TechStars Demo Day and Tech Cocktail Boulder

August 20, 2008

3:53 pm

Think you want to start a new company and need a little funding and guidance? You might want to check into an incubator program. Today I was in Boulder, Colorado as TechStars 2008 Investor and Demo day as it launched its second years worth of startups.

TechStars was founded last year by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown and Jared Polis and helped produce some great new startups in its first year. I previously visited the TechStars office last time I was in Boulder. Today I wanted to give you a preview of the startups that presented.

TechStars Boulder demo day 2008 Class

TechStars Boulder demo day 2008 Class

The following 2008 TechStars startups launched:

App-X – Aimed squarely as VC’s and investors, App-X offers software as a service for venture capital and private equity fund managers and to pensions, endowments and other parties that invest in venture capital and private equity.

BuyPlayWin – We all buy stuff online but do you usually buy things then turn around and battle other shoppers to get the item of free? Probably not. BuyPlayWin looks to offer the first tournament marketplace where users can win items that they plan on buying. While I like the concept, this product may have trouble gaining traction by training consumers that are used to making transactions to play games afterwards which introduces friction to the sales process.

Devver – If you are a developer you might like Devver as it is a little bit more on the geek-side of the user spectrum. Devver looks to turn a developer’s desktop tools into cloud-based services. By putting developers tools in a cloud it enables them to execute more quickly, reduce setup and configuration time and enable easy scheduling, reports and make sharing easier.

Foodzie – Looking for new cheese from around the world might now be possible as Foodzie offers a marketplace for small artisan producers. Foodzie is like a decentralized food version of Etsy. Foodzie definitely has promise and I expect them to do some great things.

Gyminee – Having trouble getting to the gym to workout consistently? If so Gyminee is looking to help by offering a fitness social network for detailed tracking, online accountability and motivation. Users can find workout programs and track progress as well as find other workout buddies online to help them stay motivated.

Ignighter – Humans are herd animals. There I said it. Thank being said wouldn’t make more sense to date as a herd? Well that is just the approach that Ignighter has taken by offering a group dating site where you and your friends and go out with others and their friends. This could take some of the awkwardness out of a blind date and might be a fun little group adventure.

Peoples Software – Making plans with your friends might have just gotten a little easier as WhozAround?, a set of tools for planning and scheduling events with you friends.  Founded by Susan Mernit, formerly of Yahoo, and Lisa Williams the tools plug into Facebook and your mobile phone directory making possible to setup events with one click. This startup reminds me a little bit of Plany.pus.

Occipital – I use online photography sites like Flickr and Picnik regularly and occipital looks to help people like me interact with my photography. Occipital uses artificial intelligence to help organize your photo stream with a visual interface. This could be very interesting startup that reminds me of Photosynth, a Microsoft product, which presented at the TED Conference.

The Highway Girl – Unlike most startups funded by TechStars, The Highway Girl, is a traveling music show hosted by the founder, singer songwriter, Samantha Murray.  The show aims to sync up with artists and give their behind the scenes story (sort of reminds me of VH1 Behind the Music). The Highway Girl also will distribute exclusive music content on its website. Samantha performed on stage for us all and she is a talented musician.

Travelfli – Frequent Flyer numbers, car rental account rewards, hotel rewards programs all offer travelers ways to cash in for using its service while traveling. Unfortunately, with all these accounts it is sometimes unclear as to what you can do with all your points. Travelfli looks to become a central repository for all these travel related rewards programs as it looks to educate and help travels take advantage of all their travel rewards programs. Travelfli also offers users the ability to send travel reservations directly to the service using it as a repository similar to that of TripIt. I know for a fact I am going to use Travelfli as I could use a hand with this very problem.

Anchoring a solid TechStars Investor Day is Tech Cocktail Boulder 2 which I am co-hosting. The ten new Boulder startups from the TechStars program willdemo in an expo-style at the event which was open to the public and has several hundred attendees RSVPed. It should be a lot of fun and a great way to wrap up the 2008 TechStars program. We thank Lijit, TechStars and Me.dium for sponsoring the event – we couldn’t do it without your support!

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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