Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Michael Levinson, the co-founder and managing partner of DreamIt Ventures, a startup incubator. Levinson is also the co-founder of business collaboration Saas platform WizeHive.
Philadelphia-based DreamIt Ventures￼, a pre-seed stage venture firm and incubator founded in 2007 by David Bookspan￼, Steve Welch￼, and myself is graduating 14 startups today. It’s been a busy third year for DreamIt as prior companies incubated, including Google Ventures-backed SCVNGR, TechCrunch 50 Finalist SeatGeek, PostLing, and NoteHall, have all raised funding. You can read my coverage of last year’s batch of DreamIt startups here.
Below is a description of each company in DreamIt’s class of 2010:
Adapt.ly: Adaptly, which was reviewed here, provides a platform where advertisers can create, deploy, monitor, and adapt ads seamlessly across multiple social ad networks. Once these ads are deployed, users can access realtime and actionable insights about each ad which can be immediately used to optimize the advertising dollars being spent. In the first two weeks of launch Adaptly has already served millions of impressions and tracked thousands of clicks from its paying customers.
AppNowGo: Building a data-driven web application is hard. To publish anything complicated you need to work with programmers, and this means time and money. AppNowGo replaces the need for programmers by making it easy for anyone to build online database applications. The startup’s interface uses natural language and guided wizards to build data-rich and attractive looking apps without the need for programming or design experience. These apps can be seamlessly integrated into any website and are search-engine friendly.
Campus Sponsorship: Campus Sponsorship provides a way for brands to engage with college students and for students to raise money for their on-campus clubs. The process starts when a fraternity, sorority, sports team, or other college club signs up to the system. The startup offers their members and those members’ friends the ability to raise money for the group by completing fun, short, online activities—each sponsored by an advertiser. As each activity is completed, money is raised for the student organization and the advertiser gets a few minutes of engagement. Activities can be posted onto Facebook and other social platforms, encouraging friends of friends to help raise money and making the online activities viral. Campus Sponsorship currently has over 325 student organizations on board as well as brands including Clear Wireless, the Gap, and Ben & Jerry’s.
Easel: Easel’s iPad apps provides hands-on interactive workbooks for students. If they get stuck on a problem, they can simply tap the “ShowMe” button to instantly see a step-by-step walkthrough of the solution, recorded by an actual teacher. Easel has seen a huge number of downloads for its first two apps (SAT and Algebra), pushing the app to the “New and Noteworthy” section of the App Store. Easel has also gotten significant interest from publishers and test prep companies, who will publish their content and deploy their tutors through future versions of the platform.
GiveLoop: GiveLoop is a social, online fundraising tool that tries to increase donation rates and donor loyalty by reintroducing transparency and personalized communication between the donor and recipient back into the donation process. Giveloop’s tool helps increase donation size and volume by allowing the donor to pinpoint what they want to donate to and enabling them to “vote with their money.” It also aims to increase donation size and donor retention by creating a two-way, personalized conversation between the donor and the recipient. Launched 4 weeks ago, GiveLoop is currently processing donations for a number of clients, including non-profit organizations, politicians, and bloggers.
Launchups: Launchups is a platform where business owners can get help with their day-to-day questions from experts, and experts can screen prospects to find new clients. Business owners use the product by first asking a simple question that may relate to accounting, HR, marketing or another area of their business. Launchup supplies content for particular topics from other Q&A sites. Business owners can then record a short video explaining their problem and distribute it to the startup’s panel of experts. These experts (accountants, lawyers, sales consultants) have signed up as a means to find new business clients and allows them to browse through quality video requests and answer questions.
MatchLend: MatchLend provides equipment financing to new companies. Traditional equipment lending hasn’t changed in decades and the metrics lenders use to establish credit worthiness exclude most new businesses. Therefore, many new businesses are forced to buy equipment with cash. This ties up their most precious resource, depletes their cash reserves for rainy days, and increases the possibility of the business failing. MatchLend is building a new type of lending practice around a predictive credit model as well as customizing operations and policies to suit this market. The startup also provides education and mentorship programs for the business owners to help ensure their success.
MindSnacks: MindSnacks is a tool for learning on mobile devices through fun, interactive, social games that feature bite-sized lessons. MindSnack’s first product is aimed at the foreign language learning market. By utilizing social elements and game mechanics, the startup aims to provide its users with additional motivation to learn and continue making progress in their education goals.
Numote: Numote (the “new remote”) is a new way to experience TV. The startup wants to transform the isolated experience of watching TV into a shared experience with friends through a mobile app. The app allows users to interact with their friends via polls, quizzes, gossip and real interactive ads that relate back to what is on the screen. Numote can also sort through the hundreds of channels to offer smart recommendations as well as recommendations offered by friends. Numote launched in June and has added 600+ new users every week, with users creating 2,000 quizzes for shows they like.
Pocket Tales:Pocket Tales is an online social reading game that offers a way for kids to engage with books, send and receive book recommendations, and discover their next read. To play Pocket Tales, readers test their knowledge of a recently finished book by taking a short quiz on the Pocket Tales site. Passing a quiz earns the reader points, which helps them level-up and challenge their friends for leaderboard domination. Passing a quiz also unlocks additional activities and opportunities to score points like rating and reviewing books and recommending books to friends. For doing these and other activities, readers are rewarded with digital badges called “amulets” which appear on their Pocket Tales bookshelf.
Sqoot: Sqoot is a way to share and discover the activities you want to do. Sqoot turns your online conversations into offline interactions by answering one question: “Who’s in?” In one step, you post your plan and you’re done. Sqoot crawls your social graph, find interested friends, and encourages them to join in—helping create the momentum to actually go offline and participate! Plans stay in your queue so you don’t forget about them and as plans are completed you are rewarded. As users cluster around similar activities, Sqoot allows businesses to offer them hyper-targeted, realtime offers.
Tembo Studio: Tembo is hoping to make addictive social games for kids age 12 that also have a positive impact. The startup’s first game can be described as Zynga’s Farmville meets Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth series. The game is set in the rainforest and you, the player, are tasked with using the natural resources in the environment around you to survive. The challenge is that each time you touch the environment, you risk upsetting the balance between the plant and animal species in it, causing populations to crash and multiply and putting yourself and your neighbors at risk.
Vozeeme: Vozeeme is eBay for the freight industry. On Vozeeme.com manufacturers and truckers can post and book truck loads through a web-based interface. The startup provides cost savings and price transparency for small manufacturers who today have trouble shipping their products in a cost-effective and reliable fashion and pay significant fees to brokers. Vozeeme also ensures the reliability of each shipment by pre-screening trucking companies, tracking shipments from pick-up to delivery and implementing a reputation score for truckers.
Yunno: Yunno is a social engagement platform that helps companies improve their relationships with their customers by creating fun and interactive online experiences. Yunno’s self-service platform gives customers access to a variety of engagement tools, such as contests, surveys, trivia, and polls. New engagements can be created in minutes and can be integrated into both existing websites and Facebook fan pages, all with no programming or design experience needed.