Demo Day: LA’s Start Engine Accelerator Launches 10 Startups

March 20, 2012

9:30 am

Standing in the shadow of Silicon Valley, Los Angeles is gearing up to become a startup hub in its own right. And today it will take a step toward the limelight with the first demo day of Start Engine, a new tech accelerator in LA.

Created by Activision cofounder Howard Marks and investor Paul Kessler, the 3-month accelerator provides your usual $20,000 in funding, office space, and mentorship. Start Engine prides itself on attracting mentors who are seasoned entrepreneurs (not investors), and over $50,000 worth of perks that include 1 year of Rackspace hosting.

Here are the 10 demoing startups, many with 3 cofounders:

Hypemarks – A discovery platform that recommends sites for you to browse based on your social network activity. You can curate a collection of your favorite sites for your friends to enjoy. Hypemarks is cofounded by Tim Sae Koo (CEO), Eunice Noh (designer), and William Wang (business development).

thrdPlace – A crowdsourcing platform for community projects: find funding, gather materials, and recruit your neighbors to help out. Cofounders DeKoven Ashley and Mike Colosimo want to make communities stronger and more dynamic.

Outlisten – An app to save your video memories from concerts. With input from artists, Outlisten combines your videos with other fans’ videos to recreate concerts online. Built by three musicians: Jeff Ponchick, Ric Murillo, and Nick Nielsen.

PROnoise – An online community that connects indie musicians and fans. Musicians can promote and sell their music, and fans can listen to tracks. Cofounded by Charles Bergmann, Andrew Look, and Chase Smiegiel.

WeLink – A social discovery platform that helps people match up “before, during, and after events.” You can locate users nearby and send messages, see mutual friends, and exchange contact info. Cofounder Karthik Manimaran came from a job at Bank of America, and cofounder Cyrille de Nervaux used to work at Enablon, a sustainability software company.

Sandalbay Life – Once a NASA employee and National Science Foundation graduate fellow, founder Neil Malhotra is building a new health and fitness platform. Sandalbay Life has an API that can pull in data from devices like step counters or other health apps.

GonnaBe – “The platform for what’s going to happen,” GonnaBe looks like it might be similar to future check-in app Forecast. Cofounders Hank Leber, Justin McCammon, and Heather Seal have worked in advertising for major brands and led innovation groups within their agencies.

PageWoo – Tools to help advertisers create a mobile landing page, boost conversion (signups or purchases), and track their progress with analytics. All 3 cofounders have experience in online marketing: Jason G. Crilly started a studio that produced interactive content for brands, Holden Steinberg was creative director at app/website maker Appocalypse, and Duffy-Marie Arnoult specializes in visual communication for luxury brands.

BrandStand – A platform where consumers can earn prizes for promoting their favorite brands and participating in focus groups. Cofounder Jason Hitchcock is a Y Combinator alum and collaborated before with cofounder Jad Meouchy on REOWatch, an enterprise analytics startup.

Starbates –  A platform where stores offer loyalty points and engage more with their customers. Cofounded by Jean Chong and Guillermo Gette.

Demo day is today from 4-7 pm at the Start Engine headquarters in Los Angeles: 10960 Wilshire Boulevard, suite 1050.

Start Engine is also looking for early-stage web, mobile, and ecommerce startups for its Spring session. If you want to join, apply here by March 31.

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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

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