TechCrunch’s Picks: The Top 5 Companies From StartX’s Summer 2012 Demo Day

18 companies presented at the StartX summer demo day today. The summer 2012 class is StartX’s seventh and largest class; the accelerator, started in 2010, has graduated more than 90 companies in its history, about 85 percent of which have received funding.

If you’re unfamiliar with StartX, it’s a non-profit startup accelerator at Stanford. StartX companies own their intellectual property and StartX does not take equity in the companies. In order to apply to StartX, at least one co-founder, who owns significant equity, needs to have enrolled at Stanford within the last three academic quarters.

Here are our five favorite companies from today, in no particular order:


LawGives wants to make online legal services a trusted service, instead of bringing shady lawyers like Lionel Hutz from the Simpsons to mind. Claiming that lawyers spend around $16 billion to find clients per year, the founders say the process is “still stuck in the 1940s.” The founders are Oxford- and Stanford-educated lawyers and focused on trust as they key to their success in their presentation. They already have big-name partners, like Mozilla and Ashoka, and say legal firms are “on board” as it saves them money. (BG)


No one likes venipuncture, that horrible medical procedure in which doctors or nurses try to insert IVs or draw blood by sticking a needle or tube or whatever else into your vein. Part of that is due to the rate of failure: According to Veebot co-founder Richard Harris, 30 percent of venipuncture procedures fail. Not only is that hugely painful for patients, but it results in all sorts of delays in medical procedures and recovery. Well, what if nurse practitioners could find a vein and insert an IV with a 98 percent success rate? Wouldn’t that be better? That’s what Veebot seeks to do. The startup has designed a device that automates venipuncture, which has a unique vein-viewing system that accurately finds and insert stuff into. It’s all above my head and frankly creeps me out a little bit, but if it keeps me from fainting the next time my doctor needs to draw blood, I’m all for it. (RL)


Addy wants to update your physical address, noting how long ago they were created and how they are not standardized, to a more convenient, URL-based system. The URL brings up a map on web browser and smart phones, showing the address and relevant extra information, which you can self-enter (like where to park, which unit, etc.). The company says it is focusing on event-location sharing right now, with an API coming soon. (BG)


So about 80 percent of travellers scramble to the Internet when they’re looking for cool experiences while staying in interesting new places, but only about 30 percent of local guides have a web presence. And even those who do might find it difficult to manage. Xola is a marketplace for experiences, allowing guides to list on the site and for travellers to find them, sort of like an Airbnb for cultural exchange. Granted, Xola isn’t alone in this pursuit — there’s YC-backed Vayable and others trying to do the same thing — but no one’s cracked it quite yet, so I still consider this a wide-open field worth exploring. (RL)


Maykah’s founders, three female Stanford graduate students, want to improve girls’ toy aisles from just “pink and princesses” by blurring the lines between toys and education. They want to make toys for the next generation of women, encouraging girls to explore, create and build. The company’s first product, Roominate, is a fully wired dollhouse that teaches young girls about electronics.  Roominate hit its Kickstarter goal in five days and has already sold over 1,500 units, with thousands on the waiting list. I’m excited to see how this company scales as it produces more toys; who knows, maybe the influence of the toys in girls’ early-stage development could even lead to more female engineers in tech companies over the coming decades. (BG)