August 7, 2010
This past week the TechStars startup incubator based in Boulder, Colorado launched another class of startups. Interestingly, of the twenty-four startups that have been a part of the TechStars program over the years, six have been acquired. We’ve hosted a few TECH cocktail Boulder startup mixers (as explained here) in the past which showcased many of these startups. While we couldn’t be there this past week, we decided to take a closer look at this year’s class of eleven new startups that launched at the TechStars Boulder Demo Day 2010.
ADstruc is an auction and listing marketplace for outdoor billboard advertising. ADstruc is looking to take what in many cases is a business (outdoor advertising) that is managed offline and bring it to an online dashboard so that anyone can buy and sell space from the comfort and warm glow of their computer. The team is native to New York and moved to Boulder to participate in the program this summer but plans to return to New York in August.
StatsMix allows companies to easily build, visualize, and share custom management dashboards for displaying and analyzing key metrics (for example, data from Alexa, Eventbrite, Facebook and more) from their own Websites and external APIs. So basically StatsMix aggregates all the various stats about your Website into one easy-to-read layout. We (at TECH cocktail) are definitely going to enjoy using this one.
GearBox is a startup that works with consumer electronics companies and developers to bring phone controlled open devices to market. It’s first product is a robotic ball which is controlled via a mobile smartphone. How could men resist this one as it combines playing with balls and gadgets? Applications can be built on top of the smartphone via APIs. Check out this video to see the ball in action as this could be the next hot office pastime right up there with Rockband, foosball and airhockey.
Vacation Rental Partner makes it easy to manage your vacation rental home by offering homeowners the tools to market, take payments and handle and track reservations. Similar to HomeAway, VRPartner targets vacation rental homeowners who manage their own home and don’t want to pay management companies. Conveniently, VRPartner also handles outside vendors such as housekeepers and pool cleaners. The system also makes it easy to get your listing out to other popular advertising outlets like Craigslist among others.
Omniar is focused on making the real world clickable. What does that mean exactly? Well, Omniar offers a visual recognition platform and developer platform to enable anyone to create applications. According to Don Dodge who recently covered demo day, Omniar is already working with early adopters in the real estate, museum, and retail sectors, enabling them to allow one-click visual search and information retrieval. We could see this being a pretty amazing augmented reality offering and it kind of reminds us of WhereMark.
Spot Influence looks to find the most influential people around any topic on the Web. It provides a search engine and has made their technology available using APIs for partners who want to integrate it more fully. Using the search box as the entry point, Spot Influence starts a data collection process which feeds into a proprietary algorithm that enables them to accurately score the influence of people in context. They then build out profiles on the Influencers and return them in a filterable and sortable list with a cumulative score as well as scores in Relevance, Reach, and Impact. The most interesting thing about Spot Influence is that they calculate influence in context. They believe that having a large number of Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily mean someone is influential.
BlipSnips is a way to create social context around specific moments in time in a video. BlipSnips offers a technology that allows users to jump to a specific point in a YouTube video and then share a direct link to that video. BlipSnips currently offers a set of free consumer tools, but plans to work with video publishers to drive engagement for commercial video productions. We actually met with BlipSnips co-founder Matt Ludwig in Portland, Maine when the product was still very much in stealth mode, so we were excited to see it launch.
Kapost is aimed at creating a marketplace for crowdsourcing your web content. The product offers an easy way to collect user contributed content and even offers a way to compensate them for contributions. Kapost could help many publishers find contributors to create a unique social media publication in a similar fashion to Examiner.com or Huffington Post. We got a chance to sync up with co-founder Michael Lewis at CES in January and explained how a plugin on WordPress would make our lives a lot easier than moving platforms to Grogger (which was the platform they were working on at the time). It seems they have taken some of our feedback to heart as they re-branded and launched plugin services for crowdsourcing content on existing platforms like WordPress, Drupal, etc. We are going to be giving them a try here on TECH cocktail.
RentMonitor takes the headache out of being a landlord for those managing 3 to 50 properties. The system handles rent collection, advertising, tenant screening, maintenance, and tax issues. If you have ever rented a property either as a landlord or as a tenant you will understand the need for automating the process. We reviewed this startup back in 2007 when it was a Chicago-based startup named Propertize. At the time, they offered similar landlord services but we urged them to also offer tenant communication and invoicing tools and it appears that is what they have just launched, along with the re-branded name, Rent Monitor.
ScriptPad transforms the iPad and iPhone into a digital prescription pad allowing doctors to write prescriptions faster and safer than their existing paper process. ScriptPad hopes to help eliminate prescription writing mistakes which contribute to thousands of deaths each year by sending prescriptions directly to the patient’s pharmacy. ScriptPad will offer the service free to users but will be paid for (by the pharmacies) for each prescription that is transmitted. Check out the ScriptPad demo video to see the application in action.
RoundPegg looks to scientifically ensure that every hire you make is a fit for your company culture. Using self-service surveys, RoundPegg blends technology with psychology to try and play an office culture matchmaker. Check out this slide deck for more info on RoundPegg and see if its a good fit for your company or organization.
Congrats to David Cohen, Brad Feld and the rest of the TechStars team. It looks like another interesting class of startups and we look forward to helping to cover their entrepreneurial journey. We also plan on coming back to Boulder to host a startup mixer event again soon and look forward to seeing some of these folks.
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