanette Hill.
  • TedCas (Spain): Creators of software that lets doctors control devices with gestures and voice commands, minimizing the risk of infection from touching the devices during treatments.

The SXSW accelerator takes place on the fourth floor of the Hilton Austin Downtown.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact