February 19, 2014
There's this tech conference held in Austin, Texas every year called South by Southwest. Perhaps you've heard of it?
Of course you've heard of it. Because it's been around for 27 years and continually getting bigger. Because it's home to world class parties, music, talks, and personalities. Because if you're a tech startup, it's where you go to breakout. To follow in the footsteps of Twitter, Foursquare, and Uber.
And when making a SXSW splash is the goal, no platform provides as much water as Tech Cocktail’s Startup Celebration at SXSWi 2014 sponsored by .CO & CEA.
At this year's event, we'll be showing off twenty early stage startups from around the country (and one from Canada, ay). Each startup will deliver a one minute pitch on stage with the chance to win a host of big prizes. But before the event kicks off on March 8th, we want to know who you think is the hottest. The startup with the most votes will be deemed the Hottest Showcasing Startup of SXSW, win invitation to a future Tech Cocktail Week, and more (ends at 3:00pm CST on the day of the event).
So let us know…
Who is SXSW's Hottest Showcasing Startup?
(poll listed at the bottom)
- BeehiveID (Austin, TX) – They way we do identity online is fundamentally broken. Your identity online is tied to an email address and that's very weak. Traditionally, humans have developed trust based on face-to-face interactions. We are hardwired to look at a person and quickly pick up cues from the environment and situation and decide if they are trustworthy. The internet totally breaks this – we look at a very small amount of information and our brains naturally fill in the gaps and start to trust. Most of the scammers could never be successful in a physical situation – their appearance, clothing, use of language, mannerisms – all of these things are clues that would easily allow you to identify deception. But online, we are incredibly vulnerable. People watch TV shows like “Catfish” and think “That could never happen to me”, but the truth is that it could happen to almost anyone in the right situation.
- Cater2.me (Multiple Locations) – The tedious task of finding a caterer that is reliable and timely while having variety in your meals. Cater2.me helps office managers, executive admins, and event planners feed their offices or teams with fully customized, varied menus for every scheduled meal from local vendors and we help remember every allergen, cuisine preference, and budget you have without compromising variety.
- Cheek'd (New York City, NY) – Despite the soaring popularity of online dating, there’s one inherent flaw: You never really know who (or what!) you’re going to get. There are 96 million single adults in America. Nearly 40 million of those are looking for love on the internet. After spending hours at work behind a computer, the millions of online shoppers head home to get behind yet another computer to spend the evening looking for love in solitude. While 81% people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles, and hired ghostwriters that can completely take care of your profile and messaging your suitors, you really never know quite who or what's going to show up in front of you when you finally agree to meet. One in five relationships begin online… Cheek'd is for the other four.
- Contextly (United States) – In the age of Twitter and Facebook, readers find their way to an individual story and then, one and done, they go back to Facebook. But the data (including Chartbeat's) shows that the single best predictor of whether a reader from social channels will return to a publisher's site is whether that reader reads more than one story. We help build audience engagement and return readers through smart content recommendations that show off publisher's best content – both related and not.
- Double Dutchery (Berkeley, CA) – As parents ourselves, there has to be a better (cheaper, more earth-friendly) way to clothe our kids. A way for parents swap, sell and buy their outgrown clothing. That's exactly what Double Dutchery lets people do. Raising kids in this economy is ridiculously expensive. As parents, we feel there has to be a better (cheaper, more earth-friendly) way to clothe our kids. A way for parents swap, sell and buy their gently used, outgrown clothing.
- Kinesio (Dallas, TX) – For patients entering a therapy regimen, either through their orthopedist or occupational therapist, the first step is to preform a Range of Motion (RoM) evaluation. This evaluation is laborious and time consuming. Taking up to two (2) hours in some instances. And this is before any care is provided! Once established, the patients begin their therapy and have to wait to see how the outcomes are, often 3-6 months later! This is not practical for patients, clinicians, or insurance providers. And all the standards are based on studies written 40-50 years ago!
- Kiwi Wearables (Toronto, Canada) – The main problem with the majority of wearables today is that they are single-use case devices. Drawing a corollary, this would be like having to buy a separate phone for every app you wanted to use. The second large problem is that these devices are mostly motion sensor devices which communicate over Bluetooth. This reduces the amount of insight and control they can provide to consumers solely to motion data while also reducing the amount of usefulness as they must be paired with smartphones to work properly. The third problem is that most wearable devices are not developer friendly and are closed, meaning that only the manufacturers can access the full functionality of the device and the raw sensor data. This is why we built the Kiwi Move, because being developers ourselves, we wanted wearable devices be open, and do more. The Kiwi Move is an open, multi-sensor device which can run multiple apps, communicates over WiFi and Bluetooth, and is developer friendly.
- LISNR, LLC (Cincinnati, OH) – LISNR enables marketers and content creators to significantly amplify consumer engagement by leveraging silent audio tags to create relevant interactions across mobile platforms. These tags can be embedded in all forms of media or used as silent ambient audio to deliver content anywhere. Until now, marketers have driven call-to-actions that require the consumer to take additional steps. With LISNR, these steps are greatly reduced, increasing the rate of engagement exponentially. For content creators, we offer an additional marketing and distribution outlet. Alongside unparalleled analytics, the content creators gain the ability to push content at prime points of engagement. For live events, LISNR activates the sound around consumers using silent audio tags. These tags activate dynamic content delivery more effectively than any other technology. Use cases have successfully been executed in large scale sporting events, performance tours, & venues with limited data capability.
- MakeMe (Seattle, WA) – Achieving personal goals is hard to do and is an essential part of life. Whether it’s getting regular exercise or spending more time with our kids, we know what we want to do, but we don’t have a method to make ourselves do it. MakeMe is that method.
- Mejorna (Houston, TX) – Jewelry makers have challenges in creating jewelry. In visualizing designs, jewelry makers can hand sketch on one end. On the other, they can use CAD applications. Neither are optimal and both are hard. Hand sketching just doesn't show many gemstone and metal materials in a very compelling way. CAD drawings are tedious and require an investment in time and money to learn. Especially for bead related jewelry makers, they end up resorting to sourcing suppliers and having to spend time and money purchasing materials, often in bulk, even more creating their designs. Mejorna allow jewelry makers to start visualizing beautiful designs fast, at little to no cost.
- MentorMob (Chicago, IL) – We are addressing a problem that everyone has, but have yet to realize. Search engines find information, but don’t organize it. By curating and organizing the best online learning content, MentorMob allows people who spend all their time searching to actually start learning.
- NextStep.io (Cedar Rapids, IA) – Ever wonder how personal trainers, wellness coaches or even primary care physicians can use activity trackers today? Here's what we heard and we're not only solving these problems, but we're enabling new revenue generating programs for them: >”As a personal trainer, my clients all use different devices and apps. Some share their username/password with me, so I can review them. Others, I will spend about 10 minutes of every session, having them login to each of their accounts on my ipad.” >”As a wellness coach for dozens of corporations, I find it's easiest to have my clients print off a report of activity from their FitBits, etc – its not ideal, but what other choice do I have?” For the user, we're breathing new life into their devices: the hardware and included software are great for motivation, but they lack personalized guidance and accountability.
- Proletariat (Boston, MA) – Fun team based massively multiplayer games.
- Puhsh (Dallas, TX) – Users get points for selling & buying items and earn street cred in the community. Puhsh allows users to search for specific products, easily manage postings, and send and receive online payments for items. Safety is a big issue with our users so we only allow verified Facebook users and we use Open Graph to show you how you are connected via mutual friends with each person that is selling an item.
- RideScout (Austin, TX) – For our riders, RideScout closely replicates the reliability and flexibility of driving their own car, which allows them to take advantage of existing and emerging transportation alternatives and save time and money. For our ride provider, RideScout provides a market place for them to compete at the point of sale on price, quality, time, and speed of service. For municipalities, RideScout has the potential to reduce the number of SOVs on the road and the thus reduce the negative effects of congestion.
- SeeSpace Ltd (San Francisco, CA) – Are you frequently using your laptop and television at the same time? Many of us are multi-tasking: watching TV, and at the same time surfing the Web for information, purchasing things online and communicating on social networks. By designing a centralized platform, InAiR creates a single viewing experience.
- Tealet (Las Vegas, NV) – The current tea distribution system is fragmented and investment intensive. In essence, the system has pushed the consumer farther away from the teas source, resulting in substantially lower economic feasibility for the farmers. From a survey conducted in Japan only a 15% margin makes it way to the grower. This has influenced young generations of tea growers to leave the countryside to find more profitable lives in the city. Tealet’s platform empowers the grower to receive at least three times more profit that other distribution channels that are available to them. In addition, tea consumers are demanding higher quality tea that possesses the story of origin. Globally traded commodity tea lacks this story, so conscious tea lovers must travel direct to the source to purchase these teas. Tealet's marketplace brings these teas directly to their door at a fraction of the cost required to travel to origin.
- Travelmacho (Sunnyvale, CA) – Booking travel is tough, especially with short distance trips in transportation-dense regions like the US Northeast. It is a time-consuming process that requires the user to already know the various options and even then, finding the most optimal trip remains elusive. Users today inefficiently book travel in a piecemeal fashion – they search for and book their inter-city segment and only then consider intra-city travel. Given their limited patience and knowledge of transportation options, users end up purchasing a suboptimal trip that often costs more/takes longer than what exists – all while becoming frustrated in the process. In terms of the actual booking process, users typically have to purchase from different sites and then archaically manually enter their itineraries onto personal calendars. Users have been conditioned to accept this unacceptably frustrating process. Macho hopes to save users time, money, and heartache.
- Voxa (Atlanta Tech Village) – Voxa is intelligent integration for e-mail to CRM, natural language task triggers, and actionable analytics from where sales people and knowledge workers spend more time than anywhere else: e-mail. Voxa is the world's first automated CRM assistant. More at http://voxa.com
- Weaver (San Francisco, CA) – Remember the last time you were with your best friend, and heard a story face to face. Now, think about the last series of messaging you exchanged on your phone. Wasn’t your face to face conversation more satisfying? Face to face storytelling is no longer the dominant way we communicate. People now send 100B+ messages per day. While messaging is convenient, instant, and ubiquitous, have you ever thought messaging could be something more? Weaver combines the the ease of mobile messaging and emotive power of visual storytelling. It is inherently visual, and goes beyond digital stickers and emoticons, weaving in beautifully illustrated characters and places in every post. With Weaver, you don’t have to be an artist to be a good storyteller, and there’s no having to waste time hunting for supporting images. Just write, and Weaver matches your words to relevant illustrations from our open marketplace, empowering you and your friends to improvise visual stories collaboratively.
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