Today, seed fund and accelerator TechStars hosted its “Demo Day” in Boulder, where it showcased its 11 newest startups. With an average funding of $1.28 million raised per TechStars-backed company so far, it was an important day for these new companies as the room was full of investors at the Boulder Theater.
TechStars was founded in 2006 in Boulder but now holds programs in Boston, New York City and Seattle as well. Last April, it debuted a new accelerator called TechStars Cloud that focuses exclusively on backing cloud computing and infrastructure startups.
Here’s a look at the 11 finalists.
Ubooly is a stuffed animal for kids ages 5-10 that wakes up when parents put their iPhone inside the plush, orange little character. It’s an educational toy powered by a smart phone that brings kids on adventures, teaches them foreign languages and more. Ubooly is voice activated so kids can talk to their Ubooly and make decisions. Updates to Ubooly are made via wifi so it’s always learning. Ubooly is launching on Thursday but its kiddo beta testers are already in love with him.
DealAngel is a site that shows what the true price of a hotel room, anywhere in the world should be on any day of the year. It takes into account when there are conferences, time of year, proximity to landmarks, etc. It is not influenced by any hotel chain (like Orbitz or Travelocity or other hotel deal sites) but rather takes into account historical rates and data to show travelers if a hotel is a good deal or a rip-off.
Verbalizeit offers travelers (and businesses) access to a human translator anywhere in the world. It’s available in five languages – Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi, and Portuguese (the language options are expanding as they grow). It costs $5 for 5 minutes for a traveler to call, tell the translator what they need in a taxi, a pharmacy, a restaurant, anywhere. There are price packages for businesses as well. They have already partnered with Skype and TripLingo.
PivotDesk is launching in Denver/Boulder to help increase entrepreneurial density by giving businesses a way to rent out their extra office space. It’s co-working on steroids. Entrepreneurs and founders can avoid long term office leases for a small amount of space.
ROXIMITY is a location based alert and deals platform. It allows merchants to send targeted messages to consumers as they pass their cars. Integrated into a vehicle’s sync system, consumers can tell ROXIMITY using hands free, voice command, that they are hungry for lunch and it will locate lunch deals nearby.
27Perry is helping clothing and furniture consignment stores to go online in a highly curated way. There is an estimated trillion dollars worth of consignment inventory and they are entering into the untapped world of consignment goods. 27Perry works with independent thrift stores across the country to feature the best items on sale. 27Perry is not in market yet and they are raising at seed round of $350K.
RollSale is the Lending Tree for used cars. It offers a marketplace for people selling their used car to market it and sell it to car dealers. It takes the wheeling and dealing out of selling a used car. There are approximately 250 million used cars in the united states which a market of $325 billion (transactions make up $3.6B slice of the pie).
SalesLoft is an enterprise application that works in Salesforce and other CRM tools to help sales professionals to engage with their clients and prospects in a deeper, more meaningful way. This tool is targeting the $400B sales industry. Good sales people do their due diligence before reaching out to a sales lead so SalesLoft helps them do that quicker. By pulling in social data (like LinkedIn updates and tweets) and bio information right into a CRM, SalesLoft enables each touch-point for sales folks to be relevant, fresh and meaningful.
MobiPlug is putting the internet into your things! Mobiplug makes home automation a reality by providing a single box (a gateway) to control all wifi enabled devices like the thermostat, door locks, lights, TVs, garage doors, home security devices/alarms. MobiPlug lets homeowners manage their devices right from their smartphone with a single application that talks to various protocols and off the shelf devices. There’s no contract unlike Xfinity, ADT and other competitors and it’s much more affordable and integrated.
Digital Ocean is the world’s simplest cloud hosting service with unlimited bandwidth. Aimed at individuals and startup companies, Digital Ocean lets anyone deploy a virtual server in less than a minute. In 2011, cloud hosting market was at $3.7B and Digital Ocean is set to focus on a $1B part of that market that represents small businesses and developers that use cloud hosting for new projects, hosting personal sites, etc. Digital Ocean already has 500 active customers and 10,000 virtual servers (5000 were added in the past 30 days).
Birdbox is a smart box for anyone’s photos and videos. Great for families, parents and couples, BirdBox organizes photos and videos in one place making them searchable anywhere. With a estimated billion new photos taken everyday and 48 hours of video updated to YouTube every minute, Birdbox is a way to sort and manage this media posted on various networks. In addition to time, location and date a photo or video was shot, Birdbox maintains the social context of the photo and video including comments, retweets, tags and more.