In September, national startup accelerator and seed fund, TechStars, launched its first program focused on providing mentorship and capital to companies working in a particular space. With cloud computing and services growing like gangbusters, the company saw fit to focus on cloud-based startups, launching TechStars Cloud, a sub-accelerator that focuses exclusively on backing cloud computing and infrastructure startups.
Today, the inaugural batch of 11 cloudy TechStars startups demoed in front of what TechStars Co-founder and CEO David Cohen tells us is expected to be a throng of 350+ investors. Today’s demo showcase marks the culmination of a three-month-long program that kicked off in January and is based in San Antonio, Texas.
As part of the $24 million in funding that TechStars raised last September, the accelerator now offers an additional $100K of seed funding to each startup, allowing the early-stage businesses to stay focused on their products throughout the duration of the program, without having to worry about shipping on top of pitching investors. This is on top of the $18K startups are given upon acceptance into the program, bringing each founding team’s potential funding to $118K.
This was a big move for TechStars, considering the fact that Yuri Milner and SV Angel teamed up early last year to offer the companies housed in fellow startup incubator Y Combinator $150,000 in convertible debt.
Aside from funding, 2011 was a big year for the accelerator, as it also open sourced its model, announcing the Global Accelerator Network as part of the White House’s Startup America initiative to spur entrepreneurship. The incubator’s model is now being used by over 35 programs globally. What’s more, beyond its Cloud accelerator in San Antonio, the incubator now boasts programs in Boston, Boulder, New York, and Seattle.
Today, TechStars offered readers a sneak peek at the 11 startups demoing their wares in San Antonio, which you can check out below. We’ve learned from the accelerator that each of the 11 companies already has commitments for (or has recently closed) a seed funding round, and Cohen says that he expects the entire batch to be funded by outside investors post-demo day.
But, without further ado, here’s a look at TechStars’ newest 11:
Appsembler is a “business in a box” for companies that want to sell software as a service. Like other platform hosting companies, they offer scalable and push button application hosting, but in addition to simple hosting, their service also gives a company integrated billing, support tickets, and SEO optimized web content for SaaS products.
Callisto.fm is a next generation media analytics company. Built specifically for media creators, they can tell who is actually engaged with content. The service is cloud based, realtime and can work with any type of media and on any device, platform or service. They capture rich analytics around interactions (play, pause, seek, shares, likes, and more) in order to give content producers actionable insight into their audience.
Cloudability monitors and manages spending in the Cloud. They help companies better understand where they are spending in the cloud, identify waste, and make suggestions about how to optimize spending. They also allow companies to bring all their accounts, from any of hundreds of vendors and for dozens of internal accounts, into one consolidated view. Cloudability is currently managing over 53 million in cloud spending for 2,200 companies and this week announced a partnership with Rackspace allowing all 175,000 of Rackspace’s Cloud customers to use Cloudability for free. Customers include companies from StockTwits and Slideshare to Adobe and Pega Systems.
CloudSnap is integration as a service. They allow a user to connect any of hundreds of SaaS products together without writing a single line of code. This lets you do tons of useful workflow and data synchronization such as connecting Mailchimp leads to Salesforce deals or importing Shopify invoices into Netsuite. And all of this is push button and requires no developer time or ongoing maintenance.
Conductrics is a decision optimization service that goes way beyond simple A/B testing and reporting. Conductrics uses machine learning to take a customer supplied set of choices and dynamically and adaptively learn what the best choice is. When conditions change, the service learns and automatically updates for the new optimal choice. This allows a website or application to always have the highest converting content in use. Customers like Under Armour are integrating Conductrics directly into their CMS, which lets them bring adaptive behavior directly into the content creation process.
Distil is the world’s first Content Protection Network. The cloud service sits in front of customers’ web servers and identifies and blocks attempts to scrape data. Google punishes sites heavily in search results for having non-unique content and by using Distil companies can contain the loss of SEO, visitors and revenue by blocking content theft.
EmergentONE is the first API generation platform. Using a simple web UI, a customer can connect to their existing application’s database and auto-generate a robust and well-designed API. Startups can generate a complete and customized REST API for an existing application in minutes. In addition to the API itself, EmergentONE generates developer documentation, language specific libraries and back-end analytics views. The startup allows customers to only expose the data they want, and data will not be included in the API unless they ask for it, explicitly. The solution works with all relational databases, and offers fine-grain access controls. Pretty cool.
Flomio is a platform for building NFC and RFID enabled applications. The service is hardware agnostic and cloud based. This means Flomio can work with any NFC enabled devices and masks all the complexity of NFC, exposing the service as a simple web API. They also sell tags, readers and a ‘Square-style’ audio jack plug-in that can convert any phone into an NFC reader. In addition, Flomio offers its customers an aggregated view of their data in an analytical dashboard.
Keen.io is an analytics platform for mobile and application developers. Rather than morphing data into some pre-packaged analytics service, Keen believes that app creators should be able to collect all their data in its natural form. Once a customer’s data is in the Keen.io service, they can be their own data scientists and slice and dice data and run experiments against historical data in order to gain insight into app users behavior.
Tempo is a hosted time series database. Time series data is becoming a huge component of the ‘Big Data’ landscape. Every device and sensor is creating millions or billions of data points and existing big data systems are not optimized specifically for this type and quantity of data. Tempo is purpose-built for time series data and allows companies to hold unprecedented amounts of this data letting us finally get value out of all the data our new measured world is generating.
Vidmaker makes it easy to manage and edit videos on any device, anywhere and with anyone. The service has an integrated web based video editor, Google Docs-style video collaboration, a built in community stock footage library and tons of other features that make the process of creating, editing and publishing video content a joy rather than a chore.